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’.