Many of the 46 states that have adopted the Common Core State Standards are nearing their individual implementation deadlines. This is more than apparent in classrooms where students as young as kindergartners are in the process of developing technology skills.
Learning how to type
The CCSS are designed to prepare K-12 students for the challenges they will encounter in college and the workforce. Whether individuals plan to pursue a bachelor’s degree or work in an office, it’s likely they’ll be expected to use computers. For this reason, educators in Common Core-aligned classrooms are focused on teaching students how to type beginning at a young age.
For example, 7-year-old students in teacher Natalie May’s second-grade class at Horseshoe Trails Elementary in Phoenix, Ariz., are in the process of getting to know the computer keyboard, The Washington Post reported. As pupils are new to positioning their fingers over specific letters, frequent breaks are sometimes necessary to give their hands a rest.
Still, the effort these and other students put into learning how to type now is sure to come in handy once they begin to take CCSS-aligned standardized assessments, which will be delivered on computers.
“On the Common Core assessments, some of these writings are going to be document-based questions or sorting through different types of text,” Kathleen Regan, the New Jersey Glen Rock Public Schools’ director of curriculum and instruction, told the news source. “The last thing you want is for the kids to be struggling with the mechanical skills.”
Essential, but controversial
Many people consider the ability to type to be a crucial skill. In fact, the partnership for 21st Century Skills lists information, media and technology skills as key student outcomes in its Framework for 21st Century Learning.
While it’s hard to deny the importance of teaching typing in the classroom, it’s the fact that instructors are doing so in the place of cursive instruction that bothers many. In states that have adopted the Common Core, there’s only so much instructional time to cover essential topics. As a result, many schools are saying goodbye to cursive writing lessons in favor of more time with classroom technology. Not a lot of parents and educators are comfortable with this, but many see it as necessary.
“I would not drop it, because I do think it’s important for the development of children, but … I realize we’ve given teachers more to teach but not more time,” Kathy Mears, executive director of elementary schools for the National Catholic Education Association, told The Cincinnati Enquirer.
Overall, 41 states no longer require schools to teach cursive writing or reading, according to the news source. Of course, individual school districts always have the option of finding room for cursive instruction. However, as time goes on, a student pecking away at a computer keyboard is likely to become a more common sight.
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