At KAZ we know the benefits of digital badging and in 2019 we were delighted to receive approval for our online touch typing course and become City & Guilds Assured.
Digital badges provide a flexibility that the GCSE and A level exam boards can only dream of. This benefits education, students and companies.
One of our key audiences is home learners and they took a real hammering on the exam front last summer as the government decided that ‘not all external candidates were able to be awarded a grade this summer because some will not have been in a position to provide sufficient evidence to enable their exam centre to include them in their centre assessment grades and rankings.’
Some estimates indicated that over 20,000 students were affected and unable to move on to college or university or to certain careers.
Contrast this with digital exams, taken online at the end of a course or module by everyone, whether they are studying at school, college, in a workplace or at home.
We were interested to see an article in FE News from the Fashion Retail Academy that claimed they had witnessed a 135% rise in students signing up for a fast track career entry.
They feel that after lockdowns and the uncertainty of the last year, some students are unwilling to enter into long term commitments and want short periods of study that will produce quick results and give them a head start when applying for jobs.
Increasingly, we are getting requests from people who are looking to change their job, moving from catering or retail into a job with more of an IT focus or young people who want to provide evidence of efficient keyboarding skills alongside vocational qualifications.
Digital badges recognise skills and experience and offer so many advantages to students, apprentices, career changers and young people looking for their first job.
They recognise individuals’ skills and talents
They are a digital showcase for individual skills
The secure online system keeps everything in a safe place
The badge can be verified online straightaway
Potential employers or colleges can see how the candidate proved their skills and who endorsed it
The badges can be added to CVs and shared via social media, especially useful now that 92% of recruiters are using social media to identify the right candidate
We have seen how young people are turned off by schoolwork and are reportedly less engaged now that public exams are not going ahead in their usual format this summer.
Most people like to have their achievements recognised. Badges are a simple way for individuals to showcase their achievements, and for prospective employers to verify them.
This is an attractive modern solution to awarding qualifications and is so much more flexible than the current unwieldy exam system that it is hard to see why the government is not encouraging more widespread use.
‘Which? Magazine has been championing the cause for consumers since 1957. They are the UK’s best selling monthly magazine, trusted by more than 600,000 subscribers. Today, they have more than 1.3m members and supporters, making them the largest independent consumer body in the UK.
Their magazinesgive a wealth of expert advice and information on a vast range of everyday products and services. From the latest test results to in-depth surveys and investigations, each month, Which? gives impartial advice and recommendations, the best deals and keeps you on top of consumer news.
The unique thing about Which? is that they are completely independent. They have no owners, shareholders or government departments to answer to and you’ll never see an advert in their magazines or on their websites.
Their commitment to providing unbiased advice to consumers is at the heart of everything they do. This means they work entirely on behalf of you, the consumer, and nobody else – so you can rest assured that you’re getting the very best advice available.’ (Which Magazine – February 2020)
It is for this reason that we are thrilled that Which? has recommended all KAZ typing editions (Corporate, Adult, Junior and Dyslexia).
‘To get the maximum benefits from a keyboard, you need to be able to touch – type. Learning how to do this is made easier by programs such as KAZ (Keyboard A–Z), which claims to deliver benefits in just 90 minutes. KAZ has Corporate, Adult, Junior and Dyslexia editions…’ (Which Magazine – February 2020)
‘Touch-typing really does save you time… and you are never too old to learn.’
With so many of us now working from home, there is a constant need and expectation to work harder, faster and smarter, coupled with the anxiety to justify our productivity.
Had you ever looked around the office, watched your colleagues and thought that you really needed to type faster, or at least type as fast as some of your peers? Surprisingly, in these days of IT, computer and office-based working, 70% of office workers still do not type efficiently.*
So what’s the simplest and easiest way to work faster? Well, if you spend a lot of time at the computer, you need to work out approximately how many hours a day you spend there and aim to reduce that time, with the proviso you get the same amount of work done. An easy and free way to check your typing proficiency is to follow the flowchart above.
Take a free typing test on our site. Check your typing wpm score and find out if you are typing efficiently.
What do we mean by efficiently?
We mean quick, accurate typing, using all fingers and thumbs, whilst looking ahead at the screen and not constantly glancing down at the keyboard… back up to the screen… back down to the keyboard etc.
