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Laser PC5 Pilot Keyboarding Project:

Fourth and fifth grade students at East Elementary School in Charlotte County Florida piloted a program to teach keyboarding skills using PC5 laptop computers. The pilot began in October and continued through June 1997.

Keyboarding was taught during a 40-minute weekly class in the computer lab. This method did not allow enough time for students to build speed and accuracy, plus it limited the use of the expensive desktop computers for other uses. We saw the PC5 as a possible solution to this problem.

In October, all fourth and fifth grade teachers at East Elementary School were issued a PC5 and trained in the use of it. These grade levels have 35 PC5's with rechargeable batteries and a mobile cart from Spectrum Industries that enables the PC5's to be recharged all at once.

During the month of November, the laptops were rotated for 1 hour per day between the teachers at each 4th and 5th grade level. The students practiced keyboarding using the built-in typing tutor of the PC5.

By December, teachers began to notice that students were no longer looking at the keys, and were increasing their speed and accuracy. Using the PC5's to write became easier and more fun for the students. One fifth grade teacher introduced students to the spreadsheet of the PC5. She had students use the spreadsheet to collect various kinds of data, and then downloaded the data to a desktop for graphing. Writing poetry also has become fun for the students, since improved keyboarding skills allow them to input their thoughts more easily.

The school continues to explore other ways these marvelous laptops can be used to help students and teachers make learning fun and productive.

By the end of the school year, we will analyze the results of our pilot program, and decide at which grade level, four or five, to institute district wide keyboard training at all the elementary schools.

Janet A. Williams

Director of Media & Special Projects Center

Charlotte County, Florida


Results of Study


October 1997

The Results of our pilot Study E

With regard to the keyboarding abilities of our 4th and 5th graders who went through the PC5 keyboarding study, we have found no significant difference between their abilities to learn to touch type. Both groups learned keyboarding during an equal time period, and there was no statistical difference in their speed and accuracy.

Considering this conclusion we are expanding the program to four elementary schools using the Laser PC5 "Type to Write Mobile Labs." We will further expand the program next year by instituting it district-wide in all our elementary schools.

Janet A. Williams

Director of Media & Special Projects Center

Charlotte County Public Schools, Florida

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