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Typing skills! Is there still a need? Will it take hours upon hours?

To use an analogy, when you first decided you wanted to drive — did you just get in a car and drive or did you need to learn, be instructed?  Would you drive all day long in 1st or 2nd gear — irrespective of whether you were on a quiet country lane, motorway/highway or in central city traffic? The answer to the above questions is a resounding ‘NO’. Learning to drive, just like learning to type is a modern day, essential ‘life skill’ and we take instruction because we need to learn correctly and ensure best practise and safety. Fact: Everyone reading this is likely have a laptop, desktop or tablet.  Fact: We spend a lot of money on hardware and in some cases, as much again on software.  Fact: The software we purchase is normally related to making our lives easier or more fulfilling. Fact: Up to 80% of us, sit or sprawl in front of our machines gleefully typing with two or more fingers, using either elements of what we’ve learned during our lifetime about typing or using our own ‘unique’ developed method of typing.  Fact: Our lives are surrounded by computers — can you imagine today’s world without them? Emails, reports, dissertations — all sent electronically.  Fact: Generally typing pools have all but disappeared, the majority of us do not have secretarial services on hand anymore and we live in a cost competitive world where we are expected to work smarter, harder and more efficiently. Fact: The days of excess are gone and even the largest of companies are lean, mean and ready to change direction, within as little as a quarter’s results! So, how does this affect you/us all? The industrial revolution, was just that — streamlining productivity, increasing efficiency and ultimately increasing profitability. The automation of factories has without doubt improved the bottom line of so many manufacturing companies but in the last few years, these same companies are now looking for efficiency elsewhere -the office!  Large companies now expend huge budgets on staff training. Why and should we follow their lead? Simple really. Trained properly, staff are able to perform more effectively and quickly, which as mentioned above, increases productivity and company profitability. In regards to the individual, they become more efficient and competent, opening doors to promotion, increased salaries etc. According to spokesmen at the UK’s Learndirect and the US’s Opensesame, typing is one of the most overlooked and undervalued courses today. 10-15 years ago it was probably one of the most called for courses but over the last several years, it has seen a rapid decline — a trend which is thankfully now in reverse. Teaching typing skills  Teaching these skills within homes, schools and business organisations, to both mainstream and neurodivergent individuals can be quick and easy with our inclusive touch typing software. Our proven accelerated learning teaching method, which teaches the A – Z keys in just 90 minutes was developed through science and has been tried, tested and proven and endorsed by the Open University, who wrote a white paper on its effectiveness in 2000. 

20/08/2019 15:13:47

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Which modern day ‘life skill’ is missing from many school’s curriculum?

English and maths are two core subjects considered a must for the school curriculum. They are thought to be essential components in preparing children for further education, the working environment and life but is there another essential component, a ‘life skill’ that children use on a daily basis, at school and at home, that is as essential in today’s modern IT based world?   Yes! Touch typing.   The fundamental skill of touch typing is often overlooked but is one skill that can: Equip students with a ‘skill for life’ A skill they can take forward with them into further/higher education, the workplace and life. Increase productivity Efficient touch typing leads to increased productivity, saving valuable study time during course work and precious limited time in exams.  Improve spelling  With the aid of muscle memory’, spellings turn into a series of finger movements and patterns on the keyboard, dramatically reducing the likelihood of misspelling words. Improve the quality of writing in general  When you type with two or a few fingers, you use your conscious mind but when you touch type with all your fingers and thumbs, the skill is transferred to the sub-conscious skill centre of the brain, leaving the conscious mind free to concentrate on creative writing and the task at hand. Help with wellbeing  Correct touch typing technique can help encourage correct posture whilst setting at a computer and using all fingers and thumbs can help with even distribution of pressure load whilst typing – avoiding strain and aiding in preventing Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI). Help neurodivergent students  Touch typing and using a computer can offer neurodivergent students an alternate method for learning and communicating.      Within education today, there is an increasing amount of coursework having to be summited in typed format and within the workplace, the use of a pen is virtually redundant. Teaching students to touch type seems the natural and positive way forward.   When should we teach students to touch type? It is of general belief that the earlier a child begins, the easier it is for them to master a skill. With touch typing, the child’s hands and fingers need be big enough to reach the keys, generally around the age or six or seven. However, students can learn at any age, as a good typing software will retrain fingers and get rid of any bad habits which may have developed.   Which touch typing software to use? Many learn –to- type software can be repetitive and boring. This can deter students from persevering or wanting to learn. Finding a software that is inclusive, structured but light-hearted and easy to use is paramount to success. KAZ’s mainstream and neurodiverse typing software was developed with advice and guidance from the Dyslexia Research Trust and teaches typing skills whilst minimising visual disturbances by means of a unique preference screen, tailor making the course for maximum visibility comfort. It is suitable for mainstream students, as well as students with dyslexia, dyspraxia, ADHD, ASD, tourettes, amongst other.  The program uses a unique Accelerated Learning teaching method. Incorporating both 'muscle memory' and 'brain balance', it engages the major senses of sight, sound and touch simultaneously, radically enhancing memory retention and recall - which is why it is so effective. KAZ’s multi-sensory unique teaching method, combined with its specialised preference screen, delivers a student tailored, simple but effective course. This is why it was shortlisted as a Bett Awards 2019 finalist.                                              https://kaz-type.com/educational-edition.aspx

