Tag Archives: ipad

Should children learn to touch type?

Should children learn to touch type?

This question has been around for a long time, certainly since the typewriters in the business studies rooms were replaced with word processors!

Students are now surrounded by digital technology and use a range of devices for their work. It is common for children to use tablets, such as iPads from a young age, and many secondary and high school students are using laptops. These are trends that will continue.

Is it important to be able to touch type?  I mean being able to accurately use a keyboard, while looking at the screen or elsewhere, and using all fingers on the correct keys. There are commonly heard arguments for and against learning to touch type

Arguments against learning to touch type

  • it takes a lot of time, time that is better spent on other learning
  • technology such as predictive text and touchscreen devices mean children will not need to type in the future
  • speech recognition and dictation software is replacing typing
  • one or two finger typing is just as fast on hand held devices

Arguments for learning to touch type

  • using a keyboard is the most effective way of inputting text, if you can type efficiently
  • laptops and computers, with keyboards, are going to be around for a while
  • it is a lifeskill, like riding a bike, once you learn you will not forget
  • good habits are best learned at an early age, as bad ones are hard to shift
  • once you can touch type accurately, your speed should increase

In conclusion, why I think that touch typing needs to be taught in school

Students in high school and above are going to be expected to use computers to produce longer and longer texts, for this reason efficient and correct touch typing is essential. Schools need to put aside time to teach this invaluable lifeskill, we cannot rely on parents and self motivated children to learn only at home. Maybe a compromise is to have ‘typing club’ at times during the school day. If we have 12 and 13 year old children typing with two fingers we are doing them a disservice.

Recommended Free Typing Tutor

There are free typing tutors available. I have seen children succeed with the free typing tutor available on line from typing.com. Teachers can even set up classes and monitor progress. The free version does have advertisements but they are not too noticeable. A small fee will remove the ads completely.  Another reliable one is typingclub.com There are many other typing tutors available, some of which are very good, but beware of ones with too many distractions and games!

What do you think?


SENIT-Special Education Network in Thailand

What happened at the Sixth Meeting of SENIT.

SENIT (Special Education Network in Thailand) meets twice a year in Thailand. The sixth meeting was hosted by Prem Tinsulanonda International School in Chang Mai on Monday 27 April 2015. This provided a perfect opportunity for teachers and others working within special education to discuss developments in practice and to share their experiences and ideas.

The ‘North’ was well represented by schools from around Chang Mai. In addition to the host school PREM, there were participants from Chang Mai International School, Lanna International School, Grace International School as well as NIST International School in Bangkok.

Welcome by Head of School

Participants were welcomed by the Head of School at PREM, who emphasised the importance of partnership in the provision of Learning Support for all learners with the Learning Support specialist supporting teachers in the classroom. There should be a transfer of knowledge about students within the school with all teachers in contact with children, parents and outside specialists. Everyone should be challenging all students to meet their potential.

Visiting School Program

Linda gave an introduction to some of the services offered within the visiting school program. These include:

  • The working farm
  • Teamwork and leadership: challenges, e.g. ropes, climbing, rafts
  • Thai cooking and fruit carving
  • Overnight camping on campus
  • Education trips provided: throughout Thailand
  • Outdoor education, service learning and experiential programs
  • Sustainability and watershed programs- including a barge program on Chao Phraya River which can be residential
  • Wellness community programs

For more information about VSP visit the website: www.threegenerations.com

Topics for the day

  • Writing Strategies-VCOP/Kung Fu
  • IPad Apps
  • Small group talks
  • Feeding back to larger groups
  • Online resource mobymax (reading, math, grammar, writing, etc)
  • Co-teaching: Myth or Reality?
VCOP strategies for immediate impact on writing from emergent to fluent writers.
  • Vocabulary
  • Connectives
  • Openers
  • Punctuation

Anita showed how children could be encouraged to widen their use of language, resulting in richer writing. We learned that ‘wow words’ could really make us say, ‘wow!’ And we all had a go at ‘punctuation Kung-Fu’. Great fun, but you had to be there!

iPad Apps

Core Apps:

  • Book Creator
  • Explain Everything
  • imovie
And More
  • Thinglink
  • reflector – to beam ipad onto screen $12
  • aurasma
  • Green Screen search app store for  ‘green screen by do ink’ – a great app that allows layers to be built up
  • AutoRap : can turn spoken word (or song) into a rap – good for poetry
  • Prodigy Math
  • istopmotion
Some other software and resources we talked about

mobymax.com (an on-line resource) for

  • reading comprehension
  • writing
  • grammar
  • vocabulary
  • math

$99 for a user – who can then add classes

prodigy //www.prodigygame.com – a free math program. You can create assignments from topics. Get feedback.