Why is this so important? Because when you touch type properly, the skill is automatised, enabling you to multi-task and think as you type. Productivity goes through the roof because there is little or no time spent searching for keys or correcting errors. Emphasis and focus are on creating and writing content quickly and efficiently.
Think of it as learning to drive a car. At first, we all need instruction, followed by practice, then finally, a test. Driving is a skill which is learned. Similarly, with typing, how are we expected to type efficiently, if we are not taught? One main reason is that we are generally too busy and have little time to set aside to learn this skill. Alternatively, it could be due to a mental block from poor typing courses taken in our past, filled with painful thoughts of boredom, repeatedly typing the same phrases and exercises over and over again. Or it could simply be that we never realised just how much time learning to type could save us throughout our daily and working lives.
Free up to 30% of your day!
Did you know that by learning to type you could free up to 30% of your day? If you don’t believe this statement, use our free ROI calculator and find out just how much time you could save annually. Click the link and scroll down the page.
Additionally, if you enter your hourly rate, you’ll find out how much money you could save your employer by learning to type efficiently. If you’re self-employed, that’s either wasted time or more billing time – you decide!
This is possibly a wake-up call and will help you understand why many employers and recruitment agencies now insist on candidates sitting a typing testbefore being considered or recommended for a position. The crazy thing is, typing as a skill is so easy to learn if taught correctly.
There is a reason why our course is used by both the UK and US governments, the MOD, the NHS, the police, businesses and schools worldwide.
We are still the only typing course available on the UK’s Learndirect and the US’s OpenSesame learning portals.
We don’t want to train you if you’re not going to benefit from our course. Why? We have a reputation to protect. Millions of people around the world have used, benefitted from and recommend KAZ. Our ethos is clear and our testimonials and partners are proof of our method working.
Yes, we charge for our course but this is for a reason. Our research has proven that pop-ups, advertising, gaming, videos and extensive modules all simply delay or extend the learning process. These are just methods used to monetise training or to harvest data. We don’t do that. We are governed by ico.org.uk rules and fiercely protect our client’s data.
Our course and trademarked teaching method were designed to teach you to type quickly and with minimal fuss. Few of us have the time to waste trailing alternatives and wasting precious time. Our course costs just £/$24.99 – that’s all. No recurring fees, just a fair price for a ‘skill for life’.
How much time will you save by learning to type?
The average person will save $/£3000 per annum X 30 years = $/£90,000 or more importantly, 300 hours per annum = 340 days over 30 years, which is almost one year of your life!
Tried, tested and proven!
No games or videos but a method that works and promises to get you going in just 90 minutes**
No hard-sell tactics, just a proven method that was tried, tested and proven by the Open University, who were so impressed, that they wrote a white paper on its effectiveness and deployed the course to all their 90,000+ students for over 14 years.***
* KAZ’s free typing test – from over 3000 tests taken, 70% show an average score of just 17.2wpm.
** Our tests and surveys have shown that the majority of users complete the a-z keys in just 90 minutes. However, this is not guaranteed and some individuals may take longer. KAZ is structured so that the individuals can work at their own pace. Allow an average of 4 hours plus practice time to complete the entire course covering the rest of the keyboard.
*** Open University – white paper available on our website.
Learn to type faster and increase your employability
In today’s high tech world, it is hard to find an education, business or commercial environment without a computer or laptop. Typing ‘machines’ are everywhere and many now consider the skill of typing is as important as writing!
Being able to type fast and efficiently gives you positive advantages at school, in further education and the workplace. However, if you want to become an expert typist, increase your productivity, be able to multi-task, stand out from your peers/colleagues and increase your career prospects in a competitive workplace, learning to type will not be enough. You need to learn to touch type.
What’s the difference?
Well, when you type with just two or a few fingers, although you may be fairly fast, you use your conscious mind. You think as you do. This adds additional mental load, does not allow you to type to your full capacity and makes it harder to multi-task.
However, when you touch type with all your fingers and thumbs, the process becomes automated and transfers to your subconscious, freeing your conscious mind to concentrate on the task at hand. It also increases productivity and enables you to multitask. With practice, muscle memory is built and your fingers instinctively reach for the right keys. This automatic response is what allows you to type faster.