21/05/2019 12:35:24

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Why KAZ’s Software impressed the judges at the BETT Awards 2019.

Why KAZ's Neurodiverse Typing Software impressed the judges at the BETT Awards 2019, in regard to meeting the challenges faced by individuals with dyslexia.   KAZ’s Neurodiverse Typing Software was developed with advice and guidance from the Dyslexia Research Trust and was shortlisted as BETT Awards 2019 Finalist for the Special Educational Needs Solutions Sector.  The aim of the award was to reward products that made a distinct contribution to supporting learners with special educational needs.   The edition is suitable for individuals with one or a combination of the following neurological differences: Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, ADHD, ASD, Tourette’s, amongst others.   However, with regard to dyslexia, the judges were highly impressed with how the program and the skill of touch typing helped with the following challenges:   Visual Disturbances KAZ’s unique preference screen helps address visual disturbances by offering the user a selection of preferences to choose from. Once chosen, their preferences are ‘saved’ and applied throughout the course – tailor making it to each individual for optimum visibility comfort.   Cognitive Limitations KAZ’s multi-sensory ‘accelerated learning’ teaching method, enables students to learn using more than one sense (sight, sound and touch). With this method, information is more likely to be remembered and retained. Students can hone in on their most comfortable and preferred style of learning (visual, auditory or tactile pathways). If the teaching method closely matches the student’s preferred way of learning, learning becomes more natural, making learning easier and in turn faster – ‘accelerated learning’.   Difficulties with spelling With KAZ’s unique accelerated learning teaching method incorporating ‘muscle memory’, spelling and vocabulary are engrained to memory, as spellings become a series of finger movements and patterns on a keyboard, dramatically reducing the likelihood of transposing and misspelling words. Additionally, the program uses only ‘real words’ and repetition of typing these words helps train students to recognise them by sight, saving the decoding process that often causes trouble when reading. Spell checkers also highlight mistakes and offer alternatives.   Poor and messy handwriting - (this can lead to embarrassment, frustration and anxiety). Teaching typing skills eliminates the need for neat handwriting, as touch typing automatizes the translation of thoughts and ideas into written language. Additionally, errors can be easily edited without messy crossings out, resulting in neat and presentable work – automatically boosting confidence and self-esteem.   Slow work rate - (due to poor penmanship). Quick and accurate typing can reduce the amount of time spent on a piece of work, and often increases the amount of work produced. Additionally, when typing efficiently, without even thinking about it (subconsciously) –the  individual’s ‘conscious’ mind can concentrate on the question at hand, concentrate on creative writing but most importantly, type quickly enough to finish their paper.   Poor Working Memory The KAZ course is presented in a structured and light hearted manner and has been designed NOT to overload the working memory. The program is broken down into short modules in order to hold focus and concentration and allows the student to work at their own pace. Additionally, they are allowed to return to previous modules at any time should they wish to refresh. Working at a computer allows students to work in a non-linear fashion, where they can process their thoughts first and structure them later.   KAZ were thrilled to be shortlisted as a finalist, as the recognition of the product from such a recognised organisation within the education sector and the publicity has greatly helped with the awareness of the product – which is now helping the masses, who continually send them testimonials on how their software has helped them.                        ‘Thank You UK for caring and investing in tools for Dyslexia. You have helped me make a break through’ - A friend from the United States K.Hamerski - US   ‘Thanks for letting me trial KAZ which I found surprisingly easy and I am touch typing this email!  I need to speed up a lot but only practice will do that!’ Kate Ireland - Learning Support - City of London School   Honestly, your method is like magic. I sent your website to other friends with dyslexic kids and another adult friend who never learned to touch type. Thank you so much for you method. I feel so lucky to have discovered KAZ. I love typing now.’                                                     Rachel Rosenthal - US   We loved the ability to customize your screen display to ensure you can read comfortably, and the typing and demo areas on the screen are clear and easy to use.                                                                                          The School Run magazine Review

