Expert Review on KAZ by Prof. Marc Eisenstadt (Chief Scientist) Open University

KAZ – Review by Prof. Marc Eisenstadt (Chief Scientist) I first came across KAZ some 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 [] * The Open University, Milton Keynes MK7 6AA, UK * +44 (0)1908 65 314

16/01/2020 10:57:25


How to Type Faster using a recognised Touch Typing Software

In today’s digital world, typing is a daily necessity. Do you spend a lot of time at a computer typing every day? If so, you really need to know how to use your keyboard properly. When you learn touch typing, you will type much faster, save time and be more productive. With all good software, you will learn to type without looking at the keys, as your fingers will learn the location of every key via muscle memory. There are many touch typing softwares available that can help you to learn to type faster.  However, first you must learn correct finger positioning and follow certain techniques to develop good practice. Typing speed will develop gradually once the above is learned properly. This blog outlines the guidelines to be followed in order to type faster by a leading touch typing software. Tips and Tricks to Touch Type Faster Here are some tips to get touch typing faster: Sit Straight Correct sitting posture is essential in order to type fast. Always sit straight, with your elbows bent and at the proper angle. When you face the screen, tilt your head slightly forward. Maintain at least a forty to seventy cm’s distance between your head and the screen. Make sure your arm, wrist and shoulder muscles are at comfortable positions. Do not rest on your wrists, unless using a wrist guard, as this not only causes discomfort but slows down your typing speed. Correct posture and learning to type correctly are essential to prevent repetitive strain injury (RSI).   Curve Fingers on Home Row The middle row of letter keys is called the ‘home row’ and you should always start and return to these keys. Curve your fingers slightly first and then place your left hand fingers on the A, S, D and F keys and your right hand fingers on the J, K, L and ‘;’ keys. Remember the F and J keys should be underneath your index fingers. It is easy to find these as they have a raised line or dot on them. They help you find the keys by touch, without the need to look down at the keyboard.  Press Every Key With the Correct Finger To increase your typing speed, lightly tap the keys with the correct fingers. Start typing with ‘ASDF - JKL;’ and always return your fingers to their home row positions. To learn touch typing, visualise the location of a key on your keyboard and try to maintain a rhythm, so your keystrokes occur at the same intervals. To type a capital letter, press the Shift key with your little finger that is opposite to the one hitting the letter key. To press the space bar, always use the thumb of any hand, at your convenience. Initially, you may find it difficult to follow these guidelines but persevere. With regular practice, you will learn how to type quickly and easily.  Move your Fingers Correctly Accuracy is key for fast typing. Use all fingers and thumbs as per the designated keys. Do not make up your own rules and always return your fingers to the home row. Once your fingers have been trained, the skill will automatise and you will effectively be able to ‘think-type’. Initially focus only on the hand and finger movements required to press a particular key and then build up gradually. Keeping your fingers on the home row increases speed. As your small and ring fingers are comparably underdeveloped, pay extra attention to them when practicing. It’s just like playing the piano, difficult at first but gets easier with practice.   Do Not Rush Never type in a hurry, as this will affect accuracy and lead to typing errors, which ultimately need correcting. Above all, take your time when you learn touch typing. Have patience and your speed will increase gradually with practice. Eventually, your fingers will automatically hit the right keys.   A high-quality touch typing software makes the learning process of typing much easier, faster and more convenient. If you genuinely want to type quickly, follow the above guidelines. Start practicing regularly and with correct finger positioning and posture. Once you learn how to touch type fast and with accuracy, not only will you enjoy typing but you will also save a huge amount of time. 

15/01/2020 10:43:00


Get ready, get set, goooooooo!

