Students who competed in Shelby County Schools 2016 Keyboarding Challenge surprised district leaders with their speed, including Chau Nguyen who took home top honors for the fastest individual typist among all participating schools. The Oak Mountain Intermediate School 5th grader typed 76 correct words per minute on a two-minute timed assignment.
The contest, a first for Shelby County Schools, was designed to encourage students to develop good keyboarding skills early.
“Some people think that keyboarding skills are no longer needed. But young people actually type more today than ever before,” said Shelby County Schools Technology Coordinator Suan Poling. “I can remember taking typing in high school, but I almost never used those skills until I was in college. Now, even our youngest students type nearly every day, either at school or at home, and usually both.”
Completing digital assignments can be a source of frustration for students, teachers, and parents when the student has not developed their keyboarding skills. These skills make a difference in how quickly and accurately a student can complete their work.
With digital assignments on the rise, it was important to district leaders to encourage students to develop these skills. Students in first through eighth grades have been using a new online keyboarding program called Typing Agent since the beginning of this school year.
“We wanted a program students could use from home as well as at school,” said Lauren Woolley, Technology Program Area Specialist. “Over the year we were surprised by how many students practiced from home. The contest may have had something to do with that, but we also heard from students who said they just liked practicing, especially when they could do it small chunks from home.”
Teams competing in the Keyboarding Challenge were divided into three divisions by grade span — first through third, fourth through fifth, and sixth through eighth. Team members were selected in the spring. Each team was comprised of the top ten typists from each grade level, with nearly 400 students participating
“Each competitor took two timed tests. The scores took into account both speed and accuracy,” said Angie Clark, a district Technology Resource Teacher who oversaw the event. “The best score for each student was then used in calculating the team average. One team from each division was declared the winner. The fastest, most accurate typist at each grade level was also recognized.”
The winning teams were Oak Mountain Elementary, Oak Mountain Intermediate, and Chelsea Middle. Each school will receive $6,000 in technology funds and a trophy. All of the competitors received certificates. In addition, the fastest individual typists per grade level received small prizes that were provided by the Shelby County Schools Education Foundation.
The top typists from each grade level were: Eva Walker (15.5 wpm), first grade from Shelby Elementary; Karter Long (19.5 wpm), second grade from Mt.Laurel Elementary; Thomas Washer (41.5 wpm) third grade from Helena Intermediate; Dean Hartkopf (69 wpm), four grade from Helena Intermediate; Chau Nguyen (76 wpm), fifth grade from Oak Mountain Intermediate; Kaili Williams (43.5 wpm), sixth grade from Columbiana Middle; Lauren Thompson (63 wpm), seventh grade from Chelsea Middle; and, Aniah Washington (61 wpm), eighth grade from Columbiana Middle.
“I liked the competition because I really like typing,” said Columbiana Middle School student Kaili Williams, the winner of the sixth grade fastest typist award. “It was fun because I got to do something I really like doing. I was very surprised that I was the top person in the county.”
“I was impressed with all our students and their growth this year using Typing Agent,” added Penny Walker, Helena Intermediate School computer lab teacher. ” They have done so well implementing the skills needed to become great typists. We are thrilled to have had a great number of students excited and rise to the challenge of keyboarding. HIS is so proud of our two fastest typists in our third and fourth grades, as well as each of our students that participated in the challenge.”
Team members for Oak Mountain Elementary were: Hamza Zuaiter, John Whatley, Tylden Turner, Drew Stern, Gregory Stanley, Stephen Saikley, Shaan Ryel, Taylor Rubens, Jack Ries, Sloane Snyder, Tyler Abercrombie, Jake Alligood, Bradley Arnold, Kyli Berry, Reagan Bulter, Edwin Escobar Martinez, Hana Helu, Steven Springfield, Grace Zhang, Courtney Machtolff, Karsen Cofield, Jacob Crawfod, Thomas Ford, Morgan Lee, Barron Meadors, Jacob Monosky, Aiden Moriya, Trevor Shook, Ava Tucker, and Seth Tucker.
Team members for Oak Mountain Intermediate were: Chau Nguyen, Xavier Helu, Autumn Zwilling, Anya Hammonds, Sai Korrapati, Ali Samour, Mark Johnson, Evan Burdett, Kierson McDonald, Mark Bearden, Ilysia Conti, John Fletcher, Evan Peng, Austin Lancaster, Camden Spangler, William Junkin, Skylar Moore, Jesse Palmer, Grayson Rogan, David Huynh, Nathaniel Handler, and Landon Furgason.
Team members for Chelsea Middle were: Morgan Bright, Isabella Cavendar, Abby Craddock, Brooklyn Culwell, Susannah Farmer, David Hoang, Alexa Kelson, Elizabeth Land, Alice McGregor, Kaitlyn Reedy, Tyler Erwin, Mark Gordon, William Humphrey, Rebekah Keesee, Cole Kennedy, David Owens, Devan Stazewski, Lauren Thompson, Emma Wolfe, Kelsey Wood, Emily Carroll, Madelyn Clines, Lily Dong, Abigail Griffith, Kinlee Ingram, Elizabeth Jackson, Taylor Riley, Sydney Schwallie, Madison Taylor, and Emily Trawick.