15/04/2019 10:17:20

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Increased Efficiency - Typewriter to Computer

Remember being able to type a document without constant distractions from email, social media and the internet?   The typewriter is undoubtedly one of the most important inventions in human history. It was first envisioned in 1714 as a means of recording important documents without a printing press – but the first commercial machines wouldn’t arrive for another century and a half! Throughout the 20th century, with the standard QWERTY keyboard now a staple, companies like IBM blazed a trail towards the modern, word-processing computer with mechanical and electrical machines. They would fashion the modern keyboard and allow for the easy recording, correction and reprinting of written information. Here are some of important historical landmarks, beginning over 300 years ago: Henry Mill patented the first ‘writing machine’ in 1714. It was called a ‘Machine for Transcribing Letters,’ but not much is known about Mill’s idea, as no evidence of it as a working machine exists. However, the intention was “for impressing or transcribing of letters singly or progressively one after another, so neat and exact as not to be distinguished from print, very useful in settlements and public records.” American William Burt built the first Typographer – the precursor to the typewriter – in 1830. His patent was personally signed by then-President Andrew Jackson. Burt was a government surveyor and built the machine to help speed up his work.  He used the machine to type letters – but his need for speed remained unfulfilled, as the Typographer used a dial to select letters rather than keys. Many other attempts followed from other inventors, but the first commercial typewriter would not arrive until 1874. Christopher Latham Sholes and Carlos Glidden had their ‘Type-Writer’ manufactured by Remington. Sholes also invented the QWERTY keyboard we use today; it featured on his machine, which wrote in capital letters. The first popular typewriter to bear the familiar design was the 1896 Underwood 1, designed by Frank Xaver Wagner. It featured the four-row keyboard, front key-striking (allowing people to actually see what they were typing) and a shift key allowing for capital letters. It wasn’t the first to offer all of these features, but did so with far superior engineering and, as a result, great success. By the early part of the 20th century, typewriters were becoming commonplace in workplaces but boy were they creating a lot of noise. The Noiseless Typewriter Company began marketing its first machine in 1917. However, it didn’t live up to its billing and failed to sell well. The ‘clickety-clack’ lived on. Electric typewriters, which used a motor to power the type bar, began to gain a little prominence between the World Wars. The first of note was the Electromatic Typewriter. In 1933 IBM bought the company, investing $1 million, and by 1935 the IBM Model 01 arrived as the first successful electrical model. The powered operation allowed for much lighter keystrokes, while keys weren’t as far apart as mechanical counterparts. This meant far less reaching and hammering. IBM would further improve the design in 1961 with the IBM Selectric typewriter. This model actually looked like a computer keyboard. It featured a rotating golf ball-like type-ball, rather than individual type bars (something that had been pioneered in early mechanical machines). The ball could be easily replaced to enable different fonts, italics or languages to be used in the same document. It also eradicated jamming. In 1964, IBM furthered the design with the Magnetic Tape Selectric Typewriter, which was, in effect, the first ever word processor. It introduced a magnetic tape system for storing characters which meant that for the first time documents could be edited and reprinted, rather than having to retype the whole thing. It promised error-free typing at speeds of 150 words per minute. The 1969, the Mag Card Selectric Typewriter allowed written information stored in Mag Cards to be sent to other machines over voice-grade phone lines. Essentially, this was an early version of email. IBM remained at the forefront of innovation in the sector and in 1971 brought out the sequel Selectric II. This introduced a correction tape, which eliminated the need for correction fluid: once the new correction key was struck, the correction tape was able to ‘lift’ the ink off the page. The final Selectric III went on sale in the 1980s. Although countless further innovations, from companies like IBM and Brother, would allow typewriters to remain relatively prominent for another couple of decades, they had already begun the transition into word processors before computers began to invade homes and offices in the 1980s. The last Brother typewriter rolled off the production line in 2012. Some typewriters remain in use, even today, with many writers choosing them to avoid the distractions of the internet. The great gonzo journalist, Hunter S. Thompson, stuck with his until his death in 2005 and there is still a great market for antique typewriters. From the above, you can see that the ‘clunky’ typewriter has evolved into the modern day streamlined computer, in an on-going quest for improved efficiency.  In today’s IT and computer based world, the art of using these devices remains more prevalent than ever. Secretarial banks have all but disappeared, whilst the use of these devices have become the standard in offices, schools and homes worldwide.  Their usage is not expected to decrease but increase.  Inspite of all software and hardware development, by some of the largest companies in the world, PC’s and laptops are still sold with a keyboard - making the ‘skill of touch typing’ priceless and essential. However, in a busy and time sensitive world, all software needs to be simple, easy, quick and effective.    KAZ's typing software meets all of the above requirements. Its unique accelerated ©teaching method has proven to teach the a-z keys in just 90 minutes and its inclusive features makes it suitable for both mainstream and neurodivergent individuals. Photo credit: W A Burt typographer by clbinelli - originally posted to Flickr as W A Burt typographer Wikimedia CommonsIBM Selectric by Oliver Kurmis Wikimedia Commons

