How long would it take for me to become perfect and fast in typing if I started today?
Mike: Hey, everybody. Welcome to today’s Ask Edutyping and happy New Year to you. This is our first show of 2018, so hope everybody’s off to a great start. My name’s Mike Gecawich, co-founder of Teaching.com, Typing.com, and Edutyping.com, the world’s leading online keyboarding solutions.
First of all, if you’re not familiar with the form of our show, we go live every Thursday, 4:15 PM Eastern time, where we have our typing users, students and teachers, who can ask us basically any question that’s related to keyboarding and the curriculum or the software that they’re using.
This week, we have a special edition. We’re accepting the student only questions, so we’ll get to those in a moment. But first, each week I introduce a new keyboarding tip, and this week, instead of a tip, I’m super excited to introduce to you a new major update that we just made live this week on Edutyping in the secondary curriculum and we added a whole unit dedicated to word processing. As you know, Edutyping and Typing.com do a great job in teaching students the basics of how to keyboard and, obviously, that is the foundational skill that all students need to learn before moving on to another level of technology.
The next level is, obviously, now that they know how to type, is how do you word process and use programs like Microsoft Word or Google Docs or Apple has a word processing program called Pages. After your students have mastered the 26 letters of the alphabet on the keyboard and the basic punctuation keys, the next level is for them to start actually producing words, sentences, paragraphs, which many of the lessons in Edutyping and typing.com do, however, it’s not introduced in a formal way.
We added this new unit so that students can learn how to word process and produce professional documents that will be used in their school world and then, eventually, in the working world when they become professionals and pretty much every job that you can think of on the planet requires word processing, so what better place to introduce that than right inside of our portal in Edutyping?
You’ll notice, too, when you look at the new word processing unit, that we’ve dedicated a section for students to read about for professionalism in the workplace and we’ve already been asked this question, why did we include that? One of the things students are lacking in today’s world are soft skills and hard skills, but especially in the soft skills area – the ability to look somebody in the eye and shake their hand and compose a professional email. They’re used to texting and social media, so this new professionalism in the workplace unit teaches students about how to produce a professional document such as business letters and the languages to use, the professional language to use etc. So take a look at it and, just so you know, we’ll be adding many other units that are dedicated to computer applications and technology literacy. Next up on our agenda is to add Wordprocessing Jr. To the Edutyping, Jr. curriculum, and then we’ll be adding presentations so students can learn how to present not only using programs like Google Slides and Microsoft PowerPoint, but also how to deliver those presentations in a professional format as well as spreadsheets and a whole bunch of other technology literacy concepts like cyber safety, online surfing, validating website sources, etc. So be on the lookout for that and I’ll be live every week and, hopefully, we’ll be introducing that Wordprocessing Jr. section to the Edutyping Jr. curriculum.
I’m joined by my colleague today, Rennie Sullivan, who is going to read our first question of the week. And, remember, today’s a special edition where we’re fielding student only questions. So if you would, Rennie, please read this week’s Ask Edutyping first question.
Rennie: Thanks, Mike. Lucy Davis from Virginia. She asks, “How can I motivate my parents to learn to touch type?”
Mike: Wow, that’s a great question. How do you motivate your parents? And if your parents are anything like me, when I was learning how to type, even when I was teaching typing almost 20 years ago, we had typewriters. You may not even know what that is. If you check out Google, you can see what a typewriter looks like.
A lot of parents of today’s children and the generation didn’t have the luxury of having programs like Edutyping and typing.com, so what I would recommend is, first of all, show them what you’re learning. I’m assuming you’re either a typing.com student or an Edutyping student, so let your parents know the value that it’s bringing to you and then share with them some of the advances that they might be able to make in their careers and in their personal lives by knowing how to type. They can compose emails in a much more efficient, quicker fashion and then also demonstrate to their employer that they now have additional computer application skills and will be able to navigate other computer application programs like word processing and spreadsheets and anything that read revolves around touching the keyboard. You have to be the motivator instead of them motivating you in this situation, which I love. Gosh, if you have that ability to influence your parents, then tell them to try out different programs. A ton of them are available online, including typing.com, which is free, so they can go there and just get some basic keyboarding skills under their belt and, hopefully, they’ll be soaring into another level of their technology skills. That’s a great question. Let’s take question number two of the week. Rennie?
Rennie: Jack Matthews from Texas. He asks, “How do you improve typing speed when you are already a fast typist?”
Mike: Jack from Texas. First of all, I love Texas; it’s like its own country. I’ve been there many times on business. I’ve got to tell you, Jack, not knowing your age, not knowing how efficient you already are in keyboarding, it’s tough to answer this question. My recommendation to you is just keep plugging away. I definitely don’t recommend dismissing yourself on practicing keyboarding. Regularity is the key. Practice, practice, practice are the three most important things.
What I would recommend is, no matter what you’re doing in school, practice at home and dedicate yourself to about 10 to 15, even 20 minutes each day and what will happen is muscle memory and your motor skills will all come together just like when you were learning how to write a bike. We start with training wheels, lots of times we fall down and then they take the training wheels off and we fall over and we skin our knee etc. Same kind of process. The longer you do it, the better you’ll become and then it just becomes a force of habit and it’ll just become natural just like the English language when you learned how to talk. We’re going to take a final question of the week. And, Jack, thanks a lot for that. That was great. Rennie, last question.
Rennie: Duncan Smith from Louisiana, he has a two-part question. First part is, “How long would it take for me to become perfect and fast in typing if I started today?”
Mike: First of all, Duncan, it’s a very similar question that Jack had. By perfect, I have to say I’ve been around for a long time, I built typing.com and Edutyping and I’ve done all kinds of research. There’s really no such thing as a perfect person or a perfect typist. However, again, practice and dedicate yourself to committing to a goal. What I recommend is start with a goal that’s achievable. In the beginning, when you’re just getting started, you have to learn the keyboard first, but there’s something called words per minute, and we call that WPM, and then there’s also accuracy. Remember that your strategy, especially in the beginning process of learning how to keyboard, is that accuracy is more important than speed.
I often draw this analogy, which I’ve used on this show many a times in the past, it’s just like a pitcher pitching the baseball. If I can throw the ball 150 miles an hour and I throw a ball every time, and we all know that’s a crazy speed, that’d be like a world record, but to throw a ball every time, no team is going to want a pitcher because they’re going to walk every batter. If I threw a 90 miles an hour, which is still very fast, but I throw a strike 90% of the time, 95% of the time, I’m going to do a much better job on the baseball field and be much more attractive and move on to the next level, so try to keep that philosophy. Set achievable goals, so maybe 10 words per minute with 90% accuracy to start and then slightly increase your goals as you progress throughout your learning process.
Folks, that’s all we have. Thanks, Duncan, by the way. Great question. I’ll see you next Thursday live, 4:15 Eastern time, and remember you can always reach us to submit your questions, both from students and teachers, at #AskEdutyping through Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. We’ll see you next week, everybody, on Ask Edutyping. Take care.