‹ Back to All Posts

Typing.com Q&A: Insights From a Middle School Tech Teacher

Rory Stadt is the technology teacher for grades 6-8 at South Middle School Joplin, which serves a diverse student body of 600. In order to equip all students with the skills they need to succeed in today’s technology-enabled world, the district focuses on imparting the 4Cs of 21st century learning — communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking — by providing authentic learning opportunities across a variety of online platforms.

Typing.com: How are you incorporating Typing.com into your classrooms? How does your instruction differ across your sixth, seventh, and eighth grade classes?

Rory Stadt: I focus the majority of keyboarding instruction in the sixth grade to help students establish the foundation they need to be able to complete more difficult online projects later on. I start by creating accounts for every incoming student in Typing.com so we can easily track their progress throughout the year. Sixth graders start out by working through the beginner and intermediate lessons to learn accurate typing techniques, such as the correct hand positioning and fingering. Then they learn the home row keys and move on to mastering advanced punctuation and more.

In seventh and eighth grade, the focus is on typing quickly and accurately without looking at the keyboard. Learning to type efficiently helps them succeed with a variety of other projects we complete throughout the year, such as conducting research, solving problems, and collaborating on real-world activities.

You have your students take the one-minute typing test every Friday. How are you tracking scores over time to measure growth?

I use the one-minute typing tests as a weekly benchmark to measure and track growth over time. I have set the parameters on Typing.com so that students must achieve 90 percent accuracy on each lesson or test in order to move forward. These timed tests help reinforce the use of proper technique, like accurate finger placement and purposeful keystrokes, rather than prioritizing speed. Students who improve both their accuracy and their speed by two or more words per minute receive small rewards, which helps to drive more meaningful participation.

What is a unique example of how you are challenging students to become more proficient typists?

This year, I used a keyboard cover to further challenge my students to type without looking at the keys. While students were frustrated at first, they caught on rather quickly and began progressing throughout the lessons with even better scores and increased speed. This skill came in handy later in the year as students were required to type a document perched on a stand beside them.

As almost every industry continues to adopt different technology, many consider typing to be a fundamental skill for the 21st century. Do you agree?

Having worked in industry for over 28 years, I know firsthand that computer skills are a requirement for the majority of today’s careers. Not only is typing a necessary skill for college- and career-readiness, it’s also needed for students’ daily life at school. Those who have proper keyboarding technique are better able to succeed with technology-driven classwork and homework.

In my own classes, typing is a critical skill for students to complete their work. We use lessons on Google’s Applied Digital Skills to teach a variety of technology concepts and systems. Students with better keyboarding skills are able to proceed through these lessons at a much faster rate.

What is your favorite aspect of Typing.com?

Typing.com is a one-stop shop for students to learn to type! The fact that students can progress at their own pace, while tracking accuracy and speed, has been an important benefit to using Typing.com. In addition, the program’s introductory animated videos provide the visuals they need to learn proper hand positions and finger techniques.

About the author:

Prior to becoming a teacher, Rory Stadt worked for 28 years in corporate accounting and management. Nowadays, he enjoys teaching middle school students and believes the best part of teaching is connecting with students and sharing a passion for learning. He has been married for 35 years to his lovely wife Jane.


11 thoughts on “Typing.com Q&A: Insights From a Middle School Tech Teacher

  1. This is an awesome article. Typing.com also proves successful for incarcerated persons. While it would be ideal to teach everyone typing skills at an early age, unfortunately some chose a different path in life and were not presented the opportunity to do so. Many of the men and women who are incarcerated have the unfortunate distinction of having education levels that are similar to a sixth grader. There are many who have not attained any type of mastery of the keyboard and that hinders learning, even in prison. The 21st Century has provided corrrectional facilities with the opportunity to administer GED tests by using a computer. However, it’s difficult to take a computerized test when they don’t even have the skills to type. Typing.com has been a welcome addition to the correctional setting and it’s detailed reporting features and custom lessons have been a valued asset. Congratulations to Rory Stadt and all that he has accomplished by teaching the future of our world these absolutely necessary skills. Keep up the good work!!

    1. Thanks for your comments and story of how you are helping people use Typing.com. My dad used to teach vocational classes in prisons. Hopefully you can rehabilitate some of those inmates.

    1. We use the No Peek keyboarding covers. They are inexpensive and last forever. They are made of sturdy plastic. It really helps teach students to type without looking down at their hands.

  2. Thanks for your comments. This is a great resource for anyone who wants to improve typing skills.

  3. Hello Rory and other teachers,

    I have used this for teaching pupils aged 12 – 14 -in the past.

    Everything is great apart from one thing.. Cheating!

    They “have” to do this my computing lesson and there are always a few in each class who “do not need to touch type” –

    They just waste their time and mine by doing the course with their current 2 finger typing.

    Has anyone any ideas on how to prevent this? Apart from trying to convince them it is a worth while skill.. Or doing keys covered testing. Which I do, but they still return to their cheating.

    I am about to try deleting lesson progress of anyone I find cheating and see if this works.

    I am sure I am not the first to encounter this problem!

    What worked for you?


    1. What I do is demonstrate both the 2 finger method and the home row technique. Of course I am very slow with only two fingers and very fast with all fingers. Students are amazed at what typing 80 words per minute looks like. You could challenge this person to a race on a one minute typing test. I also mention that people who type faster and with better accuracy are going to make more money on a job. People who have better skills are more likely to get hired and promoted faster.

    2. I grade my students on posture and technique. We talk about how important it is to be sure to sit straight up with your feet flat on the floor and how you must use the homerow and proper finger placement. Then I share a posture and technique rubric with them and grade them a couple of times throughout the semester. This way I make them accountable for using the correct finger placement. It’s not foolproof, but it helps.

    3. Idea 1: Turn the lights off.
      Idea 2: Use a keyboard cover. I will post a picture of my homemade-better-than-any-other keyboard cover on my twitter account @whalen_msms
      Idea 3: Incorporate “Type the Alphabet” before and during lessons. If students can type the alphabet, they can type any words.
      Idea 4: Emphasize technique, then accuracy, then speed. Most students that do what you are experiencing judge their skills based on speed only, failing to take into account that they will get faster with time.

      Be patient – these are kids and the keyboarding skill is like any other. Some are born with a natural ability, others are willing to work hard to achieve it, and some take shortcuts whenever something difficult comes their way.

  4. Great article! Some teachers and students do not see the benefit of typing lessons because they seem to think, I believe, that expert use of a cell phone for texting is good enough, but Rory sites various great reasons for providing students strong typing and tech skills.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.