What is the fastest typing speed?
Using the English language, the world’s fastest typist, Barbara Blackburn, typed at 216WPM at her peak in 2005. She typed on a Dvorak keyboard, a keyboard specially designed to reduce finger movement.
What is the average accuracy and WPM?
The average typing speed can vary dramatically from one course provider to another. This is because there is no authoritative industry standard. However, the Royal Signals, a division of the Royal Army and our research findings, whilst testing our teaching method on over 18,000 individuals per year for three years, suggest that 35WPM is the point when automaticity takes over, when typing with all fingers and thumbs. If you would like to improve your typing speed and achieve 35WPM, or if you want to exceed it and become an expert typist, try following the guidelines below.
Why are you a slow typist?
There are several reasons why you may be a slow typist:
You may be typing with incorrect ergonomics
You may be using the wrong typing technique
You may not be practising enough
How to improve a slow typing speed
Ergonomics is a science concerned with the design or arrangement of your workplace, equipment, furniture and systems. Good ergonomics will enhance your comfort, safety, efficiency and productivity. So, ensuring a good workplace setup and correct posture whilst sitting at the keyboard will help with your speed and efficiency when typing
Familiarising yourself with your keyboard structure and layout will also help your typing speed. There is no need to rush. With regular practice, muscle memory will build and you will quickly get acquainted with the layout
The starting position for your fingers when getting ready to touch type or when they are at rest and not typing is called the ‘home position’. The keys you place your fingers on are called the ‘home keys’. The ‘home position’ is situated on the middle row of your keyboard, as highlighted below. Using the home position when you are typing will allow your fingers to move to the correct keys more easily, hence increasing your typing speed
You must correct any bad habits you may have developed. When teaching ourselves to type, we often develop our own style of typing, normally using just our index fingers. This is known as the ‘hunt and peck’ method, where we look for keys one at a time and then press each key individually. This constant searching and pressing of individual keys, looking up at the screen and then back down at the keyboard is what slows our typing speed. In order to increase your typing speed, you need to stop ‘hunt and pecking’ and learn how to touch type (the ability to type subconsciously, using all your fingers and thumbs and without looking down at the keyboard)
How to turn a good typing speed into a fast typing speed
Different typing software use different teaching methods and all have different opinions on what a fast or very fast typing speed is. At KAZ Type, we deem 50WPM, using all your fingers and thumbs as fast
However, to elevate yourself from an average typist to a fast typist you need to master the skill of touch typing. As mentioned above, touch typing is the method where you use muscle memory and not the sense of sight to find the keys. Certain fingers are responsible for pressing certain keys and with practice, muscle memory is built and fingers instinctively and automatically reach for the correct keys. This automaticity is what elevates your typing speed, as the need to look from keyboard to screen is completely eliminated. You simply think the word and it appears on the screen. A phrase known as ‘think type’.
KAZ’s proven Accelerated Learning teaching method will teach you the position of the a-z keys in just 90 minutes. Incorporating ‘brain balance’ the method will train your fingers to work symmetrically and simultaneously, a direct result of both hemispheres of the brain working at the same time. No other typing software works in this way. With additional typing exercises, muscle memory and automaticity are also build and you will notice a distinct increase in your typing speed
From ‘fast’ to ‘exceptional’
If you’ve followed all the guidelines above, transitioning from a fast to an exceptionally fast typist is down to one simple thing – practice. As the saying goes, ‘practice makes perfect’. However, to become an exceptionally fast typist, accuracy is key. There’s no point typing exceptionally fast if your text is littered with mistakes. KAZ’s SpeedBuilder module will allow you to build both your speed and accuracy simultaneously. Regular practice will increase your WPM with minimal errors and excel your typing to the next level.
Once you have achieved the WPM you want, take KAZ’s City & Guilds Assured typing test. On successful completion, you will be awarded a digital certificate and badge to showcase on you social media profiles, CVs and job applications by a globally recognised body.
Greensboro Day School have been using KAZ for several years. 100% of students, grades 4-12, use laptops throughout the curriculum.
