If you teach middle school or higher, you probably struggle with students who refuse to stop Hunting and Pecking at their keyboards. We have a few tips and tricks to help you stop those bad habits.
Understanding the Hunt and Peck Cycle
In order to break this bad keyboard habit, you have to understand the cycle. When Hunting and Pecking, you probably know the cycle without ever being told what it is. In order to hunt and peck, students must:
- Memorize a block of text. Depending on age, it may be 1-2 letters to 1-2 words.
- Look down at their hands and type out that text.
- Look at the text that they just typed and make sure it is correct. This also helps students figure out where they left off.
- Memorize a new block of text and repeat.
That is it! They type for a few seconds, pause for a few seconds, type for a few seconds, pause, and repeat over and over until they are done typing. You will often hear: “tap tap tap –pause– tap tap tap –pause– tap tap tap –pause– tap tap tap“. This is 100% indicative of hunting and pecking.
Breaking the Cycle of Hunting and Pecking
In order to stop a cycle, you just need to remove a piece from the cycle. It is like putting a hole in a balloon. Soon the balloon itself will pop or deflate with just a single hole. To break hunting and pecking, you just need to do something similar to break the cycle.
Step 1 in the cycle is memorizing a block of text. There isn’t much that can be done here as students need to know what to type.
Step 2 in the cycle is looking down at their hands. This can typically be blocked by physical devices such as keyboard covers or even dish towels which is a cheaper option. The problem is, it is a physical device, and the students can move those devices. If you currently implement keyboard covers in your class, you probably see many students leaning way back to try and peer underneath the keyboard cover.
Step 3 in the cycle is double checking the work. When typing instructors used to use textbooks, they would oftentimes turn off the students’ monitors and then the students would type straight from the textbook.
If a student was trying to hunt and peck, they wouldn’t be able to double check their work, they would often times forget the last word or character they typed. They would skip words and spaces, and will make a large amount of mistakes. Today a lot of programs do not offer textbook versions, and teachers have since lost the ability to turn off the monitor if they want the students to type.
So the only solution presented so far that only vaguely works is some kind of physical cover for the keyboard. One of the major issues with the keyboard covers is that you can only enforce that practice inside your classroom. Students working from home don’t have keyboard covers and will be able to continue hunting and pecking without issue.
Digitally Breaking the Habit
Keyboarding Online is the ONLY keyboarding program that will help you break the habit digitally. You promise your our method is so successful that you won’t need to use keyboarding covers at all. We have two patented features inside our program that will stop every student from hunting and pecking; the Blackout Timing Screen and the Timer Timeout.
Blackout Timing Screen
In the same way that teachers used to turn off the monitor, we do that digitally. When students start typing, the text area they are typing into goes black. The students can’t see the words and sentences they are typing. When students are trying to hunt and peck, they will lose their place more often and make mistakes because of their bad habit. When the timing is over, the text the student typed will be revealed. If they made too many errors, they will have to take the timing again.
Going back to the pattern of hunting and pecking. Students type and pause, and type and pause, and type and pause. When a student hunts and pecks, those pauses are generally 2-4 seconds long. The Timer Timeout is a timer that measures those pauses. If a student’s pause extends more than 2 seconds, their timing resets on them and they are forced to start over from the beginning of the timing.
When you combine both the Blackout Timing Screen and the Timer Timeout, students will not be able to hunt and peck. They will make too many mistakes and have to retake the timing, or their timing will be reset all the time until they stop hunting and pecking. It can be quite frustrating for the students, but it does break that bad habit.
If you are looking to break hunting and pecking for your students, give Keyboarding Online a try and see how quickly we will put a stop to it.