The KAZ Worldwide Touch typing Tournament 2020 KAZ touch typing software was designed for minimal teacher intervention. Being online, students can access the course from both school and home, allowing learning to continue beyond the classroom. The KAZ admin panel has now been further developed. It is simpler to use, fully comprehensive, yet easy to navigate.  Class lists can be uploaded in seconds and that includes emailing all students with logon details! Additionally, teachers have the ability to monitor all student progress from the comfort of their PC. Our new worldwide typing tournament was developed through requests from Head and IT teachers and designed to encourage the natural competitive spirit within students and to incentivise them to learn the skill quickly. With prizes for the winning student and school, there really is nothing to lose. The only thing we ask is that schools either have a current licence or take out a KAZ licence, in order to compete! Furthermore, teachers can now also hold their own school competition, as all data from the testing will be available in their admin panel. Students will be ranked in highest scoring order. (Please note: teachers will only have access to their own student data.) Only KAZ administrators will have access to the cumulative student data and the results of the top students will be published on our site, at the end of each month. Naturally we will display a pseudonym for the student but will display the school name. Teachers, it really couldn’t be easier. All you have to do is click the ‘Typing Tournament’ tab in your admin panel and all students already uploaded will automatically be entered. Students simply log on via the ‘cup’ on the header bar of our website or follow this link : Typing Tournament There is no limit to the number of attempts, however only the highest score will be registered in the School admin panel and KAZ Super admin panel. At the end of June, the student with the top score will receive the winner’s certificate and a free City & Guilds Licence and their school will be awarded the winners trophy, free annual renewal of their KAZ licence and lots of publicity! The advantages of learning typing skills are really too numerous to mention but in life and work the skill is invaluable. Reports, essays and emails all typed in as little as 30% of the time taken as opposed to the conventional ‘hunt and peck’ method.  Teachers, give your students a head start – Teach them to type – Make it fun – Enter the tournament!

14/01/2020 13:53:50


How to Become an Expert in Touch Typing - A Complete Guide

Typing fast is essential in order to complete your daily computer-related work quickly and efficiently, be it at home or the office. Touch typing is the skill where you learn to type without continually looking down at your keyboard, hence saving you time. To become an expert in touch typing, you need to master certain techniques. Here is a comprehensive guide to learn touch typing that will help you. Simple guidelines to learn touch typing When touch typing, you need to use all your fingers and thumbs. Every key on the keyboard is related to a specific finger or thumb. Follow these guidelines to master touch typing: Memorize the keyboard structure To learn touch typing, you need to memorize the keyboard layout. There is no need to rush, as with regular practice, muscle memory will build and you will automatically get acquainted with the correct finger positioning for each key. Remember the association of letters and fingers Once you engrain into muscle memory the letters on your keyboard which are associated with which each finger, you will be able to type quickly. A good touch typing software will show and explain this to you.      Here is a list of which fingers to use to press a specific key.   Q, A, Z, Shift, Tab and Caps Lock - Press using your left hand with the ‘pinky’ finger  W, S and X - Press by your left hand with ring finger E, D and C - Press by your left hand with the middle finger R, F, V, B, G and T - Press by your left hand with the index finger P, ; , : , ' , ""), / , ? , { } , [ ] , \ , | , Shift, Backspace, Enter - Press by your right hand with pinky finger O,l, ".", > - Press by your right hand with ring finger  I, K, ", ", < - Press by your right hand with the middle finger U, J, N, M, H, and Y - Press by your right hand with the index finger Space Bar - Press by your right or left thumb   Place your fingers correctly on the ‘home keys’ on your keyboard     The starting position of your hands and fingers, when getting ready to touch type, is called the ‘home position’ and the keys are called the ‘home keys’. Below explains exactly where you should place your fingers on the keyboard. Left-Hand Positioning Position your little finger on ‘A’, ring finger on  ‘S’, middle finger on ‘D’ and index finger on ‘ F’.   Right Hand Positioning Place your little finger on ‘;’, ring finger on ‘L’, middle finger on ‘K’ and index finger on ‘J’   Remember the keys     Remembering the keys is quite easy if you are aware of the following points:   QWERTY - All keyboards have a similar design, known as the QWERTY layout. A smartphone’s touch keys also have the QWERTY pattern   F and J Indicators - All keyboards have raised markers on the F and J keys in order to help you place your index fingers, followed by the rest of your fingers on the ‘home keys’, without looking at the keyboard. Simply position the fingers of your right hand on J, K, L and ‘;’ and the fingers of your left hand on F, D, S and A   By following the above guidelines, you will gradually become a touch typing expert. However, if you would like more guidance, a touch typing tutorial will help. The advanced lessons, combined with regular practice will add structure, improve your speed and accuracy and make you adept in touch typing.  

