Thursday, October 25, 2012

On Typing

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," typing in a fast and furious rate since 1974!

Ah, 1974! That was the year my parents made me take typing in summer school. I wanted to set them adrift in a poorly-constructed coracle. They said I would thank them some day.

Thanks, Mom and Dad.

I learned ten-finger typing on a cruddy old manual typewriter, soon replaced by a newfangled electric typewriter that my dad bought me for college. Using that typewriter, I typed papers for a man named Michael Steele, as well as for myself. I was more than ready for the first clunky word processors that offered so much assistance to a quick typist.

Typing is pretty much a given nowadays, but it's not being taught at any specific grade. Students at the Vo-Tech get it, if they are placed in a career program requiring typing, but the others don't get typing at all.

Neither of my daughters learned 10-finger keyboarding. My husband, a journalist, doesn't do conventional keyboarding either.

And yet, just two years from now, most American students will have to take a standardized proficiency test that requires them to type an essay.

Me, I would rather type than write. But that is only because I've been typing away for decades. If my high school diploma depended upon being able to type, and I wasn't very good at it, I would freak.

Well, you know what will happen with this. The rich parents will get their kids ten-finger typing lessons at age three. Public schools with the funding to buy lots of computers will give it to kids in 5th or 6th grade. (Who will teach it? What kind of certification will be required?) Poorer school districts will just have to hope that their kids are spending hours on Facebook every night, writing something besides LOL and ;)

As always, the playing field is about as level as the Black Hills.

Typed respectfully by your faithful servant,
Anne J. Johnson


Pam said...

I have deceided to call this year the Samheim of our discentent.


Anonymous said...

Come to think of it, I do know people who are typing like crazy because of the way the world is now, but still do it with two fingers, while I'm flying down the keyboard thanks to the fact that my school had a computer lab (though, for some years with computers that were already outdated) with the original Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing (and, later, an updated version when we got our shiny new computers with Windows 95). Sometimes I stop and think, "Wait, is there a point in education when someone usually learns to type or is it a given that you'll learn at some point?"

Alex Pendragon said...

In 1974 I was using a state-of-the-art IBM electric mag-card onboard my sub. I later self-upgraded to the first Macintosh and used MacWrite to get the job done.

Terraluna said...

My daughters' elementary school taught "keyboarding" in second grade. They were not a rich school district (one of the poorer ones around here. Drop a paperclip on the floor and 7 teachers would dive for it.), but they had electronic typing tutors and everyone had to learn to type. Pookie #1 types 90 words a minute (while composing an essay, watching TV, and talking on the phone at the same time)- and got A's on those essays. I am in awe.

Goddess bless the person responsible for instituting that program.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Typing was the most useful course I ever took in school. Because of it, I was able to earn good money from doing secretarial work in university. And now with computers -- what a blessing to know how to type! I learned how to "touch type" (as they called it then) on an old Underwood manual. My Gawd, you had to pound those keys!

Anonymous said...

Rodger C: I went through school when typing was for girls who wanted to be secretaries, and I still do it with two fingers. My speed was acceptable in the manual era but is now nothing next to, say, my daughter's. It horrifies me that students are now expected to have a professional-class technical skill just to demonstrate that they can put a paragraph together. Who makes this stuff up? (Don't answer that.)

Anonymous said...

I took typing more than once, and never got beyond 36 WPM. But I can type without looking at the keyboard, and I'm probably faster now from all the computer time. When one hand is busy and I have to hunt-and-peck, I'm terrible.