Should Typing be a mandatory Course in School?

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Should Typing be a mandatory Course in School?

Postby tzvibish » Thu Sep 10, 2009 5:04 pm UTC

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstop ... chool.html

The author of this article seems to think so.

I agree whole-heartedly. However, it should not take away from the handwriting classes, because nothing says "uneducated" like sprawling, illegible, handwriting (at least for most people. Doctors and scientists are the exceptions, I guess).
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Re: Should Typing be a mandatory Course in School?

Postby headprogrammingczar » Thu Sep 10, 2009 5:27 pm UTC

Crappy handwriting and fast typing speed is the only way to measure intelligence.

Seriously though, I find it physically painful to watch people type slowly, especially if they are "playing whack-a-mole" to press the keys. Good typing is as important as good spelling nowadays (if not more so, thanks to spell check).
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Re: Should Typing be a mandatory Course in School?

Postby Aetius » Thu Sep 10, 2009 5:29 pm UTC

tzvibish wrote:it should not absolutely take away from the handwriting classes


fyp. Handwriting (in the sense of anything beyond knowing how to write with your hand) is one of the most useless skills in our modern society. It has been 110% eclipsed and, barring some apocalyptic event that destroys world technology, will never be relevant again.

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Re: Should Typing be a mandatory Course in School?

Postby tzvibish » Thu Sep 10, 2009 5:35 pm UTC

Aetius wrote:
tzvibish wrote:it should not absolutely take away from the handwriting classes


fyp. Handwriting (in the sense of anything beyond knowing how to write with your hand) is one of the most useless skills in our modern society. It has been 110% eclipsed and, barring some apocalyptic event that destroys world technology, will never be relevant again.


I think handwriting should be taught to the point where students can write regular block letters legibly. Cursive is a total waste of time, but it's important to learn basic handwriting (besides for the coordination skills it imbues).
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Re: Should Typing be a mandatory Course in School?

Postby Briareos » Thu Sep 10, 2009 6:10 pm UTC

Aetius wrote:Handwriting (in the sense of anything beyond knowing how to write with your hand) is one of the most useless skills in our modern society. It has been 110% eclipsed and, barring some apocalyptic event that destroys world technology, will never be relevant again.

I like writing thank-you notes. I expect that the recipients like to be able to read them; hence, I am happy that I learned to write legibly. Taking the time to send a hand-written note, rather than an email (or even a typed, snail-mailed letter) shows the recipient that you care about taking the time to communicate with them. Of course, that's my opinion and the way I was taught.
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Re: Should Typing be a mandatory Course in School?

Postby lowbart » Thu Sep 10, 2009 6:12 pm UTC

Besides, what if the planet gets hit with a huge electromagnetic pulse beam? Or, you know, the power goes out for a few days? How would we leave each other "I'm going out for a few hours to hunt squirrels" notes?
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Re: Should Typing be a mandatory Course in School?

Postby Rinsaikeru » Thu Sep 10, 2009 6:15 pm UTC

Do you think that kids actually need to be taught how to touchtype? I think they learn on their own typing messages to friends.

My touchtype class in highschool was useless.
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Re: Should Typing be a mandatory Course in School?

Postby Darkscull » Thu Sep 10, 2009 6:30 pm UTC

Rinsaikeru wrote:Do you think that kids actually need to be taught how to touchtype? I think they learn on their own typing messages to friends.


yeh, im sooo gud @ typin cuz ov the tim i spend chatin 2 m8s on line.


And before people say that's a spelling problem, I've seen many people who can talk/write perfectly fine but still type like that, even in emails and on facebook.
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Re: Should Typing be a mandatory Course in School?

Postby Will » Thu Sep 10, 2009 6:32 pm UTC

I would have loved touchtyping classes in school--I finally taught myself in high school, after years of hunt-and-peck typing.

tzvibish wrote:However, it should not take away from the handwriting classes, because nothing says "uneducated" like sprawling, illegible, handwriting

Handwriting classes? They didn't teach us good handwriting any more than they taught us how to type. And quite frankly, one of these skills is much more useful than the other.