13/01/2020 06:06:00


How Businesses Can Benefit from Using Touch Typing Software?

The majority of businesses now use computers in some capacity, either in operations and/or maintenance. As a consequence, computer skills and software knowledge are becoming essential. One of these skills is touch typing, understated and often overlooked.   What is touch typing ?  This is a typing technique where keys are identified on the keyboard by the sense of touch, rather than sight and involves the use of all fingers and thumbs of both hands. The orthodox ‘hunt and peck’ typing method involves visually seeking the keys, and then using typically one or two fingers to type them. Touch typing has numerous advantages over ‘hunt and peck' typing and there are numerous softwares and websites teaching this skill.For business organizations,investing in a good touch typing software can be so beneficial for staff and more importantly your company:   Speed: Touch typists can reach typing speeds in excess of 70 words per minute, while hunt and peck typists will struggle to reach 30! This huge difference speaks for itself, in regard to the benefits of touch typing. From daily routines in business operations to those all important email communications with clients, everything gets done much faster, if you can type quickly. Writing information and taking notes are also easier, as the need to keep alternating between the screen and keyboard is eliminated. Accuracy: No matter how fast you type, accuracy whilst typing is essential. Making mistakes whilst typing, not only takes up valuable time with correcting but if un-checked, renders documents error strewn and in some cases, un-readable. Accuracy is the second most important part of learning touch typing skills and what all good research based software will teach you. Finally, speed should always come last, as this develops with practice. Fatigue: In business, touch typing can greatly reduce both mental and physical fatigue. Learning the skill negates the constant shift of focus and attention between keyboard and screen. As the skill is automated, there is no need to search for the keys, so focus can remain on the task at hand and on what you actually want to type. With correct posture, physical fatigue is also reduced, as the body is aligned correctly and not hunched or bent over the keyboard. Health: Touch typing is also better for health. Sitting with correct posture whilst typing, as opposed to hunched over the keyboard, avoids straining the hands, wrists, neck, back and spine. Hunt and peck typists are at risk of developing Repetitive Strain Injury as opposed to trained touch typists. Focus: Orthodox ‘hunt and peck' typists’ attention is split into two parts: having to first think about the response and then searching for the correct keys to press. This is inefficient, time consuming and spells delays, inefficiency and reduced productivity for businesses, especially if dealing with time sensitive information. Touch typing develops muscle memory to the point where it is no longer necessary to think about where the keys are located, as fingers move automatically to the desired keys. This is termed, ’think-type’ and allows you to maintain complete focus on the minute details of your response. Editing: Apart from teaching accuracy, touch typing allows you to edit mistakes as soon as they appear on the screen, as with automation, the cognitive mind knows immediately when a mistake has been made. ‘Hunt and peck’ typists usually only notice mistakes much later, as their concentration is on writing the word and searching for the correct key to press. The need to return to make corrections is both tedious and time consuming. Additionally, not just required when proofreading but typing grammatically correct sentences is essential when presenting proposals or writing emails to clients.   Even though individuals may have confidence in their ‘hunt and peck’ typing skills, learning how to touch type correctly, using an approved and effective touch typing software for your business is essential. The points above highlight the benefits, even to the skeptics who may feel the effort required may outweigh the benefits or just seem not worthwhile. However, as the above benefits clearly explain, touch typing is by far superior to hunt and peck typing. It may appear difficult to learn but with a bit of patience and practice it will help elevate your business to a much higher, more efficient, productive and profitable level.  

