We were recently why was there still a need to touch type in the 21st century. It was a good question and with the advent of new technologies, such as smartphones, tablets, hybrid laptops and text to speech. Maybe there isn’t such a need for touch-typing or was there?
Hunt and Peck
The hunt and peck typing method is a very popular method to input text on the keyboard. This is where a person types but moves his fingers around the keyboard until the find the correct letters. Where a person can type sufficiently using the hunt and peck method, it is still error-prone and can reduce the efficiency of the person typing compared to a person who can touch type.
Touch typing (also called keyboarding) is typing without using the sense of sight to find the keys. Specifically, a touch typist will know their location on the keyboard through muscle memory. In today’s competitive job market, it is important for anyone applying for any job that involves the use of computers to learn to touch type. And it is not stretching it to suggest being able to type fast without looking at the keyboard is a 21st-century basic skill in computers.
Advantages of touch typing
The main advantages of touch typing are as follows:
Touch typing training can improve an individual’s typing speed and accuracy dramatically. The accepted average typing speed is 40 WPM (words per minute), professional career typists can exceed 100 WPM repeatedly and continuously (secretarial, data entry, etc.). Every individual learns at a different pace, and routine practice is required to maintain a high typing speed and accuracy.
Reduced switching of attention
A touch typist does not need to look down at the keyboard (that is obscured with fingers and maybe poorly lit) and other areas that require attention. This increases productivity and reduces the number of errors.
Overall the payback from learning how to touch type outways the inefficiency of other input methods. Once you have the skill it will stay with you for the rest of your life. So how do you start to touch-type? Why not try our seven days free trial of our typing tutor Typewiz? For more information go to www.typewiz.com
Why touch typing is beneficial for children with dyspraxia (DCD)?
Dyspraxia (DCD) is a difficulty with thinking out, planning, and carrying out sensory/motor tasks. A recent study of nearly 7,000 seven and eight-year-olds in the UK found that just under two children in every 100 may have dyspraxia. This study used strict criteria for diagnosing the condition, which may explain why other sources suggest that six or eight people in every 100 may have dyspraxia.
Dyspraxia is more common in boys and sometimes runs in families. It may also occur alongside other conditions, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder ADHD.
Dyspraxia can make the process of writing laborious and even painful. This is why touch typing (keyboarding) is so frequently recommended for those with dyspraxia. Becoming more familiar with the keyboard or learning to touch type (being able to type with multiple fingers without looking at the keyboard) can be very helpful for children.
Once students are able to touch type successfully with accuracy and speed. This can help students unlock their potential and transfer easily their ideas onto electronic format without the frustration experienced when handwriting. Creativity is unlocked and the student’s self-esteem greatly enhanced.
The keyboard has many important advantages:
It increases legibility and clarity of presentation
Increased speed of the input
Spelling – learning physical letter patterns on the keyboard can be helpful with the spelling of some words
Reduces the physical pressure and concentration of handwriting- pressing a key can be much easier than manipulating a pen or pencil
Editing work is easier
Confidence. The keyboard may allow the child to record work more independently and to produce the required work in the time allowed.
At Searsol, we have worked with children with dyspraxia to teach them how to learn to touch type. Children with dyspraxia need careful guidance and help so they can master the skills of touch typing. Searsol offers touch typing courses in our typing centres
As every parent knows it is difficult to be a teacher and parent with your child. While a parents role is to nourish, encourage and motivate your child achievements. A teachers job is to instil a routine of learning that helps a student learn their subject in the easiest way based on the student’s abilities. Where the problem arises is when you become both the teacher and the parent.
The problem is that sometimes you be in your best attention try too hard to encourage your child to learn a subject, that you become the pushy parent and your child rebels and won’t listen to you. The end result is that your child doesn’t learn and it is up not learning the subject matter that you wanted them to learn. It really depends on your relationship with your child, your teaching abilities and the child focus on success and motivation to learn a subject.
