This study is on factors affecting student performance in keyboarding. The total population for the study is 200 staff of selected secondary schools in Abuja. The researcher used questionnaires as the instrument for the data collection. Descriptive Survey research design was adopted for this study. A total of 133 respondents made up principals, computer science teachers, senior staff and junior staff was used for the study. The data collected were presented in tables and analyzed using simple percentages and frequencies
- Background of the study
Keyboarding skills is defined as the ability to key in information in the memories of the computer with minimum effort and energy use. Hames (2000:1) are of opinion that secretaries can be considered as skilled keyboard users when they are able to accurately key in data into the memories of the computer in a minimum time, with minimum use of energy and with high degree of consistency and flexibility.
Keyboarding is a long life skill. It has evolved from a transcription typing skill where student typed hand-written letters into a generative typing skill involving composing original thought at the keyboard, (Cooper, 1983). Technologically, progress and development has not resulted in information being made available and easier, but it has put more pressure on computer user to develop skills (such as keyboarding skill) in order to best utilize good business transaction and to improve communication, for example, the use of e-mail to interact with customers through the help of keyboard. The key to success when living in such a computer-centric world is to be able to interact effectively and efficiently through well-developed keyboarding skills. Unlike the days gone-by Cooper was considered a talent that ensured a secretarial position for typing someone else’s letter, typing has become an integral part of our daily lives, keyboarding is no longer a routine for transferring ideas from scribble to print. The average computer user spends at least 2.4 hours a day actively engaged in computing at work. (Usernomics , 2007).
The computer Keyboard and Mouse are devices common in everyday use of computers. They are widely used for simple activities like launching applications or programs, shutting down the computer and closing programs as well as for complex activities like graphic designing and programming. They are seen to be the most widely used devices of the computer system. Consequently, for one to be very good in using the computer he or she has to learn and practice in order to improve upon his or her keyboarding and mouse movement skills.
In today’s classroom, students are expected to produce handwritten work and computer-generated work as necessitated by demands of assignments and testing. Students who have diﬃculty handwriting and keyboarding may face challenges meeting these student occupational demands. Students struggling with handwriting development often have diﬃculty completing classroom assignments and may avoid academic tasks all together, thus decreasing overall occupational performance in school (Cahill, 2009; Freeman, Mackinnon, & Miller, 2005). With increasing numbers of computers available in the classroom and at home, keyboarding is an accessible option for students of all abilities. For keyboarding to be an eﬀective alternative to handwriting, a level of keyboarding proﬁciency is required (Preminger, Weiss, & Weintraub, 2004). Students are expected to write essays using word processors (Poole & Preciado, 2016) in addition to computer-based testing. Since school curriculums are incorporating more assignments and projects that require keyboarding skills, keyboarding competency is important for all students (Barkaoui, 2014; Rogers & Case-Smith, 2002).
Since it is commonplace for all students to be using computers to meet educational demands, it is critical that eﬀective keyboarding instruction be determined (Poole & Preciado, 2016) both for struggling and non-struggling students. Keyboarding instruction and suﬃcient practice opportunities are crucial for developing keyboarding proﬁciency in students struggling with handwriting skills (Freeman et al., 2005). Research suggests beneﬁts to introducing touch-keyboarding instruction at an early elementary age, because these students have potential to develop the higher-level keyboarding style (Britten, 1988; Chwirka, Gurney, & Burtner, 2002; Cowles, Hedley, & Robinson, 1983; Hoot, 1986). Conversely, previous research suggests that younger students require more time and supervision making instruction less practical. Pisha’s (1993) study on students in grades third through sixth found that older students developed keyboarding abilities at a faster rate than the younger students. Alternatively, Nichols’(1995) determined that students in the third grade were able to improve keyboarding abilities from keyboarding lessons however, it was more of a challenge to keep younger students engaged. Ultimately, keyboarding should be introduced prior to the grade level when computers are used for academic work (Freeman et al., 2005; Kisner, 1984).
Current keyboarding speed norms are diﬃcult to determine, because of the absence of a standardized keyboarding assessment and the variability of keyboarding instruction per grade level (Freeman et al., 2005). Freeman et al. (2005) published a summary of key-boarding speed norms from a collection of research. Research has indicated second grade students type an average of 5 word per minute (WPM) (Chwirka et al., 2002). Students in grades ﬁrst through third were keyboarding at an average of 9 WPM. Third graders could reach speeds up to 30 WPM, fourth grade students to keyboard between speeds of 7.1 WPM to 30 WPM, and ﬁfth grade students were keyboarding at an even broader range from 4.7 WPM to 70 WPM (Freeman et al., 2005). In addition, students who keyed20 WPM in ﬁfth grade were able to maintain that level of proﬁciency in seventh grade (Ertl, 2007). Keyboarding speed norms in research are highly variable and diﬃcult to generalize; however, an overall trend in increasing speeds with increased grade level can be concluded (Freeman et al., 2005; Pisha, 1993). Researchers do concur that keyboarding skills should be as fast as handwriting to be functional (Freeman et al., 2005; Pisha, 1993; Stevenson & Just, 2014). Base on this background the researcher wants to investigate factors affecting student performance in keyboarding.
- STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Notwithstanding the fact that some students are very good in using the keyboard and mouse it was noted during practice sessions that most of the students could not use the mouse in performing tasks such as double clicking, left-clicking, click-hold, click-drag and drop icons on the desktop, selection of text, locating the movement of the pointer on the screen of the monitor. Some students could not even hold the mouse properly. Most students also find it difficult to locate the individual keys on the Keyboard or touch type; most of them do not know the functions of the special keys like the control key, alternative key, the Shift key, the Escape key, the Tab key etc. Since many modern day Operating systems and Applications Software require Graphical User Interface (GUI) to run applications and execute commands, it is important that students become familiar with the keyboard and the mouse therefore there is the need for students whom most are first time computer users to be skillful and proficient in using the computer keyboard and mouse.