03/01/2020 07:28:45


From Typewriters to Cellphones: The History and Evolution of the Keyboard

The ease of mass producing textual material (books) brought on by the invention of the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg in 1440, triggered the need for introducing similar ease and efficiency in the production of written text but on a smaller scale. Enter, the keyboard: a mechanical arrangement of all the letters of the alphabet on a single device which could be used to write with far greater ease and efficiency than by hand.   The keyboard was originally used in the typewriter, one of the most revolutionary inventions of the 19th century. Since the commercial introduction of the typewriter, the keyboard has undergone major changes to the digital keypad format we see today.    What has the evolution of this rather understated invention been like and what changes has it undergone through time?   Let’s follow the keyboard journey, as it evolves from the mechanical typewriter to the ubiquitous computer accessory, right up to the digital touchpad we see in almost every mobile device around us:   Early Typing Devices:   1575: Francesco Rampazetto, an Italian employee of a printing press is credited with designing the first ever mechanical device, to impress letters on paper but on a scale smaller than the printing press. This machine is considered to be the first ever typewriter.   1714: Henry Mill, an English inventor, patented his design of a typewriter. Although there is no record of the machine being built, his was the first typewriter design that was patented for commercial purposes.   1802: Again from Italy, Agostino Fantoni designed his own special typewriter for his sister who was blind.   1808: Pellegrino Turri invented the office staple: carbon paper, and thereafter used it in his own typewriting device.   1829: William Austin Burt, an American inventor, designed and patented his own typing device and called it a Typographer. It was a rectangular box mounted on legs and used rotating levers for making impressions of the letters on paper. It drew some attention but soon discarded as a novelty as it was even slower than writing by hand, and therefore impractical.   Fig: Typographer by William Burt   1855: Giuseppe Ravizza, another Italian inventor, designed a compact typing device. The speciality of his design was that it allowed typists to actually see the workings of the machine,when typing.   Fig: Ravizza typewriter   1865: Just ten years later, an American by the name of John Pratt, built his own design of typewritercalling it the Pterotype.   Fig: Pterotype by John Pratt   Apart from these, there were a number of other typewriter models designed in Europe and America. However, none of them were commercially manufactured on a mass scale and allmaintained the traditional arrangement of the alphabet from A-Z on the keys.   Commercial Typewriters:   1865: The first commercially manufactured typewriter was designed by Reverend Rasmus Malling-Hansen and was called the Hansen Writing Ball. It was the first typewriter design that tried to speed up typing by using its own letter arrangement on a hemispherical keyboard. A cylinder rotated under the writing head, and letters were impressed on the paper attached to the cylinder.    Fig: Hansen Typing Ball   Even though the Hansen Writing Ball was commercially manufactured, it did not gain popularity due to the impractical keyboard design, and was very quickly replaced.   1867: The first typewriter design that achieved commercial success was the model developed by Christopher Latham Sholes, Frank Haven Hall, Carlos Glidden, and Samuel W. Soule. Commonly called the Sholes-Glidden Typewriter, it was the first device to use the QWERTY key layout which is the ubiquitously used keyboard layout we see today. The machine was similar to a sewing machine in appearance but could only type lower case characters.   Fig: Sholes Glidden Typewriter   First manufactured on 1st March, 1873, Sholes manufactured a total of 50 machines independently but was unable to produce any more. As a result, he sold the rights of production in the same year to the popular gun manufacturer, Philo Remington. The following year, 1874, saw the release of the Remington Typewriter, which instantly became a huge success. The celebrated author, Mark Twain purchased one in 1874 and became the first author to submit a typed manuscript. He was soon joined by stalwarts like Ernest Hemingway, Rudyard Kipling, George Bernard Shaw, and Ian Fleming, making the typewriter almost symbolic of certain types of authors.   Fig: Remington Model 1   The first Remington model could only type characters in a single case but in 1878, the Remington No. 2 was launched and featured both lower and upper case characters.   1880: A smaller and more compact typewriter called Index Typewriter was commercially manufactured. It was smaller, lighter, and more portable than the Sholes design. However, although cheaper, it was not marketed properly and soon became obsolete.   Fig: Index Typewriter   1890s: In this decade, John Thomas Underwood, a competitor of Remington, purchased the production rights for a practical “front stroke” typewriter designed by inventor Franz Xavier Wagner. In 1897, 250 units of the Underwood Typewriter were ordered by the US Navy, firmly establishing it in the marketplace.   Fig: Underwood typewriter   Electric Typewriters:   1892: Modern technology brought in modern designs for the typewriter and the keyboard. The first electric typewriter was designed by Dr. Thaddeus Cahill and was patented in 1896. In his machine, Dr. Cahill used two individual keyboards for his entire set.   