Upsurge in online learning fuels increasing need for touch typing skills

Student learning to type with KAZ Online - distance learning

The UK school sector has lost many teaching days this year one way or another – deep cleaning for norovirus, flooding, snow days in some areas and now the coronavirus, forcing schools to close until further notice. Senior leadership teams are rising to the challenge, making plans for students to continue their education from home. For the first time the computer is becoming the main medium for delivering learning. This trend is likely to continue but underlying issues are coming to light. 

Many learners enjoy using resources online but the majority are not trained, equipped or used to producing their work in this way. It is one thing to send a text, fill in a worksheet online or keep in touch with friends on social media but quite another to be expected to use technology for all classwork. Yet in many cases, this is what we will be asking them to do. 

Most students are trained to handwrite but not to use a keyboard efficiently. Their keying in skills are poor and many are slow and inaccurate. There are also health and safety issues involved. Long-term extensive use of the keyboard can lead to RSI and possible spinal damage. When you think of how many hours schools spend teaching handwriting, it is quite astounding that they cannot allocate just 90 minutes to teach the basics of touch typing, which is all it takes with KAZ, our Accelerated Learning cloud-based program. 

The overriding argument for years has been that children will be expected to write by hand in their examinations but those days may now be numbered. An increasing number of students with dyslexia and other neurodiverse conditions are using word processors as their normal means of working and are now allowed to use the same methods in exams.  

Some schools, notably international schools and independent schools in the UK are ahead of the curve, making sure all pupils have had training in touch typing.  At a ‘live classroom’ at BETT Malaysia 2017, Iain Stevens, Head of Curriculum Support at Taylor’s International School, Kuala Lumpur said: ‘One of the things which attracted me to KAZ was the Dyslexia Screen, where you can change the fonts, the colours and so on. When I looked at other programs, they couldn’t actually do that and that was one of the reasons why I chose KAZ.’ 

Of course, there are free programs available but when pupils are learning online, schools need to be sure that students and their data are safe and not being spammed, as can be the case with free software. Our website and all our courses are secure. We are members of and strictly adhere to their rules and regulations. We guarantee no pop-ups, no advertising and no solicitation by email. 

Teachers also want to be able to set up students easily and see at a glance if they are doing the work and how well they are progressing. The KAZ admin panel allows teachers to upload student lists in minutes, send logon details using real or pseudo email addresses and monitor student progress in real time. Kathryn Stowell, Head of Outreach and AAC at Charlton Park Academy, supports around 200 secondary students in many schools, so she has first- hand experience of distance learning:  ‘KAZ teaches touch typing fast so students are not taking much time out from other subjects to learn the keyboard,’ said Kathryn. ‘Best of all, we have one portal at the school and can see from the student logins how they are getting on. With students right across London, this saves us time when we are checking on progress.’ 

Additionally, to help keep students engaged, motivated and on task, we have launched a touch typing competition which runs until June 30th 2020. Students can take the timed test as often as they wish and their best score will be saved. A leader board is published on the KAZ site each month and the final result will be announced in July. Schools that have a KAZ licence can check up on student progress at any time which means they can also run their own in-house tournaments and maybe even pitch staff against students.

Schools that are moving to online learning in the next few months may find several hidden benefits from teaching their students to touch type. Not only will they equip their pupils with a ‘life skill’ they can use whilst at school, for exam access arrangements and carry forward with them into FE and the workplace but pupils may also start composing texts at speeds of around 50–70 words per minute.

The Department of Education has deemed BESA’s LendEd site the ‘go to’ approved platform for home learning resources in the even of school closures. Our software is the only touch typing software listed and approved. In an effort to help schools during this turbulent period of home learning, we have halved the price of all our school online licences. Please use code: KAZC19 at checkout.


Lyndhurst Dyslexia Centre Trial KAZ

I would like to thank the Kaz team for allowing us to trial the Kaz touch- typing programme at Lyndhurst Dyslexia Centre.

In order to trial the programme, we prioritised a set of dyslexic students in Year 6 who are transitioning to Secondary school next academic year and therefore it was felt that they would particularly benefit from learning to touch-type. A couple of students had some prior experience of other touch-typing programmes. The touch-typing club took place within the Lyndhurst Dyslexia Centre and sessions were offered three times a week for 30 minutes for a month. It definitely speaks volumes about the Kaz touch-typing programme that the students keenly attended these sessions before school!