12/04/2019 13:11:04

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Priceless - The Skill of Touch Typing

Priceless !!    Mainstream Typing Tutor I needed to learn to type!  “I spend a lot of time at my computer and realised that I really needed to improve my work rate. I’m self-employed and in a ‘light-bulb’ moment decided that I really needed to learn to type - realising that the less time I wasted, typing with two fingers, the more work I could actually get done."  How did you hear about KAZ ? I searched the internet but actually spent more time searching for the right product, than it actually took me to learn to type with KAZ!  I had tried a free typing tutor in the past and another paid one my friend used, which seemed really good, with lots of videos but I just got fed up and frustrated. It looked good online but it just didn’t do the job. I spent hours on the course but.. . After speaking to my brother, who used KAZ at Uni and can now type, I looked KAZ up, read the testimonials and thought… 90 minutes? I’ll prove that wrong… but I can’t believe it actually worked!    How important do you think the skill of touch typing is? If only I’d learned at school :(   What do you think of KAZ’s user interface? Easy to use and simple to navigate. I guess it needs to be if you’re going to learn quickly or in 90 minutes.   KAZ offering both a mainstream and SEN/Dyslexia editions – did this help? I only needed the mainstream version but I like the fact that they care.   What do you think of KAZ ? Really impressed with the price - cheaper than the bunch of flowers that I bought my girlfriend. (Haha!) Also, my fingers now just seem to go to the right keys without me even thinking about it. Definitely the best decision I made this year.