Q. How did you hear about KAZ?
A. A former colleague recommended it.
Q. How important do you think the skill of touch typing is for students in today’s world?
A. I think being able to type relatively quickly and accurately is very important to succeed in school and business.
Q. How have you implemented KAZ into your time table/learning?
A. I dedicate several lesson sessions to teaching the students how to use KAZ, then monitor their progress. I assign independent practice based on their WPM and Accuracy scores from Speedbuilder tests.
Q. What do you think of KAZ’s admin panel and recording of student progress?
A. I like being able to see their latest WPM/Accuracy, though I wish it would qualify if the Speedbuilder taken was a “just the a-z” or “and the rest” keys.
KAZ:We are looking into this.
Q. KAZ offering both a mainstream and SEN/Dyslexia edition in their school license – has this helped?
A. I have only had one student with dyslexia that I used the program with. I appreciated having the option for that student.
Q. How efficient has KAZ been and are the children enjoying it? A. I would rate it more efficient than fun. Some of the students really like typing and some don’t – I don’t think it is KAZ, I think it is typing in general for the students that don’t really enjoy it.
Q. Is the fact that KAZ online can be used at school and at home a positive feature and why?
A. This is a very positive feature and one of the reasons I have stuck with KAZ as I can assign portions of it for homework/independent practice and students may go at their own pace.
Q. What do you think of KAZ?
A. I really like KAZ and will keep using it because the method works (my students almost across the board see gains) and it is flexible enough for me to assign it they way I need to for my students.
Greensboro Day School develops the intellectual, ethical, and interpersonal foundations students need to become constructive contributors to the world.
#1 Best Private High School in Guilford County
Give YOUR students a head start – teach them to type.
There are numerous comparison sites such as; thetop10sites.com, bestadvisor.com, typinglounge.com and learntotouchtype.com. They all review typing software. They highlight both the positives and negatives of each product and provide tips on how to help improve your typing technique, how to up your accuracy and how to learn to type faster.
Individuals, schools, businesses and typing comparison sites all look for different criteria when choosing or recommending typing software.
Criteria such as:
Price – is it free, affordable or expensive?
Teaching method– is it proven to work?
Is it game-based?
Is it suitable for Mac/PC and available online and/or as a download etc.?
Is it inclusive – suitable for mainstream individuals, as well as those with differences like dyslexia?
So many questions!
So what should you look for? What should a good touch typing software include?
If you want to be assured of choosing the right typing software, here are a few points to consider.
Is the product:
Safe and secure
Developed through science and research
Tried, tested, proven to work
Easy to use
Builds muscle memory
Monitors & records progress and highlight problem keys
Works across all platforms
Truly inclusive, catering for both mainstream and neurodivergent individuals
Safe and Secure
Developed through science and research
A product that has been developed through science and research, holds authority and gives confidence when buying
Tried, tested, proven to work
A proven ‘teaching method’ that has been trialled, tested and proven to work and teaches you to type quickly and efficiently offers reassurance, especially when research papers are provided
Easy to Use
Simple and light-hearted presentation with easy to follow instruction is key to learning. Busy and complicated features can confuse, distract, delay or put off learning
Builds muscle memory
If you’re serious about learning to touch type, you need to invest in a software that includes modules to develop automaticity, as it is only through the repetition of typing real word vocabulary that muscle memory is built. Many software give a taste of finger movements and skill, but they do not offer sufficient exercises to develop automaticity
Monitors and records progress
Programs that monitor and record progress will allow you to evaluate your touch typing technique and progression. Choose one that will highlight problematic keys, allow you to re-fresh in the areas you need to – strengthening your weaknesses
Works across all platforms
Typing software should be available across all platforms, to suit individual preference: Download for Mac and PC, Online and in SCORM format, suitable for LMS
Truly inclusive, catering for both mainstream and neurodivergent individuals
If you are an individual with special educational needs, or an education or business establishment, choose a software that is truly inclusive, suitable for both mainstream and neurodivergent individuals, as this will cater for everybody and help level the playing field. The program should be multi-sensory and include features such as a preference screen to address visual disturbances
A product that has been recognised, i.e. shortlisted or has won awards, shows its calibre and worth and reassures you when buying
On reviewing a selection of touch typing software, they all had their positives and negatives. Several claimed to be superior products, using various teaching methods but have their methods been tried, tested and proven to work? Is there any scientific research to say they have and if so, is it published for all to see? I couldn’t find any.
