When I was in high school, there were many courses that I was forced to take because I was on a “college” track, but there was some room to take some electives. Some of the electives like typing, mechanical drawing, set theory, and even art or music seemed rather unimportant at the time. Now later in life, I realize that these electives were more important in my life than I would have expected and I wonder about how educational goals may sometimes be inconsistent.
In particular, I watched a recent news report that showed young children using the computer in the classroom at a very young age and noticed that they were all typing with two fingers. This gave me reason to think about my own experience with typing in high school. Although I only reached 35 words per min. in high school (just barely), I have continued to place my hands properly on the keyboard for over 50 years. By learning to type properly at first, it has allowed me to reach speeds of 55 wpm with great accuracy.
Although a child that starts to learn to type with just two fingers is not locked into this for all eternity, it seems less likely that they would make the effort to learn to type properly once they have achieved a level of “hunt-and-peck” that produces results sufficient for their most basic needs. This however tends to reduce their ability to promote their typing ability on a job resume.
There are many great programs to teach typing on the market or available through the internet, but we must not only get the program, but we must practice with them on a regular basis. Once we have the ability to type correctly without looking, we then can increase speed and accuracy over time.
When young children are allowed to type with just two fingers, we may be limiting their future ability to reach their real potential. Even though someday, we may be able to speak quickly into the computer and have it converted accurately into text, the ability to accurately type fast with correct fingering is likely to remain a very useful skill for quite some time.
My mother was a great typist, she reached 90 wpm accurately. I visited her office once and easily noticed that she accomplished much more work in a day than other workers. Although she did not get much extra pay for her ability it tended to make her a very valuable worker to the company. In many cases today, workers are filling out forms on the computer and speed of typing is not as noticed as it once was. Companies are still concerned with how much work is accomplished and good typing skills can help.
It would be great if we made some effort to have young children learn to place all their fingers in the correct position even if we have to design keyboard to fit their smaller hand size. We do not want to restrict their future potential.