10/04/2019 12:19:05

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A Multi-sensory Approach can lead to ‘Accelerated Learning’

A Multi-sensory Approach can lead to ‘Accelerated Learning’   Accelerated learning is the most advanced teaching and learning method in use today. It is a 'total system' for speeding up and enhancing the learning process, whereby results improve significantly and the time taken to learn is dramatically reduced. Based on brain research, it has been proven time and again to increase learning effectiveness.   As individuals, we receive and process information in different ways, depending on our personality and our cognition. We all have our own preferred style of learning, a way of learning that suits us best and we also prefer using one or more of our senses, requiring different stimuli - be it visual, auditory or tactile.  For example, some of us will understand concepts simply through listening. Some of us, on the other hand, may prefer tracking or taking in information through our eyes (watching a video or play), whilst some of us may prefer a more ‘hands on’ approach ie. physically acting out the play. However, although we may respond well when using just a couple of our senses, we may not be processing information as well as we could be.  A multi-sensory approach, ensures that regardless of our learning preference, we are provided with a means of understanding the information. It allows us to hone in to our preferred learning style and when we do this, learning becomes more natural and because it is natural, it automatically makes learning easier and in turn, speeds up the learning process – Accelerated Learning.  Multi-sensory teaching techniques stimulate the brain in a variety of ways. Each sensory system is enhanced and therefore higher functioning. Hence, this improves essential functions of the brain such as vision, listening, movement and tactile recognition. Additionally, when the brain is stimulated in several different ways at the same time ie. Visually, auditory and tactile/physically, as with a multi-sensory approach, we tend to be more attentive, as there is less time for distraction.  Multi-sensory teaching forces several of our senses to work simultaneously and together, focusing attention, helping understanding and increasing retention of information but in a more relaxed and enjoyable way. This is why KAZ’s Touch Typing program is so effective. Its proven accelerated learning teaching method integrates music, imagery, spoken and written language, along with interactive instruction. Using a multi-sensory approach throughout, it enables the student to hone in to their preferred way of learning, engaging the major senses of sight, sound and touch simultaneously, radically enhancing memory retention and recall. Followers of Nero Linguistic Programming will recognise this.   KAZ, http://www.acceleratedlearning.com

08/04/2019 22:29:11

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The problem with Fake News and 'Trust'

The problem with Fake News and 'Trust'    Do any of the following statements appear on the websites you are browsing or looking to buy from?   'The most trusted typing tutor…' 'We never give out your details…' 'Guaranteed confidentiality…' 'The best typing tutor comparison sites…'     It’s a competitive world out there and we all want our products to sell.  New products are launched daily and everyone is fighting for market share. However, a recent phenomenon called ‘Fake News’ has brought to light bad practise happening in the world today.   Why would people do that? I remember a simpler time when we would all buy our products at a store. We actually bought the physical product, paid for it there and then and took it away with us.     So what’s changed? Well, from a shopping perspective, the Internet for the main part - the shops are still there but now struggling to cope with the choice offered by internet shopping. We don’t have to go to the high street anymore, we can browse all the shops online and make a well thought out purchase without any pressure, hard sales talk and in the comfort of our own surroundings but…take note!   The online ‘shop’ needs to keep you there! They gain your attention with the use of Google Adwords, google/yahoo/bing page 1 placement or from traditional advertising. There are no high pressure sales as such… but ease of purchase, and the use of words such as Trusted, Guaranteed are just some of the subliminal high pressure vocabulary / words used to gain trust!   As an online consumer, you need to be very aware when purchasing. Most 'bona fide’ companies will offer tech support and alternatives should you not be entirely happy. In the case of software - inevitably by you activating the software means it is non-returnable or refundable!   You must research the company, read the testimonials and look at their exposure around the world. Do they follow official government guidelines and most importantly do they publish this information on their website - which must be verifiable? If a company says they will not sell your email address… how can you guarantee that? What if your children will be using the course? Would you take the word of a stranger? Would you ever know? Do you get advertising emails appearing from out of nowhere in your inbox from companies you’ve never heard of?    Some schools use free typing tutors, where free training is provided. How can companies do this and more importantly, why would they do this for free?    Here at KAZ, we do not make empty promises or gain trust with fake news or worthless comments. We strictly follow ico.org.uk rules. Our privacy and data policy is always displayed on our website. All our testimonials and research are published on our website for all to see.   We are officially recognised as Apple and Microsoft developers and our details are published on our website for all to see and verify.   Trust should be earned and not assumed. Our products are trusted and used by governments in the UK and US, in Schools, Businesses and Homes worldwide. Check our course for yourself on the UK’s Learndirect site, on OpenSesame and on Reeds. Once a license is deleted - it really is deleted! We do not hold email addresses or client information for any reason. An email is automatically sent from our system, 15 days prior to expiry, offering the user the opportunity to extend their license.    No pressure and No hassle - KAZ -  an educational provider that is Tried and Trusted, using a method that is Proven.