That's really what it comes down to--handwriting is nowhere near as useful or necessary a skill as it used to be, and handwriting in schools went out the window years ago. Anecdotally, I know I wasn't allowed much less required to turn in a handwritten essay since elementary school. And nobody's handwriting was very good then either.
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Re: Should Typing be a mandatory Course in School?

Postby Rinsaikeru » Thu Sep 10, 2009 6:35 pm UTC

But a touch typing class wouldn't teach you grammar or spelling. That's english class. Teaching kids how to type quickly and teaching them how to type actual words are two different things.

I think most kids, even those typing indecipherable chat speak, are touch typing. It's a coping skill for basic communication nowadays. They type as well as they speak essentially--they don't need to be taught the mechanics of typing, they need to be taught how to employ basic grammar and spelling.
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Re: Should Typing be a mandatory Course in School?

Postby tzvibish » Thu Sep 10, 2009 6:40 pm UTC

Rinsaikeru wrote:But a touch typing class wouldn't teach you grammar or spelling. That's english class. Teaching kids how to type quickly and teaching them how to type actual words are two different things.

I think most kids, even those typing indecipherable chat speak, are touch typing. It's a coping skill for basic communication nowadays. They type as well as they speak essentially--they don't need to be taught the mechanics of typing, they need to be taught how to employ basic grammar and spelling.


Everyone will be able to touchtype in the younger generation. Very few will be able to touchtype well. I've been tyoing since I was a small child and I still need to look at the keyboard when I type. Some good classes would go along way in making kids good typists.
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Re: Should Typing be a mandatory Course in School?

Postby darkspork » Thu Sep 10, 2009 6:58 pm UTC

Is touch-typing really necessary? I've always used the hunt-and-peck approach, and can type fast enough without looking at the keyboard. Plus, with the rise in mobile phones and smaller netbooks, will touch-typing even be possible in the future? Seriously, try to fit both your hands on a phone. Even on a modern laptop keyboard, the positions of the keys don't match the fingers. I wonder if a study has ever been conducted on wether touchtypists are more likely to get carpel-tunnel syndrome.

Then again, I was forced to take a touch-typing class in first grade, which I was forced to repeat in second grade, which I was forced to repeat in 7th grade, and then again in 9th grade. I never put any effort into learning it the "right way".
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Re: Should Typing be a mandatory Course in School?

Postby Heisenberg » Thu Sep 10, 2009 7:11 pm UTC

Keyboards will be obsolete by the time these kids grow up.

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Re: Should Typing be a mandatory Course in School?

Postby Freakish » Thu Sep 10, 2009 7:14 pm UTC

People have awful grammar because they choose to have awful grammar, not because they are lacking education. I stopped the newb speak in grade 5, it's just a choice. Some times I spell out four and some times it's just 4.

Heisenberg wrote:Keyboards will be obsolete by the time these kids grow up.


Says who? iirc QWERTY is obsolete, but it's still sticking around.
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Re: Should Typing be a mandatory Course in School?

Postby SecondTalon » Thu Sep 10, 2009 7:36 pm UTC

darkspork wrote:Is touch-typing really necessary? I've always used the hunt-and-peck approach, and can type fast enough without looking at the keyboard. Plus, with the rise in mobile phones and smaller netbooks, will touch-typing even be possible in the future? Seriously, try to fit both your hands on a phone. Even on a modern laptop keyboard, the positions of the keys don't match the fingers. I wonder if a study has ever been conducted on wether touchtypists are more likely to get carpel-tunnel syndrome.

Then again, I was forced to take a touch-typing class in first grade, which I was forced to repeat in second grade, which I was forced to repeat in 7th grade, and then again in 9th grade. I never put any effort into learning it the "right way".
Yes. It is necessary. While I was able to type acceptably fast before I learned to type the proper way, comparing the two - look, hunt, peck and the don't even look down just type methods... just because you can doesn't mean it's the most efficent way. Touch typing makes it far easier, faster, less neck and eye strain, and so on.

With phones.. it depends on if they have a qwerty keyboard or not. Even if they do, and you're thumb typing it, once you know how to touch type it's all in the same place, so the transition is pretty damn easy.

