10 Reasons why children should learn to touch type
Touch typing - the phrase seems to evoke a mental image of rows of immaculately groomed young ladies sitting and typing away at manual typewriters. Indeed, typing as an industrially useful skill was once the staple of secretaries everywhere, who invariably were females. The Second World War further reinforced this, as many women were employed at desk jobs at home while the men went off to war. However, the scenario started changing as women started moving out of secretarial positions and into other fields. Once a highly valued skill, typing today appears to be going slowly but surely out of fashion with the inexorable rise of technological marvels such as mobile internet and voice recognition. However, the real situation is not as grim. In fact, far from becoming an outdated practice, touch typing actually has the potential of becoming one of the most valued skills that a primary school child could learn. You might ask why? Here, we take a look at a few reasons why we believe every child should learn keyboarding as a basic life skill. Improves working speed: Touch typing increases speed. It teaches you to type fast and with accuracy, without looking at the keyboard between keystrokes. Constantly shifting focus between the screen and the keyboard stresses the brain, making you both inaccurate and slow, and this effect is far more pronounced in children. Even those who can type fast but cannot touch type work slower than those who do, as they still need to read the screen to identify and correct mistakes. In fact, studies have shown that children who learn touch typing take nearly half the time to complete work, compared to those who ‘hunt and peck’ at the keyboard to type. Advantage over peers: Touch typing is a life skill, and like any other skill, children who master it gain an immediate advantage over their peers who don’t. Children who know how to touch type work at nearly double the speed than the rest. A definite advantage in our opinion. Best time to learn: Touch typing is considered somewhat of a grown-up skill. However, science and research tells us that primary school children are perfectly placed to learn new skills. They have the necessary concentration span, their minds are more pliant, their hands are the correct size, and most of all children love computers! While you can always learn touch typing later in life, the more you put it off, the more bad practice you pick up. Undoing, retraining and learning new skills can be tough. Advantages in the future: With computers becoming integrated into practically every aspect of our lives, it will not be long before all exams are taken on computers. Instead of written exams, candidates will be expected to type out their answers, which is already the norm in a number of countries. Additionally, the majority of jobs today, even something as simple as maintaining records require computer literacy and skills. Emails have become the preferred mode of official communication worldwide. The advantages of touch typing should now be apparent. Learning at a young age gives children more time to practice and become proficient. Great assistive tool for dyslexic children: With neurological differences such as dyslexia and autism getting more and more positive attention, we are continually searching for ways to help children with these conditions adjust and learn, without hampering their mental or physical development. Large bodies of evidence suggests that learning how to touch type can give neurodivergent children a very distinct advantage. The British Dyslexic Association maintains that a great percentage of children with dyslexia find it easier to type than write by hand, since typing requires tactile (touch based) interaction with individual letters in a word, along with visual, providing help in managing words. Additionally, computers, unlike humans, are neither impatient nor judgmental with special needs children, automatically giving them the necessary confidence boost they need to help them learn. Learning is quick: Touch typing may seem like a complicated skill to learn but in reality, children can learn and master it very quickly. Data from multiple studies indicate that children can easily achieve speeds of up to 30 to 40 words per minute in a mere 10 weeks with just 10 to 20 minutes of daily practice. Improves quality of content: Apart from typing speed, one of the understated benefits of touch typing is that it improves the quality of work produced. Once mastered, touch typing becomes an unconscious practice, allowing attention and cognition free reign over the actual content of what is being written. Thoughts are captured, allowing time for planning, processing, composing, proof reading and editing. Reduces adverse health risks: Unlike ‘hunt and peck’ typists who u:se only one or two fingers to type, touch typists use all of their fingers. This greatly reduces the risk of Repetitive Stress Injuries (RSI), a particularly harmful condition for youngsters. Additionally, fast and accurate touch typing allows children to finish their work quickly, reducing time hunched over the keyboard and allowing more time to play. It is always essential to take intermittent breaks whilst typing. Fun factor: Learning touch typing skills does not have to take hours or be filled with boring exercises. Programs can be delivered using a multi-sensory approach and in a light hearted manner, engaging children. This makes learning fun and enjoyable, naturally speeding up the learning process. A new life-skill: Much like walking, swimming, or riding bicycles, touch typing is a skill that lasts a lifetime once mastered. It is easy for children to learn, and once muscle memory develops, it is engrained for life.
Why are Touch Typists Winners?
