Mt Ewing said pupils given tablets and other devices in schools should be taught to learn to touch type, because he hated to see youngsters “typing away with two fingers” on mobile devices.
Speaking at the Scottish Parliament’s education committee, where cabinet secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville was giving evidence, Mr Ewing said that he welcomed the Scottish Government’s policy of distributing an ipad-style device to every Scottish child, but said that to make the most of the benefit, they needed to be able to type properly.
He said: “I wonder if the cabinet secretary agrees with me that one skill which it would be extremely useful to enable children to acquire would be the appropriate use of touch typing using a qwerty keyboard on a laptop or tablet.
"It is one of the most useful things I have ever learned in terms of skills in life. When I see children typing away at a mobile phone with two fingers, I think ‘this is not great’ because it doesn’t equip you for the many walks of life where the ability to type effectively and quickly is an extraordinary benefit.”
The Scottish Government earlier this year pledged that every child would have a tablet.
Ms Somerville said: “The member raises an important point about the use of technology and how it’s not simply about having a device, but about the use of that technology. The experiences and outcomes [of the policy] includes the use of technology as well. It may not go as far as Mr Ewing wishes on touch typing in particular, but I hope I’ve given him some reassurance.”
A message from the Editor:
Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by Coronavirus impacts our advertisers.
If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.