As far as the ergonomics of it go, small keyboards suck. There's no getting around that. And yes, any sort of repetitive task, like typing, can result in carpel-tunnel syndrome. That's why there are those funky split and tilted keyboards.

But you are right in that a hunt&peck typist will likely not develop the syndrome at the same rate as a touch typist.
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Re: Should Typing be a mandatory Course in School?

Postby Arete » Thu Sep 10, 2009 7:51 pm UTC

This discussion is heavily biased towards education systems that use multiple choice tests rather than hand written essay answers. As a reference, the Telegraph is a right-wing paper in the UK, and they'd never in a million years argue against teaching good handwriting ;)

Some points:

IT classes are practically mandatory these days - typing is part of this, surely? Thus, already covered, in that it can be included in these lessons easily enough.

Handwriting is important, in the real world, at least in business. The myth of the 'paper-less' office is just that.

Handwriting essays *is* important: it shows you can formulate a coherent, logically sound, argument using knowledge. Essays aren't simply lists of "X did Y then Z did Q", they're there to show comprehension and thinking. If you can't structure your thoughts and show linkage between ideas, then you're essentially less useful than, say, a computer. We have computers to store large amounts of data, not provide insight / analysis / application of said data [barring correlation / statistics].

Handwriting is beautiful, even when scruffy, and although it won't tell you anything useful about someone's psychology (I'm afraid that's a bunk idea), it does show an individuation. That's the importance, and why anyone who actually writes rather than copies moves quickly on from the picture perfect lettering of the copy-books and forms their own unique style.

Perhaps I'm just old now - but multiple choice exams reduce education to something it shouldn't be; with the coda I understand that there is cultural / gender bias inherent in essay structured exams.

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Re: Should Typing be a mandatory Course in School?

Postby Freakish » Thu Sep 10, 2009 8:04 pm UTC

This just in typing can also be used to write essays
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Re: Should Typing be a mandatory Course in School?

Postby Walter.Horvath » Thu Sep 10, 2009 8:12 pm UTC

But in Orange County (at the very least) typing is integrated into our CCC/International Business classes, ie. The ones that you take to learn advanced Office/International Business from. While this is generally annoying and taking away from the main point of the class (earning 3 CC credits), I can only imagine how monotonous a program like this would be, standalone, as a semester or fy class; typing programs are so mind-numbingly boring that I can not see any practical improvement after Middle School (Junior High).

That being said, I don't touch-type, use the 'home-row' keys, or any of that. I learned it in Elementary School, where it should be taught, and then abandoned it. Ever since, I've adopted/founded a new way of typing that makes my hands fly across the keyboard while using several fingers simultaneously. When I know what I want to type, I can get my speed to 100+ gwam (Gross words a* minute, iirc). It also fixes me in the position that one would use to type ergonomically, so that I can switch seamlessly.

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Re: Should Typing be a mandatory Course in School?

Postby ameretrifle » Thu Sep 10, 2009 8:18 pm UTC

Meh, I type about ~65 WPM, but I still think a class might have helped me. I touch-type to some degree, but I do much better when I happen to be looking at the keyboard, and I don't do it "properly" at all-- I mainly type letters with the first two fingers on each hand, using the third for letters near the edges and my pinky only for the enter and shift keys. It almost seems like I've more memorized how to type specific words than memorized the layout of the letters. It's something I'm trying to work on a bit now, so I think teaching kids to type might not be a waste of time. But I'm with Walter that it should absolutely be an elementary school thing, not a middle- or high-school course. Whole classroom full of kids screwing around on Facebook for fifty minutes. I've been there. Screw that.

And I wouldn't say handwriting lessons are obsolete, either. Probably not something worth testing, but it's something that ought to be taught.

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Re: Should Typing be a mandatory Course in School?

Postby Arete » Thu Sep 10, 2009 8:20 pm UTC

Freakish wrote:This just in typing can also be used to write essays



Yes, I did my thesis on one.

However, in a timed, closed environment, you can't. The time aspect is the important thing here (that and not googling for someone else's paper).


p.s.

Am I the only one who thought that http://www.mobygames.com/game/typing-of-the-dead was great? There's enough free/shareware games out there in a similar vein, to make it 'not boring' for children.