Technology today is progressing in leaps and bounds, and the demand for soft skills are keeping pace accordingly. One such skill is typing. Typing is a significant portion of what you do on a computer, be it composing documents, writing emails, searching for information, or compiling programs. Due to massive improvements in voice recognition technologies, the need for typing skills appears to be on the decline. However, experts indicate that no matter how it seems, typing skills are not going to become obsolete anytime soon. On the contrary, the need for fast and accurate typing is only going to increase, as access to the internet and availability of online content increases exponentially. One of the fastest typing methods even in the technology dominated era of today is touch typing. Touch typing, as the name implies, is a typing technique where keys are located and pressed on the keyboard by the sense of touch instead of by sight. Once a specifically taught and valued skill among typists and secretaries, this skill is today applicable for anyone who doesn’t want to spend hours typing simple documents. Let’s put this in perspective. If you work in front of a computer regularly, you know how long it takes you to type. Now imagine if it took you less time to type, up to half of what it currently takes, without any loss in the quality of your work! You instantly free up significant amounts of time that you can utilize elsewhere. If this scenario sounds relatable to you, then touch typing is the solution. 1. Speed: The most obvious benefit of touch typing is typing speed. While average typists type at about 10 to 20 words per minute, touch typists can comfortably type at upwards of 60 to 70 words per minute. Not having to look at the keyboard is the added advantage as not only can you concentrate fully on the screen, you can also see and rectify mistakes faster. 2. Time: Increased typing speed means it will take you less time to type. Additionally, not having to shift between the screen and the keyboard will also saves you time, as will quick error rectification. A study has revealed that touch typists can save up to 25-30% of their work time compared to those without this skill. 3. Accuracy: Touch typing focuses not just on speed, but on accuracy as well. Learning to type faster also involves learning to make less mistakes, whether syntactically or grammatically, and the confidence borne out of this improved accuracy is almost always reflected in your work. 4. Health: Typing, like any other work, is exhausting, both physically and mentally. Physically, typing usually involves you sitting in one position, bent over the keyboard for extended periods of time, spelling doom for your backbone. Mentally, a lot of energy is expended in shifting focus from the screen to the keyboard and looking for the correct keys to press. Touch typing can speed up the process, ensuring you are not sitting hunched for too long and using all fingers reduces the risk of Repetitive Stress Injuries (RSI). 5. Productivity: Touch typing massively increases productivity. Apart from the obvious, less time required to complete work due to increased typing speed, it also helps to reduce errors, improves your confidence, and increases your general sense of well- being. The above are five simple advantages enjoyed by touch typists over other typists untrained in this skill. It is indeed safe to say that touch typing is a very valuable skill to have in your repertoire, if you take the time and effort to learn it.
Home Schooling - Grade 3 to College and Career Readiness
Home Schooling - Grade 3 to College and Career Readiness http://www.corestandards.org/ We are aware that computer literacy is now a core element of K-12 education, with students expected to have mastered keyboarding skills before college. We are also aware that several of the Common Core Standards require keyboarding. KAZ’s School Edition is designed to typing skills quickly and help students meet and exceed the Common Core Standards. Whilst I won’t just regurgitate the common core requirements, which can be read by clicking on the link above, I will explain here why KAZ meets and exceeds these: 1. All students can learn typing skills together – both mainstream and SEN/Dyslexia. 2. We have Junior, Adult and Corporate editions available, taking the learning experience from 6+. 3. Our software uses a unique and proven ‘Accelerated Learning’ teaching method, which has been tried, tested and proven to teach the A-Z keys in just 90 minutes. It is based on 5 scientifically structured phrases which are protected by copyright. Incorporating both 'muscle memory' and 'brain balance', the method engages the major senses of sight, sound and touch simultaneously, radically enhancing memory retention and recall - which is why it is so effective. 4. The course is simple to navigate and designed to be used independently, with minimum teacher intervention and with the emphasis on learning quickly. All we ask is that students start at the top and work through each module in order. 5. All our learning modules are designed not to overload the working memory. They can be broken down into sessions; daily, weekly or to suit the student and their attention span. 6. All the learning modules allows learning through making mistakes. However, all testing modules will not allow progression unless the correct letter is pressed and will highlight the keys student are having difficulties with. 7. The student does not have to pass any badges or achieve any particular wpm before progressing onto the next module. This is key as this increases the learning process 10 fold. At KAZ, we place emphasis on speed and accuracy at the last stage. The learning modules are specifically designed to encourage learning, awareness of finger placement and the building of muscle memory. Speed and accuracy should always come later. 8. Our SpeedBuilder module offering 20 random phrases is designed to increase speed and accuracy with daily practice. All data is saved and progress can be monitored in the teacher’s admin panel. 9. Our courses do not contain gaming, as this has been proven to delay or extend the learning time. It is however delivered in a fun and light hearted way to encourage interaction and learning. 10. There is a short module on the importance of correct posture and RSI in today’s IT led world. Our course has been proven to encourage learning quickly and efficiently, which is why we are now getting industry recognition and becoming the preferred choice amongst teachers, SENCOs and home schoolers. https://kaz-type.com/case-study.aspx