To learn touch typing requires effort and dedication. A student would need to put in the least 20 hours of solid learning before they will be able to master the keyboard. Even then their speed would be quite slow but they would be aware of the keyboard buttons and be able to select them without looking at them.
As a parent, if you want your child to learn to touch type, the options are as follows:
Hope that your school teaches touch typing as part of the computer curriculum. Most schools don’t so best check with your school on this.
Learn how to touch type at home. This is a great idea but it really depends on your child and set about a dedicated time to achieve this. A child needs to be actively monitored and ensure that correct fingers are on the home keys.
Send your child to a trained professional who has taught children how to touch type. This is really the ideal way to learn how to touch type. Your child is an environment with similar children of the age profile learning how to touch type.
Learning how to touch type does require patience, motivation and concentration but it can be learnt by anyone. We recommend the ideal start age is for a child to be the primary age group from eight onwards. If a child picks learns how to touch type before they enter secondary school then they have managed to master a major skill that will benefit them in the long run.
Learn how to Touch Type fast – 20 simple and easy tips to get you to touch-typing!
Touch typing is the ability to type without looking at the keyboard. It is a memory skill that requires practice and patience. Correct habit formation can help you learn how to touch type successfully.
Ensure that you are sitting correctly with two feet on the ground and the keyboard in alignment with your body. Sit up straight, feet to the floor, elbows at my side, eyes only on the text and never on the keyboard.
Introduce your hands to the home keys – left hand will use asdf, the right hand will use jkl;. Curve your fingers on the home keys and only ever move the finger that needs pressing on the key. The F and J keys will have a little bump on them to help you find them without looking down at the keyboard
Always return your fingers to home keys before selecting another key on the keyboard.
Try and maintain a rhythm when you are typing.
Use the thumb to press the spacebar.
Always correct errors by raising your little finger up to the backspace button
Take regular breaks when learning how to type.
Don’t use the cap locks button when trying to capitalise a letter, use the shift keys instead. There is two shift keys on a keyboard, the shift key to left operates the buttons to right and shift key to right operates the key to the left.
Take your time when learning how to type, speed will come naturally once you have memorised the keys on the keyboard.
Use a keyboard cover, to cover the keys on the keyboards. We recommend the use of speekskin cover, this is the one we use in our tying centres.
Practice at least one hour per week. Practice! Practice! Practice!
When learning how to touch type, expect typing to decrease initially compared to how you normally would touch type.
Know your keyboard. Familiarise yourself where the keys on the keyboard are by clicking on keys suggested on the typing tutor you are using. By making mistakes initially you are learning to touch type successfully in the long term.
Stretching – when you fingers get stiff. Take a rest and give them a good shake for a minute. This will help increase the blood flow into your fingers.
Accuracy – it is more important to be accurate when starting off at typing. Accuracy helps you learn the keys on the keyboard more quickly.
A key has to pressed by the same finger all the time on the keyboard.
Keep a record of your problem keys and practice correcting them.
Take breaks from typing by playing typing games.
Practice using real words and sentences, this can be used in real-life projects.
Stay motivated and enjoy as the reward from learning how to type will be the biggest skill that you ever learn.
Typewiz is a fun and interactive way to learn how to touch type.
Typewiz offers the following benefits:
It is a new fun and interactive way to learn to touch type.
Your child gets to select different avatars as they progress up the lessons.
Kids can earn coins based on their performance on the course.
Coins can then be used in our games arcade where each coin spent allows the student to access one game.
Your child can earn different word per minute badges (Bronze, Silver or Gold) as they become faster at typing.
Kids can earn lesson badges as they progress up the lessons.
3D hands with a green finger which shows the user what keyboard button to press.
Graphs of all previous percentage scores with Words Per Minute(WPM) are available to access for the student at all times.
Typewiz is a self-paced course which allows students to work at their own pace.
For more information about Typewiz, check out typing tutor at www.typewiz.com
Do you know why QWERTY keyboard has survived so long? We outline the history of keyboard layout to you.