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Re: Should Typing be a mandatory Course in School?

Postby Giant Speck » Thu Sep 10, 2009 8:22 pm UTC

To be completely honest, when I had to take typing class in high school, I struggled to meet the 25 words per minute requirement to pass. Six years later, I can now type at a speed of around 60 to 70 words per minute quite easily.

I personally don't think that typing classes should be mandatory in school; however, I do believe it should be taught. What I mean is that while it should be taught in school, there shouldn't be an entire class dedicated to it.

In addition to this, I do not believe that the existence of computers is a valid excuse to be lax on teaching children how to write neatly and legibly. It is not difficult to learn proper penmanship and the fact that computers are more widely available and are easier to use does not deem handwriting completely useless.
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Re: Should Typing be a mandatory Course in School?

Postby The Reaper » Thu Sep 10, 2009 8:24 pm UTC

Arete wrote:Am I the only one who thought that http://www.mobygames.com/game/typing-of-the-dead was great? There's enough free/shareware games out there in a similar vein, to make it 'not boring' for children.

When I was little, my mom's work computer came with 2 games. Zork, and Typing Tutor. Typing Tutor was a space invaders type game, where you had to type the letters/words/phrases correctly before they hit the ground. Fun stuff.

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Re: Should Typing be a mandatory Course in School?

Postby General_Norris » Thu Sep 10, 2009 8:27 pm UTC

Well given that not everyone is rich enough so as to be able to have 1 computer per pupil we will stick to notebooks a bit, thus typing classes are not neccesary currently.

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Re: Should Typing be a mandatory Course in School?

Postby SummerGlauFan » Thu Sep 10, 2009 8:29 pm UTC

Don't forget, handwriting is still important for several tasks. Taking notes, for example. Sometimes you aren't allowed to have a computer, or maybe you're in a situation where you have to take swift notes in a place where a computer isn't convenient; cops/other emergency personnel, reporters, even the humble waiter all often rely on handwritten notes. If you or others can't read the chicken-having-a-seizure handwriting, it isn't doing anyone any good.

Plus, as mentioned above, many grammar classes teach proper grammar when they teach writing, which is another plus. Why get rid of something that isn't a problem?
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Re: Should Typing be a mandatory Course in School?

Postby MikeBabaguh » Thu Sep 10, 2009 8:29 pm UTC

I was taught handwriting and cursive in 2nd grade, and typing in 8th grade.

Today I am light-years in skill beyond my peers who weren't.

I do think teaching both should be mandatory, and the earlier the better. Despite popular belief, both skills are essential to the operation of a successful culture.
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Re: Should Typing be a mandatory Course in School?

Postby Jesse » Thu Sep 10, 2009 8:30 pm UTC

In Scotland, there is a seperate class called 'Business' that is mandatory for highschoolers. In it you get taught how to do thigns like accounting, and touch typing. It was a pretty good class.

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Re: Should Typing be a mandatory Course in School?

Postby Azrael » Thu Sep 10, 2009 8:33 pm UTC

MikeBabaguh wrote:Despite popular belief, both skills are essential to the operation of a successful culture.

Cursive, no. Handwriting, yes. Take the time spent on cursive and split it: half into 'regular' handwriting (which is already taught first) and the other half into typing.

After my last day in 5th grade cursive, I was never again required to use it, nor have I. And regardless of the claims that it is faster, I've also *never* seen anyone take notes in cursive. All of those hours teachers have spent trying to instruct kids that an 's' doesn't look like an 's' it looks like this thing here have dubious merit in the modern world.
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Re: Should Typing be a mandatory Course in School?

Postby Xeio » Thu Sep 10, 2009 8:37 pm UTC

Giant Speck wrote:I personally don't think that typing classes should be mandatory in school; however, I do believe it should be taught. What I mean is that while it should be taught in school, there shouldn't be an entire class dedicated to it.
I had a class dedicated to typing using a nice tutorial program, it's how I learned to touch type correctly. It was a one semester course (half-year in high school), but I don't think that it could be taught effectively as a side note to something else. I honestly think it's almost a handicap if you can't touch type because you're often much slower using other methods such as hunt and peck or whatever.

