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 ?