Why QWERTY not qwerty?


Having just spent the day with Diana Rigg from PLD Learning Resouces for a whole school Professional Learning Event, I was hit with the thought ‘Why are our keyboards in capital letters?’

Why did a literacy day lead me to this thought?

What is the most important pre-literacy skill? Phonological awareness.

Phonological awareness is the ability to precisely hear and speak the sounds in words. Initially students hear and speak the sounds of the letters, then they learn to identify letters and lowercase letters are the first choice.

In Western Australia, our students can start school at 4 (Kindergarten) and in our school they are at school 3 days a week. This term, they have a 40 minute time slot in the computer lab and are confronted with a capital letter QWERTY keyboard.

Alright, it is not like I am having them type sentences, but I like them to put their name on their work. I could get stickers for the keyboards but they are an irresistible challenge to kids.

It is my proposal that all keyboards should be lowercase. Capital letters aren’t used all that often and we still use the shift key or the caps lock key to change them to capitals. If the keyboard was lowercase, using the keys to change the case would make sense.

Lowercase keyboards exist and I am considering purchasing them but this would mean I have 30 conventional keyboards sitting idle.

iPads or tablets are also being used and although some apps do use lowercase keyboards, why don’t all of them? Is it something we have just gotten used to or is there a neurological reason for this ?



2 thoughts on “Why QWERTY not qwerty?

  1. Hi Kerry,
    I’m with you.
    Interesting, too, that the original QWERTY keyboard was configured to slow down the fastest typists of the day (thus, dis-enabling!).

    Strange the way that thoughts leak sideways, isn’t it?
    Will I see you at ACEC2012 in the school holidays?
    All the best

    • Hi Sam,
      I didn’t know that about the keyboard. Thanks for sharing.
      I find my mind tends to leak sideways a lot (love that expression!) especially towards ICT. I like how different things challenge my thinking about my own work.

      At this stage I am not going to the ACEC2012 as I am busy but I may try and squeeze a day in. Have fun and I will follow the tweets regardless.
      Kerry 🙂

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