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Keyboard Opens the World of Computers to Young Children

The letters are in alphabetical order, and the big keys of My First Keyboard are perfect for preschoolers' small hands. Also, when should children be taught keyboarding skills and techniques?

So your two-year-old is pounding away at the keyboard, a keyboard that makes little sense to her. If only that keyboard was a little more kid-friendly! Then you might be able to capitalize on that enthusiasm and channel it into a positive learning experience.

Photo of keyboard
Photo Credit: RF Link/Kidtech, Inc.

A special keyboard---called My First keyboard---might be just the solution for you.

My First Keyboard is made for preschoolers. The keyboard has 55 keys (instead of the typical 101 keys, in case you never counted them!). The abbreviated keyboard reduces little ones' confusion and frustration. In addition, the keyboard's letter keys are color-coded and arranged in alphabetical order, which helps to reinforce letter recognition and alphabetical sequence while developing eye-hand coordination. And the big keys are perfect for small hands. Best of all, the keyboard has no control keys, so kids won't accidentally cause data losses or system crashes! The keyboard is easy to clean (peanut-butter proof, says its promotion material) and requires no special software. It plugs directly into your computer. A standard computer keyboard can plug directly into My First Keyboard for adults who want ultimate control!

My First Keyboard was designed by aerospace engineer Victor Maynard, who spent 12 hours reprogramming a computer after his 18-month-old son had enthusiastically punched some of the keyboard's keys. Not wanting to squelch the youngster's enthusiasm for the computer, Maynard and his wife, Kendall, went searching for a child-friendly keyboard. What did they find? Nothing! Zero! Victor Maynard recalls.

The result is My First Keyboard, geared for children aged 18 months to 5 years.

For more information about My First Keyboard, call RF Link/Kidtech, Inc., at 800-681-4056, or check out their Web site at


When should children be taught keyboarding skills? That question is the subject of much debate.

"Why bother?" some people ask. Soon voice recognition systems will replace the need for keyboards, they add.

Others say that voice-recognition systems are a long way off (especially in schools, which---technologically speaking---tend to lag behind business and other institutions). They say keyboarding skills will be essential skills for today's kids to have if they are to succeed in the workplace.

So that brings us back to the original question: When are kids ready to learn proper keyboard technique? A consensus is hard to reach on that question, but many people say third and fourth-graders are ready to learn basic keyboarding skills---and many products exist to help teach those skills in the classroom. A sampling of products and other Internet sites of interest follows below.


"Twenty years from now, when your children are asking us what computers did in 1997, we'll have a hard time explaining what the computer of 1997 is, because it doesn't talk, it doesn't listen. What does it do? Not much. These machines, we'll look back on them as quite limited, even though 10 years ago we couldn't even imagine having such incredible machines."

---Bill Gates, Microsoft founder



A cartload of products can be found in the marketplace for teaching keyboard skills to students of all ages. This list highlights a few products found in a quick Web search; inclusion of a product on this list not an endorsement. Make an informed decision by asking for more information and "test-driving" a variety of products found here and in your local computer supply store.

Gary Hopkins
Education World® Editor-in-Chief
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Links Updated 10/24/2011