Fig: Dr. Thaddeus Cahill electric typewriter   1902: An electric typewriter was patented by the Blickensderfer Manufacturing Company but due to its impractical design, failed to gain traction.   Fig: Blickensderfer typewriter   1910: Charles L. Krum and Howard Krum jointly designed the first electric typewriter that achieved massive commercial success. It was called the Morkrum Printing Telegraph. It utilized a wheel for making impressions on paper and was eventually used to send telegrams, as a teletypewriter.   Fig: Morkrum Electric typewriter   1920: American inventor, James Fields Smathers designed an electric powered typewriter which,after several design modifications, was launched successfully. The rights of this device were sold to the Northeast Electric Company in 1923. They further modified the design and came up with the highly successful Remington Electric model in 1925.   1928: The Northeast Electric Company was taken over by General Motors and the Electromatic Typewriter Inc. was created. Their first model was launched in 1929.    Fig: Electromatic Typewriter   1933: Typewriters and keyboards underwent a phase shift as tech giant, International Business Machines (IBM) entered the fray. IBM acquired Electromatic Typewriters Inc. and redesigned the basic typewriter. With a huge investment of 1 million US dollars, the IBM Electric Typewriter Model 01 was launched in 1935. It saw great success and IBM subsequently launched the Model 04 in 1941 with advanced features.   Fig: IBM Electromatic   1936: August Dvorak and William Dealy came up with a unique keyboard layout. They claimed that the newly patented Dvorak layout was more ergonomic and easier to type on than the now standard QWERTY layout. Several additional keyboard layouts have been designed since but the QWERTY remains the most popular choice with the Dvorak, a close second.   Fig: QWERTY keyboard layout   Fig: Dvorak keyboard layout   1946: A computer called ENIAC used the keyboard to record data on magnetic tapes and with the 1948 BINAC, became one of the first devices to use a separate dedicated keyboard.   1961: IBM introduced a completely innovative design with the IBM Selectric typewriter. It used a replaceable type ball to impress letters on paper. It was fast, jam free and novel.   Fig: IBM Selectric Typewriter   1964: This year brought another major phase shift in keyboards as MIT, Bell Laboratories, and General Electric engaged in a collaborative project. They created a multi user computer system based on time sharing, called Multics. Multics allowed the creation of a novel user interface in terms of typing, called the Video Display Terminal (VDT), often credited to be the first dedicated computer monitor. VDT used cathode ray tube technology, the same technology as used in televisions. They integrated it in to their keyboard for the first time in history allowing typists to view what they written on screen prior to printing on paper. This technology became the basis for the development of electronic keyboards for the computers we see today.   1973: IBM first introduced two-colour interchangeable cartridges in their typewriters.   Hybrid typewriters:   1970s: IBM and other typewriter manufacturers started developing a hybrid version of the keyboard, modifying the input (key presses) and output (typed characters) sequence of keyboards. These devices printed characters using the dot-matrix method and could correct mistakes, upto a certain extent.   Electronic typewriters:   1981: The Xerox Corporation produced the latest keyboard for typing. This highly advanced typewriter was not a fully- fledged computer but featured a dedicated processor and RAM, an external memory storage, and an LCD display of a single line, similar to calculators. Soon, other companies like Canon, Phillips, Smith-Corona, and Brother Industries Ltd. released their own variants of the electronic typewriter. By the late 1970s and the 1980s, electronic impulse based keyboards became standard devices.   Fig: Xerox Electronic typewriter   Handheld devices:    1991: Hewlett-Packard introduced the first handheld device, the HP95LX - signalling the conversion of the keyboard to keypad. It featured a full QWERTY keypad for entering data, along with a display. With its unique clamshell design and compact handheld form factor, this device became one of the first Personal Data Assistants (PDA). PDAs soon gave way to more mobile computing solutions such as laptops and smartphones.   Fig: HP95LX   2000s: Smartphones began gaining popularity due to the Blackberry and featured a full QWERTY keypad. By the mid - 2000s, almost all smartphones featured the integrated QWERTY keypad but by the end of the decade, phone manufacturers started shifting away from physical keypads to digital ones and these digital QWERTY touch-keypads began to rise in popularity.   Fig: Blackberry phones   2006: LG announced the release of LG Prada, the first smartphone to feature a capacitive touch-keypad. This soon became the standard text entry method for touch based mobile devices and today almost all devices use these type of digital touchpads.   Fig: Common smartphone soft touch-keypad   Summing up: As computers gained popularity, keyboards and printers emerged from typewriters becoming separate input and output devices respectively. Typing technology advanced from the mechanical impressing of characters on paper to the sending of small electrical impulses to a computer, which translates these signals into the visible characters we seen on screen and then printing these characters to paper, if we need. Technology hasadvanced to the extent that digital touchpads are standard on all touchscreen mobile devices.  