15/03/2019 21:19:11

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Why the Open University chose KAZ

Why the Open University chose KAZ   Open University comments made in support of KAZ   I first came across KAZ about 7 years ago, when I was investigating "teach-yourself-touch-typing" packages. I grew up in the USA, where we were obliged to learn touch-typing in high school (before personal computers, but in order to get us ready for university courses which could REQUIRE their students to submit typewritten assignments!!). This background led to my continual astonishment and disappointment at the remarkably poor level of keyboard skills in the UK: in fact I had become convinced that this was actually holding back progress in the UK on numerous fronts. I was aware that all my Silicon Valley colleagues could touch type, and that NONE of my UK colleagues could do this.   Moreover, I had observed students on Open University courses, and to my amazement I found that when it came to some difficult computer programming exercises in a Social Science course we had developed (aimed at computer-phobes!), OU students with a secretarial background progressed much better than those with technical/scientific/programming backgrounds! The reason was that those in the latter group were wasting phenomenal amounts of time hunting and pecking at their keyboards. Then I became a School Governor at a local primary school in Milton Keynes, and observed precisely the same phenomenon. Teachers were spending hours explaining 'how to use Word' or 'how to use Excel', while the poor kids searched around the keyboard for the right keys. It was apparent to me that the essence of Word and Excel would be trivial for these kids (and certainly not worth weeks of boring lessons) if they could only master the keyboard. So, with those two user groups in mind (50-year-old Open University students and 10-year-old primary school kids) I began to scour the globe for a decent touch typing package. I have a strong background in both Cognitive Psychology and Computer Science, so consider myself a pretty tough customer to please: a winning package has to have a nice user interface, be well thought out, be pedagogically sound, be well implemented, and deliver demonstrable results in a short space of time.   Nothing fitted the bill (I evaluated about 20 packages, with different users, and with myself, including all the big famous ones), and I was about to give up and start writing my own package when my searching eventually led me to KAZ. I got hold of a copy, and found that it matched *ALL* of my very tough criteria.  The kids I was working with generally didn't want 'games', 'tricks', or 'cute digressions'. They just wanted to 'learn the keys, please', and they wanted to do it quickly. It turns out that this was equally true of the 50-year-olds.     I then deployed KAZ with some groups I was working with, and lobbied hard to get KAZ as *MANDATORY* on the school curriculum, as well as embedded in Open University courses. I argued that the productivity gain, over one's lifetime, would be so phenomenal that this would pay off handsomely. My local school started deploying KAZ, with great results (I challenge any teacher to walk around two groups of 10-year-olds, one of which can touch type and one of which cannot, and note the difference: the former is busy building web sites and writing web-newspaper articles and blogs, while the second is hunting around the keyboard in frustration to get to the next step in some chore). The Open University now also makes KAZ available to all of its students, and the testimonials that come in are a sight to behold... for many it is simply a liberating experience: now they can focus on the real task at hand instead of all that other stuff that cause such 'cognitive overload'. The other key thing about KAZ is that, aside from looking nice and being very direct and simple, it is built on very sound psychological principles: it uses a great 'mnemonic trick' that leverages people's superior mental ability when it comes to memorising big chunks of text (in this case grouping parts of the alphabet into memorable phrases). This works dramatically well! So, that about sums it up: a package that is educational sound, psychologically strong, computationally excellent, works with kids and adults, and will single-handedly have a greater impact on UK productivity than almost any other teaching software I can think of!   * Prof. Marc Eisenstadt (Chief Scientist)  * Knowledge Media Institute [http://kmi.open.ac.uk/]  * The Open University, Milton Keynes MK7 6AA, UK  * +44 (0)1908 65 3149  

03/03/2019 12:30:58

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