One activity that my students in our keyboarding unit complete is a weekly dictation activity. As simple as it is, my kids have learned to look forward to it. What is it? I walk around the room and say letters and students type what they hear. I change it up and go fast and go slow. After each line students give me a thumbs up if they want me to go faster in the next line, or a thumbs down if they want me to go slower. The ok symbol means it’s perfect just the speed i read it at. Why do they like it so much? Well it’s interactive, and as I walk around, I read to a beat, and I have been known to do a bit of tap dancing sometimes too. It’s actually a time to bond with my students.
With distance learning and covid, this activity is not a good one. Walking around the classroom, checking in on students and dictating so that everyone hears, is not the best choice for social distancing.
H5P Dictation App
(H5P has a wealth of activities you can create and embed in your LMS or blogs. You’ll have to go and play there for yourself with the free 30 day account).
It’s a dictation app which means you can record your voice and students have a place to type what they hear. It works great in a computer classroom, but could be used in a foreign language class or elementary spelling lesson. If you can think of other ways to use dictation, please comment below.
The cool thing about the Dictation app is that for each exercise I can record a normal and then a slow version of dictation, so that it reaches various levels. If in the classroom, I’ll still be able to walk around to check if students are typing correctly, but by not having to talk and project my voice, it leads to better social distancing practices. At home, students can safely practice Dictation, though they will need to really work on not peeking at their fingers but at least they get to practice the dictation skill set. It’s also nice, as students can work at their own speed.
After students complete the Dictation exercise, I am given a log of how they did through H5P for feedback. I have allowed students unlimited attempts at mastery, so there is no reason they should not score high on the exercise. You can choose various options when publishing the activity. You may only want them to do the activity once, for example.
Here are the directions that are posted on my LMS Canvas course.
Put your skins on the keyboard, so you cannot see the letters. (if you do not have a skin, DO NOT PEEK at your hands. If you need to repeat a section, you can! But do NOT look at your hands. If it goes too fast, many lessons have a slower speed version.