However, one software that has been tried, tested and proven to work, have published their findings on their website and did tick all the boxes was… KAZ Type.
Set yourself apart from your peers, provide a competitive edge with your ‘Assured’ online credentials.
Supported by Credly’s Acclaim, ‘Assured’ provides all successful candidates with a co-branded digital credential (certificate and badge), enabling them to showcase their quality skill and achievement externally via the web on social media profiles, CVs and job application forms – equipping them with an extra tool to help gain employment.
By recognising their success and awarding them digital certification from a world recognised body.
Attract, recruit and retain talent
Demonstrate to your current, future employees and supply chain, your investment in the highest quality training.
Shine a light on exceptional in-house training by tapping into 140 years of expertise. Show your supply chain, end customers and investors that your training is best in class.
How does the course work?
The KAZ touch typing program – ‘City & Guilds Assured’ has been designed for individuals aged 15 years plus, or 14 years of age for invigilated environments.
The program consists of KAZ’s award-winning Accelerated Learning course, plus a ‘NEW’ City & Guilds assessment module, comprising a ‘Multiple Choice Paper’ and a ‘Typing Test’.
The program is licensed for one year and is ‘on-demand’ (i.e. the learner can access the course online at any time and progress through the course at their own pace).
Typically, the program takes just 90 minutes to teach the A-Z keys and approximately 4 hours to cover the whole keyboard – all of which can be divided and learned in short modules.
After completing the first four modules, learners should undertake daily practise on the fifth module – KAZ SpeedBuilder, to develop speed and accuracy and aim to consistently attain 35 words/minute and 80% accuracy (‘City & Guilds’ pass mark). How long this will take will vary depending on how much time individual learners dedicate to daily practise. Where possible, we recommend an hour’s practise a day, over a period of a few weeks, unless the learner is already proficient.
Unique Preference Screen
The inclusive and multi-sensory program teaches typing skills whilst minimising visual disturbances using a unique ‘preference screen’, developed with advice and guidance from the Dyslexia Research Trust. This opening screen offers learners a choice of preferences, tailoring the course for maximum visibility comfort.
Choice of coloured background/filter screens – for reducing white screen glare
Choice of 2 specific DRT research-based background/filter colours – for steadying letter movement and blurring (the program has been specially adapted to replicate as best possible the effect of these coloured filters)
Choice of dyslexic friendly typefaces (including 2 licensed dyslexic fonts) – for ease of reading
Choice of font colour – for contrast from background screen colour
Choice of font size – for optimum visibility comfort and to minimize fusing and crowding of letters
Choice of Keyboard – for optimum visibility comfort
Once the learner has selected their preferences and can read the sample text comfortably, their options are ‘Saved’ and applied throughout the course, tailoring it for maximum visibility comfort.
The program also provides an ‘Audio Descriptive’ version, including ‘speaking keys’ and spoken instruction for visually impaired learners and a ‘Text Only’ version with written/visual instruction for the hearing impaired.
Program Structure and Delivery Method
The KAZ 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.
Using specific combinations and progressions of just 11 words in 5 scientifically structured phrases, the method trains the fingers on both hands to work symmetrically and simultaneously – a direct result of both hemispheres of the brain working at the same time –‘brain balance’. No other typing tutor works in this way.
The program consists of 6 modules:
Flying Start – (Introduces the course, the navigational tool, teaches correct posture whilst sitting at a computer and the meaning, causes, signs, symptoms and preventative measures of Repetitive Strain Injury)
The Basics – (Teaches the A-Z keys using 5 scientifically structured and trademarked phrases)
Just Do It – (Offers additional exercises to reinforces the A-Z keys and build muscle memory)
And The Rest – (Teaches the punctuation keys)
SpeedBuilder – (Offers daily practise – increasing speed and accuracy)
City & Guilds Assessment – (Consists of a Multiple Choice Paper and a typing test)
The learner should work through the first four modules in sequence. They should progress through the program at their own pace and return to any module of the course, at any time, should they wish to refresh.
On completing the first four modules, they should then commence the fifth module – KAZ ‘SpeedBuilder’ and practise until they consistently achieve 35 words/minute and accuracy of 80% (City & Guild’s pass mark).
Once they are ready, they should commence the final module – ‘City & Guilds Assessment’, where they will be presented with a multiple-choice paper and a typing test.
