Typing, also known as keyboarding, is important to your education because today's schools require students to complete some assignments online and to turn in typed essays and research papers. If you have not learned to type yet or if you're still struggling with keyboarding skills, it isn't too late to learn. Learning to type requires some patience and lots of practice, but there are lots of great resources available online, and many of them are free. Some of them are even fun! Once you've mastered keyboarding skills, you'll be surprised at how much more quickly you'll be able to complete your homework assignments. Being able to type will probably be useful beyond your education, too, since most careers today require at least some typing. But even if you don't enter into a career that requires you to type, you'll find that navigating the Internet and sending emails to friends and family will be much easier if you don't have to look at the keyboard and press one letter at a time.
When you first start keyboarding, you might think there's not much more to it than memorizing where the letters are on the keyboard and being able to hit them quickly. The truth is that there's much more to it than that. Before you even begin your keyboarding education, it's a good idea to make sure your desk, chair, and computer are set up properly to help you type comfortably and avoid injuries, like carpal tunnel syndrome, that can occur if you type for prolonged periods of time. Setting up a workstation properly is sometimes called "ergonomics." Once you've set up your desk and computer properly, it's time to start with some beginner lessons. Most beginning typing lessons will start by teaching you where to place your hands on the keyboard, which is usually called the basic hand position or having your hands on the home row. By the time you finish the beginner keyboarding level, you'll have a good command of where the keys are on the keyboard and be able to type some words and sentences without needing to look at your hands. It's OK if you're still typing slowly: Remember that it takes time and patience to master any new skill. Just keep practicing.
Proper Posture for Typing (video)
Keyboarding Guide (PDF)
Intermediate keyboarding education involves learning to type more sophisticated sentences and paragraphs. By the time you complete intermediate lessons, your speed will have increased and you should be fairly comfortable with typing your homework assignments. You probably won't be able to type numbers or symbols without looking at your keyboard yet, and unfamiliar words may still give you trouble. These are skills that will come with more advanced keyboarding lessons.
Advanced keyboarding builds on your existing keyboarding education by increasing your speed and introducing the use of symbols, numbers, and words you might not use very often, such as medical or technical terms. Many advanced keyboarding lessons will also teach you how to use word processing software so that you can use some of the formatting features to improve the presentation of your papers. In addition, you'll need to keep practicing to improve your accuracy and speed.
The final step in reaching your full potential in your keyboarding education is to work on your speed. Although speed is important, accuracy is the most important part of keyboarding. No one wants to read a paper or an email that is so full of errors that they can't figure out what you're trying to say. Rather than trying to leap right into being a super-speedy typist, focus first on improving your accuracy, even if it means you're a little slow to begin with. Speed will come with time. When you're ready to start speeding things up, there are lots of fun games to challenge your skills with. You can also try free online tests that will tell you how many words per minute (wpm) you're typing. Your speed might be important in your career one day, since some employers require that you be able to type at a certain speed to qualify for a job. The number of words per minute you'll need will depend on the job you hope to do, but a good number to shoot for is between 45 wpm and 65 wpm.