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A Great Keyboarding Teaching Tool | Mary Biever | One Writing Mother

A Great Keyboarding Teaching Tool

This week, I discovered a new book that works remarkably well in teaching adults how to type. KAZ, Keyboarding A to Z, offers an accelerated approach to touch typing that I highly recommend. I used it in two class sessions with a group of adult industrial plant workers who never took typing and never learned to use computers.

What worked? KAZ developed 5 short phrases for adults to learn to type first. Those 5 phrases use all 26 letters of the alphabet. They introduce those phrases incrementally and show correct hand position.

I was skeptical that this book would work until I used it. 

One of my worst memories from my own high school typing class is the incredible boredom of going to class daily for a year and typing business letters. By course’s end, I was prepared to not only type but write boilerplate business correspondence. (This was back in the day when our typing class getting a single row of electric typewriters was a big, innovative deal.)

Teaching keyboarding is a lot more fun now. When my kids were ready to learn to keyboard (fifth grade), I purchased a computer instruction CD which began with first finger “f” and “j” keys and progressed by way of games with fun music and tests.

For adult students, I blended the textbook with breaks of free keyboarding games we found online. After they finished an exercise, they got to play a game. Students experimented with different games and then chose the ones they preferred most.

Another key element to the success of the class was that students had time to practice on their own between class dates. They had tools of what to practice, both in their book and by way of website games.

Another helpful tool was that online typing tests measured their speed. By the end of the second day’s class, the students who already knew how to type had more than doubled their typing speeds. Those who were brand new had respectable scores and were comfortably typing.

In addition to traditional typing, I incorporated into my class PC keys – e.g. control, alt, delete, escape, home, end, arrows, and the Windows button.

While brilliant tech gurus and geeks discuss the latest and greatest, it’s easy to forget that there are adults who have never used a PC, never typed, and don’t text. A smart phone might be one with touch tones instead of dial-up. If you sit in any library computer lab, you will see people who don’t know how to find a website, don’t know what Google is, and don’t know when to click – let alone use the right or left mouse button. 

Empowering these adults to use PC’s is as critical as literacy efforts to teach people to read. The KAZ series does a great job of working with these adults to engage with new technology.


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