The assessment’s objective is to evaluate the learner’s knowledge on what they have been taught throughout the program and consists of:
Multiple choice paper – consisting of 15 questions, evenly covering three different areas – ‘Correct Posture’ – when sitting at a computer, ‘Repetitive Strain Injury’ – meaning, causes, signs, symptoms and preventative measures and ‘Touch Typing Technique.’
Typing Test – (Recording speed and accuracy).
A City & Guilds pass will be attained when the candidate achieves the following scores:
Words/minute – 35
Accuracy – 80%
Multiple-choice score – 80% (12/15)
Should the candidate be unsuccessful in attaining their ‘City & Guilds’ on their first attempt, they may try again by pressing the ‘RE-SIT’ button. Although they may re-sit immediately, we recommend they wait 24 hours and re-visit the ‘Flying Start’ and / or the KAZ ‘SpeedBuilder’ module.
On successfully passing the course, candidates will automatically receive a congratulatory message. Once verification has been completed, they will be emailed a co-branded digital certificate and badge, to showcase their quality skill externally via the web – i.e. social media profiles, C.V.’s and job application forms. The badge may take up to 28 days to be emailed, as it is dependent on the City & Guilds processing department.
With its new ‘City & Guilds Assured’ status, KAZ hopes to equip all successful candidates, both mainstream and neurodivergent with a globally recognised credential they can use to help gain employment.
From fees to online classes to social lives, the university experience is likely to be very different for this year’s batch of students (The Telegraph)
Freshers’ events will be virtual
‘Bubbles’ of students will live and study with people on their course to reduce the spread of Coronavirus
Many universities are expected to hold lectures online for the 2020-21 academic year
Most universities still expect students to be resident and said they may expect them to attend smaller classes
Some courses will have more virtual content than others
(Sally Peck – Family, Education and Carers Editor – 17/06/2020
Online teaching, learning and using a computer have suddenly become crucial elements for both delivering lectures and submitting assignments. The computer has taken centre stage and it is for this reason that quick and efficient touch typing skills are now more essential than ever for students. The two-finger or ‘hunt and pec’ method will not suffice.
Although a fundamental skill, touch typing offers many benefits to both mainstream and neurodiverse students:
Increases focus on content
The important aspect of touch typing is not what the fingers are doing but what is happening in the brain.
When students learn how to touch type, the skill is automatised and transferred to their sub-conscious, leaving their conscious minds free to concentrate on more important tasks, such as planning, composing, processing, proofing reading and editing. It improves the quality, quantity and their overall performance in assignments and exams
Once the skill is mastered, quick and efficient touch typing reduces the amount of time spent on a piece of work, automatically increasing productivity
Alongside speed, accuracy is also greatly increased. Touch typing trains the fingers to press the correct keys automatically. Students develop a sense of what feels right. They know immediately when they have keyed in the wrong letter
Touch typing offers neurodivergent students a new medium for learning and communicating. It helps level the playing field and can help address many of the challenges they face. Challenges such as processing, slow work rate, poor writing skills and a poor working memory
In today’s IT world, computers are found in most, if not all office environments, even if just for maintaining customer records or for email communication. An individual that can touch type will outperform their peers – producing higher quality work quickly, efficiently and will excel in time management, all essential traits required for enhanced career prospects
Correct posture whilst typing
With prolonged periods spent at the computer, students need to be aware of correct posture whilst typing, to prevent developing RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury).
KAZ’s City & Guilds ‘Assured’ typing test consists of a multiple-choice paper and typing test. All successful candidates will receive a digital certificate and badge to showcase on their social media profiles, C.V.’s and job application forms.
Learn to type with KAZ
KAZ’s inclusive touch typing software is suitable for both mainstream and neurodivergent students
It’s proven Accelerated Learning teaching method teaches the A-Z keys in just 90 minutes
It’s safe and secure for online use – KAZ are members of ICO.org and ensure student data is protected at all time
Although I type with just 4 fingers (my index and middle), I’ve never considered myself a slow typist. In fact, I’ve always thought of myself as being fairly fast but after reading an article online on how touch typing can increase your productivity and workflow, it began to make me think. Could I get even faster?
