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
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
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