Utah district rewards keyboarding skills

For years, Davis School District has developed keyboarding skills among elementary students because the skill is essential to productive computer use. Keyboarding skill improves academic achievement at all levels of study and prepares students for employment after they graduate. Davis schools provide formal keyboarding instruction using the computer-based keyboarding instruction software, UltraKey, from Bytes of Learning Incorporated, which co-sponsored the 2011 Keyboard Challenge along with the Horizon Credit Union of Utah.

Keyboarding Instruction Coordinator Holly Handy spearheaded 2011’s Keyboard Challenge as a way to recognize students and to demonstrate how much value the district places on the skill. This year, 168 student contestants represented 56 elementary schools in the Davis School District. The 4th, 5th and 6th graders gathered to see who among them would be crowned the champion typist of the year.

“We wanted to celebrate typing skill,” says Ms Handy, “just like we celebrate other academic skills and athletics. I just didn’t anticipate the overwhelming enthusiasm teachers, students and parents showed. This has been such a success, we will definitely run the Challenge again next year.”

Students were chosen to represent their schools based on keyboarding speed and accuracy. Competition was fierce and scores were close as students entered the final rounds of the challenge. However, the event was carefully organized so students got plenty of warm-up practice and could enjoy the day, regardless of who won.

The UltraKey software was used to administer the typing tests and calculate speed and accuracy using the International Typing Contest Rules. Students keyed their way to the championship using 2-minute timed typing tests in several rounds of elimination. The overall winner was a 6th grade student from Buffalo Point Elementary School in Syracuse, Utah, who scored a net speed of 76 words per minute with 98% accuracy. The Top Team Award was taken by students representing Burton Elementary School in Kaysville, Utah. The team scored an average net speed of 66 words per minute with 98% accuracy. The top ten finishers in each grade level received a copy of UltraKey from Bytes of Learning. Those finishing in the top five also received savings certificates from Horizon Credit Union.

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