First of all, what exactly is touch typing? Keying in the words and doing an online Google search, it said, ‘type using all one’s fingers and without looking at the keys on the keyboard’. Okay, I kind of knew that but what I didn’t know was the following fact.
When you type with just two or a few fingers, you use your conscious mind, i.e. you think as you do. This creates additional mental load, which can hinder creativity and slow productivity.
However, when you learn to touch type with all your fingers and thumbs, the physical skill gets transferred to your sub-conscious, freeing your conscious mind to multi-task and concentrate on more important things, such as planning, composing, processing, proofreading and editing and so on. Wow! ‘I’d never thought of this before. It’s the same concept as learning to drive.
Think – Plan – Compose – Process – Proofread – Edit
Choosing the right touch typing software
On searching for the right software, I read about several different ‘learn to type’ product. One particular website caught my eye: kaz-type.com
They use a unique Accelerated Learning teaching method, which supposedly teaches you to type the a-z keys in just 90 minutes and they made a point of highlighting the fact that their course was developed through research and science. I like research-based products, so I decided to give it a go. What did I have to lose? It was only £24.95.
Assessing my typing skills
On their home page, KAZ also offered a free online typing test, allowing you to gauge your typing speed and accuracy before you started the course. This was great, as it gave me a starting point. I was very confident that I would achieve around 35 – 40 words per minute, (the noted average) and so was totally gutted with my result of 22 words per minute, with 72% accuracy. I couldn’t believe how slow my typing speed was. I never considered myself as a slow typer. I really thought I could type faster! Looking through their site for some sort of consolation, I came across a blog:
It gave me no comfort whatsoever. I needed to learn!
I was very excited about my decision and so announced to the whole household that I was going to learn to type. Before I knew it, my 7 year old son William, who naturally wants to do whatever I’m doing, asked if he could learn to type too. I wasn’t too sure if he’d be too young but looking through KAZ’s website again, I was thrilled to find they offered a junior edition, suitable for age 6+. Perfect! I bought both editions. I thought if he learned young, he’d have the skill for life. It’ll help him at school in future IT classes, when he starts to learn to code at code camps and in his future career. If he’s anything like me and chooses to go down the IT path, be it a programmer, data analyst, coder etc., he’ll have an edge!
Starting the course
Considering KAZ was developed through research and science, I was rather surprised at how simple it was in both presentation and delivery. Apparently, this is intentional so that it’s easy to follow, keeps user focus and according to research, doesn’t overload the working memory. It also allows kids to work independently or with minimum help. It worked! William was quite happy to simply follow the instructions.
How the course works
The course consisted of 5 modules and allowed me to work at my own pace and return to any module at any time if I wanted to.
Module 1 – ‘Flying Start’
‘Flying Start’ was an introduction to the course and only took a few minutes. It explained how the course worked, the position of the home row keys (a, s, d, f and j, k, l,;) and about the tiny raised bumps/ridges on the ‘f’ and ‘j’ keys you always wonder about. I never realised they were where you placed your index fingers when positioning your fingers on the home row. Finally, it taught you about correct posture when sitting at the keyboard. The animation for this in the junior edition was very amusing. Willian loved it and played it several times over.
‘The Basics’ was the most important module. This is where they taught the a-z keys using their 5 trademarked and scientifically structured phrases. Each phrase took approximately 15-20 minutes and although they recommend children work at their own pace and do one phrase at a time, they encourage adults to complete the whole module in one 90 minute session, which I did!
I have to admit, I was a bit sceptical at their claim of teaching the positioning of the alphabet keys in just 90 minutes, but they did! By the end of the session, I could type every letter, be it slowly, without looking at the keyboard. I have to say, it was a pretty good feeling. I’m not too sure how they get it into your brain, but they do. Reading through their explanation, it’s to do with muscle memory and brain balance, teaching you to use the fingers of both hands symmetrically and simultaneously. I guess it may be a bit like ‘chaos theory’, where it all just comes together.
Each phrase used certain fingers to press particular keys. I found the first three phrases quite easy, as they included the fingers I normally use. This is apparently due to finger dexterity. By the end of them I had learned the position of 16 letters! However, the last two phrases proved a little more difficult as they introduced my ring and little fingers, which weren’t as dexterous. Even William was rather puzzled but excited to see his fingers automatically moving to the right keys. Being only 7, his attention span was naturally shorter, so progression through the phrases was slower, but that was okay.