23/12/2019 12:09:19


How effective touch typing improves productivity and employment prospects

How effective touch typing improves productivity and employment prospects   Unsurprisingly this millennium will always be significant for huge technological advancements, the trajectory of which will continue as we strive to reduce both labour costs and physical effort.   Touch typing is a method of typing that obviates the use of sight to recognise keys on a keyboard. It is revolutionary in that the method enables the typist to find the key locations based on muscle memory, gained through repetitive practice. Frank Edward Mccgurin a stenographer from Salt Lake City, Utah experimented and showed in 1888, how home row touch typing worked. The method was later modified.   Touch typing builds this crucial skill set which is especially useful to those typing on a regular basis or needing extra speed to meet additional workloads  Touch typing can enhance typing accuracy and individual typing efficiency Touch typing can easily be learned using proven and effective online touch typing lessons Proven touch typing lessons and exercises can dramatically increase speed   The NEED to INCREASE SPEED : Touch typing has been proven to efficiently increase typing speeds dramatically. Typing speeds of 30-40 words per minute can be increased to 75-80 words per minute after touch typing with exercise, learned from online touch typing lessons. Not looking at the keyboard whilst typing can effectively save 40% of time spent at a computer, automatically increasing the word per minute count.   ACCURACY  SAVES TIME :                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    It is through the repetitive action of touch typing with exercise that typing accuracy improves. Accuracy makes the task at hand much easier and quicker. Is there any point investing your time in writing content with incorrect spellings or grammar?  Fact: If the work you have produced cannot be easily read, the writing will often be discarded by the reviewer. So start practicing but learn properly so practise is effective and worthwhile.   FATIGUE  and RSI Fatigue and RSI are inevitable by-products associated with incorrect posture and bad typing technique. It occurs by constantly looking up and down from keyboard to screen and using incorrect fingers that ‘punch’ or ‘peck’ at the keyboard. This is especially true for those that repeat the same task a multitude of times. Touch typing significantly reduces both mental and physical stress and reduces the chances of RSI. Focus is firmly concentrated on creating content and not broken or distracted by searching or ‘hunt and pecking’ for the keys.   JOB READY  Recruitment agencies such as are now specifying typing skills as a requirement in many job applications and in some cases request candidates to take a typing test. Touch typing is an obvious skill, like speaking english fluently or learning effective communication skills and should not be regarded as optional.   Fact: Demand for a trained typist is likely to be far higher than for an untrained one. As stated by Hannah Jones, “…Being able to touch-type at very fast speeds has served me well in life! I had to take a typing test as part of a job application and the administrator made me take it a second time because he didn't believe I was really typing that fast! I was typing at around 120wpm and he said he had never seen anybody do more than 100. All thanks to KAZ!   Hannah Jones - 08/11/2019   It is never too late to learn this skill in and with KAZ in as little as just 90 minutes.