Recommended from our Group discussion:

Read Naturally: Take Aim Vocabulary for dyslexic readers

Jamestown Comprehension skills series with writing activities

Co-teaching: myth or reality?

Beth asked the question, ‘Co-teaching: myth or reality?’

The big hurdle is finding the time for planning. This is essential  – but may not be timetabled. Co-teaching works best when you find people who want to do it – rather than when it is imposed on teachers – and when there is understanding between the teachers.

It may take time to get used to different teaching styles and different classroom expectations. But it is worth it!

Thanks to Lynne and the team at PREM. Hope to see everyone at SENIT next time!

SENIT is a local chapter of SENIA – see the website for more information http://www.senia.asia/local-chapter-news/senit/ or the SENIT site https://sites.google.com/a/isb.ac.th/senit/home/about-us

Please feel free to make comments below – It will make a change from all the spam I have to delete!

Why I am using Dropbox

Dropbox is a cloud storage solution that you can connect to from a range of devices.

Dropbox Icon
Dropbox Icon

I am using Dropbox because:

It works on different devices.

It allows me to store 2gb  or more and I can access it from multiple devices. I am using dropbox on windows laptops at school and at home, an iPad and my android phone.

It is great as a ‘staging post’ for my photos.

Once Dropbox is installed on a device you can set it to automatically upload new photos to Dropbox. This works well when I take a snapshot using my Android phone, or the iPad. The photo is uploaded to Dropbox over wifi and the next time I open Dropbox  on my laptop the photo is available there. I can then sort my photos for publishing, inserting into other documents, back up to an external hard disk or sharing on Facebook etc.

I can upgrade my cloud storage.

If you recommend to a friend (who then installs dropbox) or attach new devices additional storage will be added for free. You can also pay for additional storage. I think it is expensive when you consider free alternatives such as Google Drive or Flickr, but sometimes you get what you pay for.

It will upload from different media.

Once installed on a computer Dropbox will prompt you to upload files when you plug in storage such as flash drives and memory cards, or a camera. You can make this upload automatic, or opt-out.

It will upload different file formats.

Dropbox is not only for photos, you can also upload other documents which you can then share with other users. This includes office documents such as word documents.

You can share files on Dropbox.

Once you have files in Dropbox it is easy to share them with others who have Dropbox or through a link.

Why I am using Google Drive.

Google Drive is a storage and productivity solution from Google that allows creation, storage and collaboration across a range of platforms.

Google Drive Icon
Google Drive Icon

I am using Google Drive because:

It’s cross platform.

I am using google drive because it works across different devices and operating systems. Right now I am using my own windows laptop at home and another one in the office and at school. I am also using an iPad at school and my phone is running android. Oh, and the children in school are using iPads, class laptops and occasionally desktops, both running windows… Using google drive we can all access our work on any device and we can choose to share work too.

It has office docs.

In drive we are able create and edit documents using a word processor (called Document), a spreadsheet, and a presentation. Folders can be created and files created outside of drive can be up loaded and stored. Folders can be shared or individual files can be shared.
The docs that you create in drive do not have all the formatting options or the bells and whistles of a full office suite, but that can be an advantage in school.

It has cloud storage.

Five gigs (5gb) for free. That’s a lot of word processing and spreadsheets. And I can edit a doc from my phone.

It’s great for sharing and collaboration

I know that I mentioned this before, but you can share whole folders and individual files with individuals and groups of people. That’s great for collaboration or just keeping an eye on a child’s work.

It’s not perfect

It is not the best place for storing photos and there are limits to what you can do with images within docs. And of course Google will know even more about you than it does already.