• The single most important computer skill children can learn is basic typing.
           Excerptes from an article written by Michael J. Himowitz, The Baltimore Sun
     
            With the kids back in school, millions of parents across the country are looking at their family computers and asking the old question:  What kind of educational software should I buy to justify spending a copule of grand on this gadget?
            There are lots of answers.  But at the outset, consider that most people who buy computers use them for word processing.  And that brings us to the most important single "computer" skill your child can learn:  typing.
            Actually, it was called "typing" when I learned how to do it thirty-something years ago on a relic called a typewriter.  Today it's called "keyboarding."  But the basic skills are the same and they are even more important now than they were then because so much of today's work is done at the keyboard.
            Learning how to type properly is critical for several reasons. While most kids and adults can learn to hunt and peck on their own, real typing speed depends on proper technique.  And speed is important because youngsters should learn how to think and compose at the keyboard.
           The problem is that we can think much faster than we can put words down on paper.  Just watch a child struggle with a handwritten assignment.  He knows what he wants to say, but it takes him so long to get it down, and he has to concentrate so hard on the mechanics of writing, that his thoughts often get lost in the process.
            While we will never be able to completely close the gap between thought and recording speed, a fast typist comes a lot closer than a slow one, and even a slow typist can do it a lot faster and more neatly than someone writing longhand.
            There are a couple of ways to learn how to type.  The best is to take a good typing course.  I was lucky because the school system I attended required everyone to take a full year of typing in the 9th grade.  In retrospect, it was the most valuable single course I took.  Few school systems require typing today, although they should given the importance of computer keyboards in everyday life.  Most schools offer keyboarding courses and they are definitely worth taking.  Besides teaching basic typing skills, they teach students how to compose and format documents... Learning this skill in the long run will carry students through all the advanced courses they will take in the future.