Bell House Dyslexia Fair 2019 Roundup
At a recent event at the Bell House Dyslexia Fair, we demonstrated our software and presented to a crowded room full with teachers, SENCOs and parents. Additionally, we engaged with over 400 parents during the course of the day. We also caught up with fellow speaker, Helen Boden - CEO of the British Dyslexia Association, of which we are members and who have assured our typing course. The day and presentation re-iterated just how KAZ is successfully addressing and meeting the challenges of individuals with SEND. Parents and individuals were overwhelmed with the variety of software and support available and were reassured that it really was possible to ‘level the playing field’ for both themselves and their children. What impressed so much was: 1. The course builds self-confidence, which many children and adults lack. 2. SENCOs and teachers really liked the course layout, which allows students to learn in short sessions. 3. The course does not overload the working memory. 4. Students are not penalised for making mistakes during learning. It is understood that learning through mistakes is important, otherwise dis-interest soon follows. 5. SENCOs were really pleased that the child does not need to collect bonus points, badges or attain a particular typing speed to progress. This was outlined as a major deterrent and yet another hurdle / obstacle that the child had to contend with. 6. Only real words are used in all the learning modules and repetition of these words develops muscle memory and engrains spelling. 7. The course is delivered in a light-hearted, friendly but non childish manner. The absence of gaming was specifically applauded, as it ensured that focus was on learning typing skills. 8. Price - one of the most affordable of SEND technologies available, which will undoubtedly provide students with a portable ‘life skill’ they can take forward with them. 9. Sub-conscious touch typing as opposed to two fingered ‘hunt and pecking’ was understood. The analogy of driving all day in first or second gear, irrespective of town or motorway really hit home. Parents could not understand why touch typing is not compulsory. We have written to the Minister of Education. 10. Our ©Preference screen, minimising visual disturbance, brought aahs, wows and applause! A tutor with an OCR Level 5 Diploma in teaching learners with Dyslexia/Specific learning difficulties said that her colleague, a dyslexia expert was currently using our course in class, with huge success and was aware that it was based on neuro linguistic learning principles. A method of learning engaging sight, sound and touch simultaneously, which is why it is so effective - thank you.
Universities go back to fundamentals
Disability Services such as Inclusive Education Coordinators, Assistive Technology Specialists and Assessors continue to recommend an array of old and new assistive tools and software. Their aim is to equip neurodivergent students with the correct assistive tools to allow them to fully engage in class, whilst at university. The array of options available is vast but for neurodivergent students, those with dyslexia, dyspraxia, ADHD, ASD, Tourettes, amongst others, many universities are going back to fundamentals. Having watched a demonstration of KAZ Type’s neurodiverse typing software, which teaches typing skills whilst addressing visual disturbances, many sites, such as University College Dublin have implemented the program for the start of the new academic year. They believe that the fundamental skill of touch typing offers neurodivergent students a new and powerful medium for learning and communicating and has multiple benefits that help address many challenges: Visual Disturbances KAZ’s unique preference screen offers students a selection of preferences to choose from (specialised filters, fonts, font size and font colour). Once chosen, student’s preferences are ‘saved’ and applied throughout the course – tailor making it for optimum visibility comfort. Cognitive Limitations The program’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). In this way learning becomes more natural, making learning easier and in turn faster – ‘accelerated learning’. Difficulties with spelling KAZ’s accelerated learning teaching method incorporates ‘muscle memory’. With repetition of typing only ‘real words’, spelling and vocabulary are engrained to memory. Spellings become a series of finger movements and patterns on a keyboard, dramatically reducing the likelihood of transposing and misspelling words. The program helps train students to recognise words by sight, saving the decoding process that often causes trouble when reading. Poor and messy handwriting - (this can lead to embarrassment, frustration and anxiety). Teaching typing skills eliminates the need for neat handwriting, as touch typing automatises 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 