Activity 1 - Masking the Keys

Beginning typists often find it impossible to type without looking at the keys. Frustration levels are sometimes high, and an occasional glance is gratifying because of the short-term improvement in speed and accuracy it yields. Unfortunately, this is detrimental to the development of long-term skills and unless taught differently, students grow dependent on these quick glances.

Challenge your students’ sense of adventure with personal goals instead of competing with those around them.

Stress the importance of learning the keys and perfecting their accuracy, not speed, at the beginning of the course. Have each student mask their keys in one of two ways:

  1. Using cardboard and tape, cut out and construct a three-sided box that covers the keyboard but allows room for the student’s hands to type freely below. Have them refer to the on-screen Guide Hands for reference, and leave the cover in place until they know the keyboard.

  2. Cover each key with a piece of graphic masking tape that leaves no residue on the keyboard. Leave it in place until the students have learned the correct way of “touch typing.”

By covering the keys themselves, students are more likely to accept the challenge and work on not looking. Assign a “peek-free” touch typing goal for each student. Once confidently achieved, remove the tape or box and reward students as appropriate.

Throughout the semester, individual students may need to reinforce this skill. If you have more than one computer in class, either use the box or mask the keys and switch that keyboard from station to station as required.