We were very pleased to award Batchwood School a grant to purchase software and licence to teach typing skills to pupils. Batchwood School is an SEMH (social, emotional and mental health) school and the only such school in Hertfordshire which admits secondary aged girls. Katherine Lane (TA and Interventions Coordinator) explained the project:
“…we intend to further develop the breadth of our curriculum by introducing typing to year 8’s timetables. Second, we intend to increase the effectiveness of our SEND and literacy-needs provision by incorporating use of this software as part of the individual interventions provided.
Within the scope of this project is the intention to enter every year 8 pupil for Level 1 and 2 Ofqual certified qualifications in order to ensure that their learning is formally recognised.”
Touch typing tuition had a period of unpopularity with the demise of typing pools etc. but the skill is extremely useful in the modern era. As Katherine explained:
“…by ensuring every student has acquired touch typing skills before they leave school we will better prepare them not only for a range of employment options, but also to engage actively and confidently in society. Whether an adult needs to type out a letter, send an email, or complete an online bank application, the more fluent they are with a keyboard and word processing, the better equipped they are to function independently.”
However, what really strengthened the bid were two other aspects of the program:
“In depth research has encouraged us to choose Touch Type Read and Spell as the typing software we pilot because it is multisensory and has been approved by the British Dyslexia Association. The multisensory nature of the programme means that it will allow students with SEND to participate on an equal footing to other learners. Furthermore, the way in which the programme teaches typing is phonics-based (Orton-Gillingham-based approach) which means that all students, but particularly those with Specific Learning Difficulties such as dyslexia, should improve the accuracy of their spelling at the same time as they develop the new skill of touch typing.
Touch Type Read and Spell also features specific STEM subject modules. As students learn to touch type they are exposed to Maths and Science vocabulary. Hence it is hoped that the introduction of this software will increase pupil progress in these subject areas by enhancing familiarity with curriculum content and developing subject-specific vocabulary (knowledge and spelling accuracy).”
The program allows teachers to set up their own typing exercises so any vocabulary from any subject can be practised in conjunction with learning to touch-type. The listen-only option can be used for helping spelling and the listen-and-see option helps reinforce the vocabulary whilst all three VAK modalities are engaged.