used in exams, if students can type efficiently and subconsciously, their ‘conscious’ minds can concentrate on the question at hand, planning, creative writing, proof reading 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. Social interaction - (this can lead to anxiety and depression). Teaching typing skills enables students to communicate without the need for social interaction – reassured by the fact that computers do not have faces or emotions. Difficulties with verbal / non- verbal communication - (sometimes due to apraxia – a motor skills difficulty, affecting the ability to plan and coordinate the muscles of the mouth, throat and face. Teaching typing skills offers students an alternate form of communication. Involuntary tics - (related to the hands, fingers, wrists, arms, neck, head and eyes). Cramping in hands, poor coordination, fine and gross motor skills and physical dexterity - (this can make writing tiresome and even painful). Teaching typing skills can help reduce physical pressure, cramp and pain in hands and wrists, as pressing keys on a keyboard can be much easier compared to gripping and manipulating a pen or pencil. It also eliminates the need for accurate letter formation and spacing words on a page. Additionally, with practise and repetition, typing can enhance / develop fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination and physical dexterity, in turn helping handwriting skills. Frustration - (Abled autistic student’s minds work faster than their hands can write – this again can cause frustration with inadequacy). Teaching efficient typing skills enables students to type at speed, allowing them to keep up with their thinking. Universities are also keen for students to progress onto KAZ’s City & Guild’s Edition. This edition includes a multiple choice paper and typing test, recording speed and accuracy. On successful completion, all candidates receive a digital badge and certificate to showcase on their social media profiles, CVs and job applications.
Choosing the right software
On speaking with education and business establishments, parents and individual users, the following key messages emerged about what they looked for when buying typing software. Questions posed were as follows: What is your main criteria when looking for typing software? Does it have to be inclusive? Is security and safety important? Does pedigree play a part? Is price important? Does the course have to be accredited? Does the company having a social media presence make a difference? Do reviews, recommendations, testimonials and awards play a part? The overwhelming majority of responses are condensed below: What is your main criteria when looking for typing software? The majority of individual users, schools and businesses stressed time as being an issue, so a software that was efficient, easy to use, and rendered quick results was a must! Does it have to be inclusive? Education and business establishments preferred an inclusive product that catered for everyone, both mainstream and neurodivergent users. Firstly, it proved the more economical choice and secondly, it allowed the whole class / neurodivergent staff to use the same software, without feeling different or segregated. Individuals and parents of children with special education needs were extremely grateful for specialised assistive products. They all recognised the importance of learning to touch type. Amanda McLeod - 'Research shows that handwriting improves recall and gives learners a deeper understanding of content, but if you have any form of SEND, handwriting is too slow. You need touch typing to compensate for memory issues and slower processing.’ The Good Schools Guide - 'Touch-typing has been found to help children improve reading, writing and spellings. It can be of particular benefit for children with dyslexia who find typing easier than handwriting.' Is security important? Security of data was of upmost importance to all, whilst safety whilst using the software was paramount to schools and parents in regard to children using the course. Does pedigree play a part? A known and reputable product with good pedigree seemed to reassure clients that what they were purchasing was a safe and trusted product. Is price important? Price was obviously a factor for many but value for money and a product that taught you a ‘life skill’ easily and efficiently was preferable. With cuts in school budgets, an affordably priced product, with tutorials, comprehensive instruction and free IT support for teachers who were not all completely IT savvy was key. Does the software have to end with certification? A percentage of clients just wanted to learn how to touch type. Certification was not a must. However, higher education and business establishments preferred a software with certification from a recognised body, as they felt this recognition would help towards future careers. Does having a social media presence make a difference? Having a social media presence was preferable, as it showed the company was ‘live’, informative, assessable and open to all critique. Additionally, a small percentage only purchased after reading social media reviews. Are reviews, recommendations, testimonials and awards won important? Reviews, recommendations, testimonials and awards were of great importance to everyone we spoke to, as they were seen as insurance of the calibre of the product and highlighted the value and recognition of the software. Everyone seemed happy to purchase a product that had won awards and written about so favourably. KAZ’s mainstream and neurodiverse typing software meets all the above points.
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.
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