Aetius wrote:fyp. Handwriting (in the sense of anything beyond knowing how to write with your hand) is one of the most useless skills in our modern society. It has been 110% eclipsed and, barring some apocalyptic event that destroys world technology, will never be relevant again.
Nope, not anytime soon. Hell, many of my professors don't allow computers during class, good luck taking notes if you can't write. Not to mention how often I end up using whiteboard/post-it notes. Even the IT office on campus has a whiteboard where we leave important notes that are way too short/unnecessary for email (or need referenced often), or labeling burned CDs, or filling out any forms (though, I guess if you have an extra hour to burn you could scan it, edit the image adding text, and print it...).

Cursive on the other hand, is useless, once you know how to sign your name, you'll probably forget everything else.

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Re: Should Typing be a mandatory Course in School?

Postby The Reaper » Thu Sep 10, 2009 8:42 pm UTC

Xeio wrote:Nope, not anytime soon. Hell, many of my professors don't allow computers during class, good luck taking notes if you can't write. Not to mention how often I end up using whiteboard/post-it notes. Even the IT office on campus has a whiteboard where we leave important notes that are way too short/unnecessary for email (or need referenced often), or labeling burned CDs, or filling out any forms (though, I guess if you have an extra hour to burn you could scan it, edit the image adding text, and print it...).
Almost all of my profs allow tablet notebooks. My writing class requires laptops of some form.

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Re: Should Typing be a mandatory Course in School?

Postby Aetius » Thu Sep 10, 2009 8:44 pm UTC

Xeio wrote:Nope, not anytime soon. Hell, many of my professors don't allow computers during class, good luck taking notes if you can't write. Not to mention how often I end up using whiteboard/post-it notes. Even the IT office on campus has a whiteboard where we leave important notes that are way too short/unnecessary for email (or need referenced often), or labeling burned CDs, or filling out any forms (though, I guess if you have an extra hour to burn you could scan it, edit the image adding text, and print it...).


All of which falls under the heading of "knowing how to write with your hand."

Re: touch typing vs hunt-and-peck. When I was in school taking a typing class I already knew how to touch type. Which was fortunate for me because I broke my arm that year and was in a cast for 14 weeks. Even though I was one handed, I was still able to double the typing speed of the hunt-and-peck girl next to me. Touch typing is much much faster.

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Re: Should Typing be a mandatory Course in School?

Postby Jesse » Thu Sep 10, 2009 8:44 pm UTC

Over here, cursive is pretty common. I assume you mean 'writing that is joined up'. It's much faster, for one, than non cursive. I feel weird when I'm writing in block instead.

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Re: Should Typing be a mandatory Course in School?

Postby Will » Thu Sep 10, 2009 8:44 pm UTC

Xeio wrote:Nope, not anytime soon. Hell, many of my professors don't allow computers during class, good luck taking notes if you can't write.

Did you even read the thing you quoted?
Aetius wrote:fyp. Handwriting (in the sense of anything beyond knowing how to write with your hand) is one of the most useless skills in our modern society.

Yes, everybody needs to know how to write by hand, nobody's arguing that. The issue is how much time is spent teaching cursive and trying to develop handwriting skills when that time would be better spent developing typing skills. Your handwriting does not need to look good in order for you to take notes.
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Re: Should Typing be a mandatory Course in School?

Postby MikeBabaguh » Thu Sep 10, 2009 8:46 pm UTC

Azrael wrote:
MikeBabaguh wrote:Despite popular belief, both skills are essential to the operation of a successful culture.

Cursive, no. Handwriting, yes. Take the time spent on cursive and split it: half into 'regular' handwriting (which is already taught first) and the other half into typing.

After my last day in 5th grade cursive, I was never again required to use it, nor have I. And regardless of the claims that it is faster, I've also *never* seen anyone take notes in cursive. All of those hours teachers have spent trying to instruct kids that an 's' doesn't look like an 's' it looks like this thing here have dubious merit in the modern world.

I take notes and write essay exams in cursive. Several times in the past few years classmates have marveled at my writing speed. I've also had one professor openly thank me for having clearly legible writing.
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Re: Should Typing be a mandatory Course in School?