Module 3 – The Just Do It
The ‘Just Do It’ module contained exercises with additional vocabulary. Apparently, it’s with the repetition of typing words that muscle memory is developed and it really does work. The more I practised, the faster my fingers moved to the correct keys. I felt rather cocky because I could feel it was really working!
Module 4 – And the Rest
‘And the Rest’ ran through the punctuation keys, such as full stops, commas, shift, numbers keys, symbols etc. I did this section in two hits.
It was strange but I guess made sense that the shift key on the right, capitalised the left-hand keys, and the left shift key, capitalised the right-hand keys, huh!
Module 5 – SpeedBuilder
The last module ‘SpeedBuilder’ helped develop speed and accuracy. It covered the entire keyboard and offered a choice of touch typing either 20 sentences or 20 paragraphs. It recorded and graphed my word per minute and accuracy, allowing me to keep track of my progress.
They recommended doing this module once or twice a day, which is exactly what I did but I also practised on my ‘day job’ work and emails.
At the start, I was fairly slow and inaccurate. In fact, my word per minute had actually regressed. It was lower than before I’d started to learn to touch type and my ‘day job’ work was taking me longer to type than before. To be honest, it was rather frustrating but I was adamant I wasn’t going to go back to my old typing habits, so I kept at it.
William also happily progressed through the course and is definitely developing automaticity on the a-z keys. Although the vocabulary is suitable for 6-11 year olds, there were a few words he wasn’t familiar with. This, however, did not pose a problem because he only had to copy type. He now just needs to complete the punctuation module and practice, practice, practice!
I’m pleased I stuck to my guns because after just over two weeks (approximately 9 hours and 20 minutes of intermittent practice), I’m now touch typing at an average speed of 57-62 words per minute, with an average accuracy of 96%. Incredible!
I’m amazed I’ve achieved such a fast typing speed in such a short time and without seeming over-confident, I really believe I can further improve my word per minute once I truly master all the punctuation keys.
In conclusion, I think my £24.95 X2 investment to upgrade my typing skills and to teach William to touch type was one of the best investments I could have made regarding my career and his future. There really is a lot to be said about Accelerated Learning teaching methods. William now refers to us as the ‘touch typing heroes’.
Touch typing has proven to be extremely beneficial for individuals with dyslexia. This advanced typing technique eliminates the need and challenges associated with writing by hand and offers a new medium for getting thoughts onto paper easily and efficiently – boosting confidence and moral. When individuals learn how to touch type, the skill is automatized and transferred to the sub-conscious, leaving the conscious mind free to concentrate on more important tasks, such as: thinking, planning, composing, processing, proofing reading and editing. It improves quality, quantity and their overall performance in assignments and exams.
The ways touch typing can benefit dyslexic individuals
A different learning process
Touch typing uses a different memory skill than that of traditional methods. It eliminates the need of decoding spelling. With the repetition of touch typing real words, spelling and vocabulary are engrained to memory. Spellings simply become a series of finger movements and patterns on a keyboard, dramatically reducing the likelihood of transposing and misspelling words.
A paper littered with crossings out and scribbles can prove hard to read, will interrupt thought and work flow and can be very frustrating. When touch typing is learned, fingers automatically know when they have pressed the wrong key or made a mistake and normally they edit immediately. Additionally, when using a computer, spell checking tools are also available.
Composing whilst writing
Touch Typing is a ‘hidden’ skill that is often overlooked in education and life. It frees the mind and for dyslexic students, levels the playing field, allowing creativity in writing.
Reorganisation of thoughts
Individuals with dyslexia have a particular thought process. They jot down their thoughts first as a series of disconnected conceptions and then structure them into an organized answer / essay. Touch typing and using a computer allows them to do this more easily.
Touch typing – a game changer for individuals with dyslexia
Writing by hand can prove to be a great barrier for individuals with dyslexia whilst at school, the workplace and in life. It can result in low morale and self-esteem. Learning to touch type equips individuals with a ‘life skill’ that can be life changing. It can improve quality of work, productivity, outcomes of examinations and in turn, career prospects – boosting confidence, self-belief and esteem.