Many people believe children ages 4-8 are not able to cognitively or developmentally type and remember their login credentials. I promise you that is not true.
Children are capable of more than you think. Challenge them. Give them opportunities to grow. They, themselves, will be surprised at what they can accomplish.
Before becoming an Instructional Technology Coach, I taught Pre-Kindergarten, Kindergarten, and first grade. I didn’t have a lot of technology, but what I had, I allowed my students to use… OFTEN. I even allowed my students to use my desktop computer. I would always tell them with anything we did that practice won’t make them perfect, but it will definitely make them better at whatever their goals were/are.
You must practice, practice, practice! Be patient with yourself and your students. It is not going to be easy for them to type or even remember their passwords at the beginning, but the more they practice… the easier and smoother it will become. The foundation is the groundwork. So, think of what you do as the groundwork to their high education. This also applies to the implementation of technology (keyboarding, for example). It starts with YOU.
I spent at least 15-20 minutes with 3 students at a time (they rotated) daily at the computer center the first 3 months of school. While with them, I modeled how to sit when one types, how the hands, feet, and elbows should be placed, and how to hold a mouse. Afterwards, I allowed the students to get on the computers. Starfall is good mouse maneuvering practice for young children, as well as reading and math skills. By December, [some] students were using Word and typing their names and short sentences (3 to 4 words) into the document. I suggest using Google Docs for this activity for upper grade levels. They can be placed in groups and type simultaneously. Think of how awesome it would be for them to see one another typing simultaneously. Let me point out that their skills weren’t perfected, not even good, but it was practice. At their ages (4-5), just getting them to sit down and focus on the task was an accomplishment. Capturing their attention was worth applause! They practiced their usernames and passwords at home and in class. I never put pressure on them, because it would only frustrate them. Taking the pressure off made them WANT to type their own credentials.
It’s going to be time consuming, frustrating, require a lot of patience AND planning, BUT think about how it will help them in the future. Exposing them to what they need at an early age (foundation) is what’s beneficial to them.
The following are suggestions to use in your classroom daily to help your students not only learn their login credentials, but improve their keyboarding skills:
- write your students’ names, usernames, and passwords on index cards, laminate them, then hang them by the computer center so they can easily access them (Login Loop #5)
- send their usernames and passwords home along with a cardboard computer and tell parents to use it to practice typing their credentials (you can find the keyboard template here)
- This is also good for sight words, first and last names, etc.
- Password cards
- Student login cards
- Typing Club
If you have suggestions or recommendations, please post them in the comments section. If you would like my assistance and/or support, complete this form so we can begin planning.