Postby Arete » Thu Sep 10, 2009 8:50 pm UTC

In the United Kingdom, the phrase "joined-up writing" or "joint writing" is far more commonly used, while the term "running writing" or "handwriting" is most commonly used in Australia. Cursive is also commonly known as simply "handwriting" in Canada and New Zealand.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cursive

Ah, I get why I was confused in this discussion.

Yes, cursive is important. Very important. From cursive you get to make your own style. I freely admit it is snobbery, but when I see an adult not being able to write 'joined up', I immediately doubt their education / intelligence. I'm self-aware enough to know it is a prejudice, but...


(As a note: when you move on from 'cursive' in the sense that you're doing joined up lettering in your own style, it won't look anything like the calligraphy of formal documents such as the declaration of independence)

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Re: Should Typing be a mandatory Course in School?

Postby Giant Speck » Thu Sep 10, 2009 8:58 pm UTC

Will wrote:
Xeio wrote:Nope, not anytime soon. Hell, many of my professors don't allow computers during class, good luck taking notes if you can't write.

Did you even read the thing you quoted?
Aetius wrote:fyp. Handwriting (in the sense of anything beyond knowing how to write with your hand) is one of the most useless skills in our modern society.

Yes, everybody needs to know how to write by hand, nobody's arguing that. The issue is how much time is spent teaching cursive and trying to develop handwriting skills when that time would be better spent developing typing skills. Your handwriting does not need to look good in order for you to take notes.


My handwriting is one of the only things I am willing to brag about... until it comes to writing notes. I abandon everything I learned and scribble chicken scratches all over the page. But thanks to my OCD when it comes to handwriting, I always take those chicken scratches and rewrite them neatly later.
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Mega D
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Re: Should Typing be a mandatory Course in School?

Postby Mega D » Thu Sep 10, 2009 9:31 pm UTC

Is this even controversial? I can't believe in this day and age any school wouldn't teach everyone to type. We all had to have a semester of typing when I was in school, and that was twenty years ago. We learned on typewriters and everything.

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Endless Mike
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Re: Should Typing be a mandatory Course in School?

Postby Endless Mike » Thu Sep 10, 2009 9:36 pm UTC

Arete wrote:[Yes, cursive is important. Very important. From cursive you get to make your own style. I freely admit it is snobbery, but when I see an adult not being able to write 'joined up', I immediately doubt their education / intelligence. I'm self-aware enough to know it is a prejudice, but...

What if people *can*, but prefer block lettering? My handwriting is some terrible amalgam of the two.

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Re: Should Typing be a mandatory Course in School?

Postby Internetmeme » Thu Sep 10, 2009 9:41 pm UTC

Cursive is a lot faster than standard letters will ever be. You don't have to worry about spacing between letters, only words, and it just "flows" more easily than block letters. I think that's the whole point of cursive.

Leave the computers out (for the most part) until Middle school, then have a one-class deal where you learn touch-typing and the basic MS programs (because let's face it, Microsoft will probably have the market for a long time) such as Word, Excel, and Powerpoint. In High School, have another class that just touches on touch-typing (we're talking one test here) and the more advanced programs, such as Access, and the more advanced parts of Word, Powerpoint, and Excel.

Learn cursive in Elementary. It'll stick for the rest of your life, and it's all that I write in.
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Arete
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Re: Should Typing be a mandatory Course in School?

Postby Arete » Thu Sep 10, 2009 9:42 pm UTC

Endless Mike wrote:What if people *can*, but prefer block lettering? My handwriting is some terrible amalgam of the two.


Well, that depends. If its a short note, such as their address / email, then I can see that they're doing it for clarity; if it is anything over a paragraph my mind gets a bit fused.

I should perhaps note that I'm a fan of sites such as http://www.passiveaggressivenotes.com/, and block lettering always strikes me as a barely contained whirlwind of frustrated anger ;)

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Re: Should Typing be a mandatory Course in School?

Postby The Reaper » Thu Sep 10, 2009 9:50 pm UTC

Just a note, most people have atrocious cursive, and bad cursive is harder for me to read than bad block lettering.


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