But there is one conversational tack that is driving me nuts: "Hey. Common Core testing means that we should bring back keyboarding classes. Let's get right on that!"
This is how I feel when someone makes this suggestion:
The conversation really needs to be about how our instruction needs to change, across grade levels, in all departments. To me, Common Core is not about examining what we can add on the existing system in order to make it compliant. Common Core is about thinking outside of the box, and getting our students to think outside of the box. It's about reviving what's best in terms of our pedagogical options and saying goodbye to the worst. Shouldn't we be making instructional decisions based on what's best for kids? Shouldn't the conversation center around how to meet CCSS by redesigning the way we offer students learning opportunities in class? Shouldn't we consider the SAMR model and decide what it will take to reach a level of redefinition? Shouldn't we be bringing back Project-Based Learning, planning for inquiry, and taking a constructivist approach to learning?
Instead, I often find that the CCSS transition often gets boiled down to keyboarding. Predictably, at the secondary level the blame then gets shifted to elementary teachers for not providing vital keyboarding skills, and before you know it - professional inertia is reached.
When the best suggestion we've got is to reinstate keyboarding classes, that is a suggestion motivated out of fear. Yes, it's scary to take the practice tests on Smarter Balanced and realize that kids have instructional needs that aren't being met. Yes, Common Core will require systemic change across content areas - which for some folks will be more painful than for others.
But how can we be indignant when students lack typing skills if we never integrate technology into the core curriculum? That is like being surprised when you try the same thing over and over and keep getting the same results. Albert Einstein once said, "We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used to create them."
The visionary passion around which I have designed my classroom - everything from the physical arrangement, to the climate, to the learning activities, to the tech - is to help prepare my students for their future. I want to enable them to create their own goals and dreams, then equip them with the skill set that will enable fruition. In Room 208, we use iPads and Chromebooks daily and we allow BYOD for students who would like to use their own device with school wifi. My students close read in eBackpack and Google Docs, then create movies, record podcasts, screencast their thinking, design digital posters, use evidence to support their conclusions, and write like investigative reporters. None of that was accomplished with a keyboarding class.
If a school site has limited technology resources, then it becomes even more important to use those resources in core classes, as opposed to reserving them in a lab setting for the express purpose of teaching keyboarding. For a school like mine, which services 1,500 students and is approaching a 2:1 student/device ratio, there are definitely better options than reserving technology to teach a keyboarding class.
What is your school doing to prepare for Common Core? What do you think about how students develop keyboarding skills? Share your thoughts below or continue the conversation on Twitter: @Packwoman208.