I have a strong suggestion for teachers. You will probably have to
use the existing computer labs as you often cannot justify using the facilities exclusively
for typing instruction. However:
Beware of People Who Run Computer Labs
Sadly, if you are teaching or learning keyboarding away from the home environment, it will often be in an area maintained by computer "hacks." Although they are a nice, gentle "breed of people," getting them to operate a computer area in a professional, business-like environment is often difficult and usually frustrating.
Meet with the person in charge of the computer lab and establish a reserved lab time for your students. After your students get "into the program" they will know what to expect and the distractions of others can be somewhat tolerated.
Everyone should understand that there is to be no talking, no clowning around, and never tolerate "game playing" on the computer. Full concentration is required to develop skills, and distractions should be minimized.
Computer - Typing Lab Rules
A few well-posted, computer lab rules are needed. No one wants to be the "enforcer," but without enforcement, the rules quickly become a joke.
You might want to consider the below rules to improve the learning environment.
Typing TipsMake adjustments. The keyboard should be on a waist-high, flat work surface directly in front of you. The proper distance is a hand span from abdomen to fingertips touching the edge of the desk.
Adjustments are easier said than done. You have to demand that the lab appears organized with seats & computers are arranged in a professional manner.
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Monitor your monitor. Adjust the angle of your monitor to minimize glare.
Tilt the angle of the screen or slightly darken the room. (Actually most compter hacks
like the room very dark...often too dark.)
Fight for organization! There is no reason for tolerating a lab that looks like the inside of a garbage dumpster. Have the lab people keep the lab clean and neat.
Uncluttered work area. The work area should be free of unneeded books or distractions. Full attention is needed on the typing material.
Remove paper stacks. When extra paper is removed from the work environment, glare is reduced.
Clean the screen When was the last time the monitor screens have been cleaned?
Chair height. An adjustable chair is preferred to allow for a comfortable, natural distance between chair, desk and monitor.
Material on right. Material should be on the right and elevated for reading ease.
Keyboard height. If the keyboard is too high (i.e., chair too low) errors tend to occur in the top keyboard rows. If the keyboard is too low (i.e., chair too high) errors tend to occur on the bottom keyboard rows.
Avoid eyestrain. Eyestrain can occur when there is a reflection on the monitor. Adjust the angle of the monitor and/or the height of your chair to reduce reflections. The room should be slightly “dark” without major rays of sunlight. Squinting is very fatiguing. Monitor shields, or even monitor screens might be of some help, but most relief occurs when you can eliminate background glare.
Develop a routine. Set the work environment like you want it to optimize your typing sessions. Don’t let the chair height; tilt of the monitor, location of the keyboard or posture vary from session to session.
Which exercise would you select?
With Nimble Fingers - Word Wacker and Typing & Data Entry
programs, You select the drill of interest to you.
A few of the over 500 exercises are shown.
We will try to keep things interesting for you.
Plus there are hundreds of FREE exercises available as downloads.
Below are one-minute exercises which can be downloaded from the web.
How about an exercise on wind chimes?
Use old kitchen flatware to develop musical wind chimes. Stainless does
not produce a nice ring. Use silver-plated forks, spoons, or knives, and
bang them flat. Drill holes exactly opposite each other equidistance
apart in a four-inch PVC pipe. Knot twelve inches of fishing line onto
the end of each utensil and tie them to the pipe. Knot the other end of
the pipe, adjust the length, and attach to a medium-sized tree.
Or an exercise on creating a safe?
Foil thieves by turning a book into a small safe and lining it up with
the other books on your shelf. Use a hardcover book. With a wide brush,
apply a weak glue solution to all pages except the first few. Weight it
down so it won't wrinkle when drying. Scribe a one-inch margin, drill
starter holes in the corner, and cut out the middle. Adjust the binding
and zip in a liner. You will have an adequate hiding place on your shelf.
How about an exercise on simple salt?
Salt has amazing cleaning usages. Shaking artificial flowers in a paper
bag containing salt will clean the flowers. Other uses include killing
poison ivy by spraying it with salt water. Or combine salt with lemon
juice to remove fruit stains from your hands. Salt can also be sprinkled
on excessive detergent suds to quickly tame them. Cover fresh oven spills
with salt. Let stand, then wipe up after the salt absorbs the liquids.
Or an exercise on using rubber bands?
Rubber bands have a variety of usages. Tables can be stabilized by fasten-
ing two or more card tables together. Place sturdy rubber bands around
adjacent legs. Rubber bands can be wrapped around doorknobs, jar lids, or
tools for an extra grip. Wrap one or more rubber bands around a flash-
light or screwdriver to prevent it from rolling. Or small things can
often be adequately held together when time is needed for glue to dry.
Did you think the above exercises were different from the other exercises?
The difference is that these are typical exercises found in Busy Fingers the typing program for kids.
In the Word Wacker and the Typing & Data Entry programs You have over 500 exercises to chose from. You can also download exercises from the web.
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® NimbleFingers is a registered trademark of Prof Ware.