Mechanical Typewriters: 1870’s
In 1872, Remington Company produced the first mechanical typewriter, patented by Latham Sholes. Typists soon mastered the skill to typing that they were going so fast that were jamming the typewriter keys which flew up to hit the typewriter ribbon. In the late 1870’s, instead of solving the problem of why the typewriter was jamming, Remington redesigns the keyboard layout so as to slow down the typist by introducing the QWERTY keyboard. The “improved” QWERTY layout was designed to slow down typing and prevent typewriter keys from jamming anymore by slowing down the typist.
Electric Typewriters: 1930’s – Dvorak
Electric typewriters solve the problem of the keys jamming and new keyboards layouts were introduced. In 1936, August Dvorak patented a new layout to reduce finger reach and strain by putting common letters on the home row and to avoid awkward use of key pairs to improve speed. Here’s the Dvorak keyboard:
Design criteria sound good, so what’s wrong with this keyboard? Almost all letters move from their familiar QWERTY locations. The change was too big and relearning of this new keyboard layout would have taken people a month to get familiar with the Dvorak keyboard. Hence the uptake on this new design was poor with typist preferring to stick with QWERTY keyboard for typing.
Personal Computers: 1970’s
With the introduction of the personal computer in 1970’s, there was another opportunity to change from the standard QWERTY keyboard layout. But the QWERTY keyboard remained as Computers manufactures wanted the typist to engage with the computers. To make the change over to computers less of a hassle and to reduce the learning curve, the keyboard design was not changed.
In 2006, a programmer named Shai Coleman released an alternative keyboard layout called Colemak. Just as Dvorak was a response to QWERTY’s shortcomings, Colemak addresses the failures of Dvorak but does so in a way that doesn’t alienate current QWERTY users. The intended result is a layout that aims for speed, efficiency, minimal repetitive stress injuries, and an easy learning curve for QWERTY typists.
The beauty of Colemak is that there are only 17 differences in key placement between it and QWERTY, yet those 17 differences are more than enough to create a radically improved typing environment. All other keys remain the same. As such, QWERTY users should not be afraid to learn Colemak.
Colemak eliminates virtually all cases of frequent letters in “stretched finger” locations. For example, Dvorak places ‘L’ in the QWERTY ‘P’ spot, which requires frequent stretching of the pinky. The positions of other keys have also been optimized with Colemak, such as moving the high-frequency ‘R’ and ‘I’ keys to the home row.
So should you change from QWERTY to learn a new keyboard layout?
If you spend most of your day typing on a computer, it’s worth looking into. The speed gains and injury reductions are real and they do add up over time. However, there are some things that you’ll want to keep in mind.
You’ll experience a big drop in typing speed while learning a new layout. A typical person trying to learning would need to set aside a whole month to learn a new keyboard layout. However, with the help of typing tutors such as our own Typewiz which helps you learn how to touch type in a fun and interactive way. For more details about Typewiz check out our website www.typewiz.com
Keyboard shortcuts can be an inconvenience. Due to Dvorak’s drastically different layout, shortcuts like CTRL+C (COPY), CTRL+ V (Paste) and CTRL + X (Cut) can be a pain. Colemak is less of a pain due to its similarities to QWERTY, but the differences still exist and you may find yourself frustrated from time to time when you accidentally hit the wrong shortcut keys.
Lastly, other computers will still be QWERTY. This isn’t a big deal but if you are using multiple devices it can be problematic if you switch computers a lot, or if other people use your computer it can cause problems and time delays in typing.
For me, the QWERTY keyboard is here to stay and it has been part of keyboard history and will not be changed. So it importing to learn typing on a QWERTY keyboard using a typing tutor is important. Why not book a free first session trial at our course centres where your child can learn how to touch type assisted by our trained professional tutors..
Will you stick with QWERTY or switch to an alternative? Or maybe you have already switched? Tell us what you think in the comments below!