All students progressed well through the programme; building on both their speed and accuracy. A number of the students commented on how the programme progressed them swiftly and they enjoyed being able to self-monitor their own progress. In observing the students, I felt the ease of progression through the programme and the fact that students were allowed to progress through the stages without having to pass tasks at a certain speed or accuracy was very motivating. At the end of the programme the students commented on how much their touch- typing skills had improved from completing the course and they were delighted with their certificates. All students are now choosing to type their work in the Centre and are using touch-typing skills.

All of the students benefitted and were keen to personalise their settings and having the chance to choose background and font colours is proven to benefit dyslexic learners. I also observed the students continually making use of the keyboard positioned on the computer screen to ensure they were touch-typing. One of the students had a great idea this week and explained that we should take a picture of the keyboard and tape it above the computer screen like they do in the Kaz programme!

As a teacher I found setting up the Kaz programme for a group very simple and it was easy to monitor students progress. For extra chance to practise, students did have an opportunity to use the programme at home and found this beneficial.

I would highly recommend this programme for anyone working with Dyslexic students.

Thanks so much for letting us trial Kaz and we are now looking forward to introducing the programme to more of our students.

Ruth Pierce
Specialist Dyslexia Teacher and Assessor Lyndhurst Dyslexia Centre, Grove Lane Camberwell

Why YOU should bother with Typing Tests

Typing Tests - Why YOU should bother

If you are an employer then you need to ensure that your staff are competent, efficient, up to date with current practice and productive and all this just to maintain pace with the competition?

But how do we know if staffing is excessive, if you are top heavy or worse everyone isn’t pulling in the same direction?

We should all be constantly looking for efficiency in working practice and we do this through regular training? We should not leave the training to other companies and a well trained workforce is not only efficient but grateful and duty bound to be more concerned within the company. After all if you look after your employees then logic dictates they will look after for you.

Isn’t this the reason why so many of the worlds best companies goals are to get to the top and stay there. There is good reason for careful and detailed planning and this is to ensure quality, flexibility, longevity and productivity are the main consideration. Generally this will involve the use of the most up to date and cutting edge technology and machinery.

Commitment works both ways. Train your people well and your people will respond. Ever wondered why everyone wants to play and work and be in the big boys playground?

To quote a spokesman for the UK’s Learndirect, “The most effective and cheapest training course on the market is also the most neglected.”

Did you know that from 1000 free typing tests taken on our KAZ website, 69.7% of the ‘typists’ type at at less than 35wpm?… that is almost 7 out of 10 people unable to type efficiently. (Check out our test – it’s free, will only cost you 90 seconds of your life and you will then be able to accurately predict how much extra productivity can be gained by learning this simple skill.)

Typing is a skill – just like driving. We are taught to drive. We have lessons, followed by a test to confirm proficiency. Every laptop, desktop, Chromebook is sold with an attached keyboard. How are we expected to be proficient with a keyboard, where many of us spend several hours per day, when we are not taught?

If the average working day is 8 hours, it is relatively easy to work out the hours /days /months of our lives we can potentially save by learning this skill.

Let’s assume your staff need to spend 6 hours per day in front of their PC, typing at a speed of 25wpm on emails, work, essays etc., 

If you fall into the above 69.7% category (assuming you’re typing non-stop): 25wpm x 60mins x 6hours =  9000 words in 6 hours

If you fall into the latter, 30% typist category, you should be able to type at 50 wpm (the majority of users leave KAZ at this point): 50wpm x 60mins x 6 hours = 18000 words in 6 hours or the equivalent of 9000 words in 3 hours = a saving of 3 hours per day.

Double the word count in exactly the same time. 

(Out of interest, from the typing tests taken, the remaining 30% typed far in excess of 50wpm!)

Now what if I told you the average speed test of those 69.7% tests taken, was just 18!

Imagine how much of time you can potentially save each day. What would you do with that extra staff time?

So continuing …

3 hours per day x 5 days/week x 48 weeks/year = 

720 hours/year or 

90 days/year 

(based on working 8 hours /day)

Now that’s a lot of productivity saved/gained – should be an easy decision to start checking your employees typing skills.