20/12/2019 14:18:48


Keyboards: A Comprehensive Guide

The keyboard is perhaps one of the most important human inventions in the field of written text since the printing press. Starting its journey as the typewriter, the keyboard has progressed to be the most ubiquitous of accessories with computers today. Being able to use the keyboard efficiently to write (type) quickly and accurately was once an incredibly valuable skill. In reality, demand hasn’t diminished, even with the relentless onslaught of advanced technology such as voice recognition software. Additionally, as our interaction with the digital world increases, so does our need to use the keyboard and the necessity to use it efficiently.   “Necessity is the mother of invention” and it is the necessity for fast and efficient typing that led to the invention of touch typing. Touch typing refers to the skill of using all fingers and thumbs, of both hands, to identify the keys on the keyboard by the sense of touch rather than physically looking or actively searching for the keys to press. This ability of not needing to look at the keyboard between key strokes allows for greatly improved speed and accuracy. Experienced touch typists are known to reach speeds in excess of 120 words per minute. If you are a writer, student, programmer, a working professional using a computer on a regular basis then touch typing is an essential and invaluable skill to master.   With proper instruction, a little effort and determination, skills are amplified with touch typing practice over time.   As is human nature, the need to write even faster, with more efficiency, will always remain. Researchers have always returned to the physical aspect of the keyboard itself: the layout. Over the course of history, people have tried various different designs and arrangements of keys with varying levels of success. Even today, there are remnants of both successful and obsolete keyboards and layouts.   Different keyboard layouts suit different styles and tastes. We are all individuals, so it is hardly surprising that we each have our own views or perhaps just the desire to stand out from the crowd! However what is true is that the majority of us will base our choice on availability and ease of purchase, whilst only some of us will base our choice on research. In an ideal world and to truly master touch typing, we should all take the time to understand the different types of keyboards available, especially true, if we are to venture outside of the ‘industry standard’.   A short overview on the various keyboard types available to learn to touch type.     QWERTY:   The QWERTY layout is the most commonly available and widely used keyboard layout, worldwide. Used for Latin script based alphabets / languages, its name is derived from the first six letters beginning on the left on the top row of the keyboard. Designed and created by Christopher Latham Sholes in 1873 for the Sholes and Glidden typewriter. The layout achieved immense popularity with the hugely successful Remington No. 2 in 1878 and has acquired universal recognition ever since. Almost all commercially available keyboards since have followed the QWERTY layout, with keyboards today using a slightly modified version of the original Sholes design.   The alphabet is arranged across three rows. The top or upper row, the middle (home) row and the bottom (lower) row. As a touch typist, the home row is where you should rest your fingers, when not pressing any keys. Since the layout was designed for typewriters, non-character keys were added to make it the universal design we see today.   Keyboards also come in various guises; black letters on white keys, white letters on black keys, large/small keys and sometimes with inbuilt colour coded keys!   Fun fact: The characters of “TYPEWRITER” are all located on the top row of the QWERTY layout.   Dvorak   Designed and patented after extensive research by August Dvorak and William Dealy in 1936, the Dvorak keyboard is widely considered to be more ergonomic and easier to use than the more conventional QWERTY layout. It purportedly leads to faster, easier typing as well as reducing the risk of RSI. Proponents of Dvorak thus claim it to be better than QWERTY and even though these claims are controversial, the ergonomics and ease of typing using this layout is undeniable. This is especially true for touch typists as far less complicated finger placements are used as opposed to the QWERTY layout.   Dvorak never replaced QWERTY but is popular enough to have typing support in all major operating systems and keyboards. It has it’s own ‘cult’ following and is popular amongst particular groups of typists.   Colemak   The Colemak keyboard layout is a very recent invention. Built in 2006 by Shai Coleman, the Colemak keyboard layout was designed to retain the best of both QWERTY and Dvorak layouts. The layout is designed scientifically to type fast in English, with the most commonly used letters placed on the home row. The Colemak layout is claimed to be more than twice as fast as the QWERTY layout.   QWERTZ   The QWERTZ keyboard layout is used in central Europe, mainly in Germany and differs from the QWERTY layout with the position of the Y and Z letters inter-changed. This enables the ease of typing in German as the Z is far more common than Y. Additionally, the letters T and Z often appear together in German orthography.   AZERTY   The AZERTY layout was designed in the late 19th century. It was primarily intended for the French language as a replacement for the QWERTY layout and follows the same naming convention. Variants of AZERTY are also quite common and to prevent confusion, the French government standardised the AZERTY layout to the one we see in use today.   HCESAR   The HCESAR keyboard layout was created by a decree in 1937 under the then prime minister of Portugal, Antonio Salazar. Although designed to make it easier to type in Portuguese, it was not particularly user friendly and was soon replaced by the regular QWERTY layout. Today it is sadly obsolete.   These are just some of the most popular variants of the standard keyboard layout. You may be more suited to one or other depending on your language and / or location but learning time aside, all will require regular practice in mastering the skill of touch typing!  

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