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04-Jun-2015 11:21

So, I am stepping into the left-handed world, and I am bringing an issue, recently raised in my class, to you, to get your thoughts. Shortly after school began, the mother of a student in my kindergarten class approached me, asking if I would change her son’s mouse.

She explained that he is left-handed and is used to having the mouse on the left side of the computer, with the primary mouse button also switched.

As educators, we accommodate many types of children so that they can have the same opportunities as the rest of their peers. When I first started asking around to get people’s thoughts on this topic, most people said lefties need to adapt and get used to a right-handed mouse and a right-handed world.

Their reasoning was that most people are right-handed, and they need to be able to use community computers. Very rarely is there a time when I need a publicly accessible computer.

As an adult, I barely ever use someone else’s computer. As the discussion continues, more and more reasons for switching the mouse buttons have come to light.

Left-handed students could be at a disadvantage because they are being forced to use their opposite hand. Would your work be at its best if you had the physical obstacle as well as the mental obstacle of using your non-dominate hand?

Even after nine years of teaching and with all the technology I use in my classroom, including one to one laptops, I have never been asked to do this before. You go into the control panel, click "mouse properties," and select "right" for the mouse button. What was a simple process on an ordinary home computer was anything but at school.

Then you place the mouse on the left side of the computer. Because my district has systems in place to prevent students from changing computer settings, the computers, even when I log in as a teacher, will not accept the change.

Why is this different from forcing them to use a computer mouse with their right hand? The decisions we make now will affect our students for the rest of their lives.(One of my district techs is currently working on this situation.) Because my students all have their own laptops, switching for a left-handed user will not be a problem with our system.The issue is, what are they going to do in future grades when they don’t have laptops? Most (right-handed) peoples’ response is to keep the mouse as is and let them get used to it.What I Am Noticing My students are currently using the touchpad mouse on the laptop, and I have started to watch the students’ movements with the mouse more closely.

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It’s the 21st century, and we are still fighting the same battles over left-handedness. As a right-handed person, I did not think much about this topic until this year.I currently have three left-handed students in my class, and I believe my own son will be a leftie.