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Guidance: Keyboarding Instruction

The University of the State of New York

The State Education Department


Keyboarding Instruction


Keyboarding Instruction

As the use of technology for teaching, learning, and assessment becomes more prevalent in New York State schools, and as teachers and leaders continue to make decisions that ensure their students are receiving a quality, 21st Century education, the topic of keyboarding instruction will and must emerge as a focus area.

Keyboarding, the ability to operate a keyboard efficiently while typing, is an important skill that allows students to write fluently and communicate more effectively, and is critical to success in school, college, and careers in the 21st Century. 

The newly-adopted NYS Next Generation English Language Arts Learning Standards include expectations for keyboarding instruction in the Production and Range of Writing section for all grades P-12 that offers an incremental year-by-year approach to developing effective keyboarding skills, as follows:

Grade(s) Keyboarding Instruction Expectations in NYS Next Generation English Language Arts Learning Standards Page
PreK Students should begin to explore keyboards. 14
K Students should explore keyboards. 23
1 Students should continue to explore keyboards. 32
2 Students should be introduced to keyboarding. 40
3 and 4 Students should receive instruction in keyboarding, with a focus on technique over speed. 49, 58
5 and 6 Students should continue to improve keyboarding skills, with a focus on increasing speed as well as accuracy. 67, 75
7, 8, 9/10 Students should continue to improve keyboarding skills to increase speed and accuracy. 83, 91, 101
11/12 Students should demonstrate proficient keyboarding skills. 111

It is important that districts develop plans for keyboarding instruction as they both prepare for the transition to the NYS Next Generation English Language Arts Learning Standards, and transform teaching, learning, and assessment environments to meet the needs of 21st Century students.  The following information may be of use as schools and districts develop plans or curriculum maps:

Keyboarding Software

NYSED released a survey in September 2017 to gain a better understanding of current keyboarding instruction in New York State schools.  In the survey, respondents were asked to identify keyboarding programs currently being utilized in their schools.  A list of the most widely-used software applications can be found on The Office of Educational Design and Technology’s website.

Please note that NYSED does not require, recommend, endorse, or advise on any specific program or product.  All instructional decisions are made at the local level.  If you have any questions about software options or attributes of quality keyboarding software, please contact your school/district technology leader, BOCES, or Regional Information Center.

Sample High-Level Keyboarding Instructional Plan

The following high-level plan was developed in consultation with NYS educators and educational leaders, and meets the expectations in the NYS Next Generation English Language Arts Learning Standards.

Though keyboarding instruction is explicitly outlined in the NYS ELA Standards, NYSED recommends districts ensure that keyboarding skills are practiced and reinforced in all instructional areas, as appropriate, as part of regular instruction.  In addition, keyboarding is one component of technology literacy, and keyboarding instruction should not replace current instruction in the appropriate use of technology (cyber safety, security, and ethics) or the use of digital tools to research, create, communicate, and collaborate.

Grade(s) Keyboarding Instruction
  • Identify a keyboard
  • Explore keyboards
  • General familiarity with letter and number placement
  • Intro to enter key and space bar
  • Intro to backspace, delete, shift
  • Intro to Home Row
  • Intro to correct posture and hand placement
  • Direct, consistent instruction on keyboarding begins.
  • Technique (including posture and hand placement) reinforced over speed.
  • Instruction on keyboarding continues (formal and/or informal).
  • Technique (including posture and hand placement) reinforced over speed.
  • Students should continue to improve speed and accuracy.
  • Technique (including posture and hand placement) and speed reinforced.
  • Correct posture and hand placement should continue to be reinforced.
  • Students should continue to improve speed and accuracy until district mastery goal is met.
  • Correct posture and hand placement should continue to be reinforced.

As districts begin developing plans for keyboarding instruction, they should keep in mind that students should continue to improve keyboarding skills until they meet or exceed the locally-determined mastery-level.  Targeted support may be recommended for students who do not possess, maintain, or progress in skill to meet district speed and accuracy goals.  Additional considerations for keyboarding instruction include when and how to introduce function keys, characters, and letter accent marks to meet the varying needs of students.

Students with Disabilities and Assistive Technology

Keyboard access may present a challenge for some students with disabilities. Such students may have assistive technology, instructional accommodations, and testing accommodations recommended on their individualized education programs (IEPs) or Section 504 accommodation plans (504 plans) to address their disability-related needs.  For example, one student’s IEP or 504 plan may recommend adaptations to a standard keyboard through the use of keyboard accessibility options (e.g., sticky keys, slow keys, filter keys, or keyguards), while the IEP or 504 plan of another student may include recommendations for the use of an assistive keyboard (e.g., head/mouth stick keyboard, large keys, or color keyboards).  Additionally, for some students with disabilities, keyboarding may not be appropriate, even with the use of assistive technology tools. For these students, other assistive technology devices may be recommended, such as speech-to-text programs or eye-gaze technology for typing.

A student with a disability requiring keyboarding accommodations and/or assistive technology must be given the opportunity to participate in general instructional technology activities, including keyboarding instruction, as appropriate to his or her individual needs.  During such instruction the assistive technology and/or accommodations recommended for a student with a disability must be consistently implemented in accordance with the specifications on the student’s IEP or 504 plan.