School Extra By Bob Zimmerman


The IBM Selectric was introduced on July 31, 1961 and its revolutionary design completely disrupted the business typewriter market. About two years later, I had the opportunity to learn typing skills on that cutting edge technology in 10th grade Business class. Two weeks into the class, I managed to break both forearm bones in my right arm and found myself in a cast from my shoulder to my knuckles. At the time I was okay with not having to practice typing as I figured I would never need that skill anyway. In 2018, I keyboard at about 20 mistakes a minute and enter data into my computer just fast enough to get by.

Mrs. Maria Metz is the Technology teacher at St. Timothy’s School and she assured me that keyboarding is a basic skill that is needed by just about everyone, so it is an important component of what she teaches. Her younger students learn proper posture as well as letter recognition. Eye-hand coordination and fine motor skills improve as students use their minds and bodies to control the keys and accuracy is stressed over speed. Knowing how to use the mouse correctly is also important and getting good at left clicking, right clicking, and double clicking takes some practice. Coding, also known as writing software, is a topic that Mrs. Metz introduces to her Kindergarten students and continues with through the grades. Building commands and putting them in proper sequence is what harnesses the computer’s capabilities, and students start understanding how computers are controlled at a young age.

One of the areas older students learn about is finding information by using a computer. Mrs. Metz has devised a scavenger hunt as one of her teaching tools. Start with a list of 20 GPS coordinates; use Google Earth to identify the landmark at each location; choose the destination you would most like to visit, and explain why. Create a slide show and present your findings. There is much to be learned about computers and the world, as well as reasons to develop skills on how to share knowledge with others.

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