Is It Necessary To Use Both Shift Keys To Type Fast?
Hey everybody is Mike Gecawich co-founder of Teaching.com, Typing.com and Edutyping.com back with another exciting episode of our weekly show #AskEduTyping where we field questions from our users from all around the world, focused on teachers and students who use our products in specific, Typing.com and Eduytyping.com. So we’re every week for about 15 minutes but if we don’t get to your questions please know that you can reach us through #AskEduTyping on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
So we’re going to start our show this week with a typing tip which we begin each week with and I’m going to do a screen share today that’s a little bit difficult for me to show you visually. Typically I’ll show our tip of the week on our whiteboard behind me but just hold on one second I’m going to get our screen share going only takes a second.
OK so here we are at the tip of the week. First of all this tip comes from our blog which we update every single week. It’s jam packed with all kinds of typing tips and techniques that teachers can use to make keyboarding more interesting to engage students and a whole bunch of learning and different pedagogy that work to really maximize the potential of students in the classroom at all different grade levels. So I really encourage you to visit our blog. If I click right here you’ll see that it was just updated with a great tip called Keyboarding Cryptograms which I’m just going to review with you real quick here.
So the idea of this activity and this is all downloadable from the blog, is that you present students with a secret puzzle. Now if you’re not familiar with what a cryptogram is it’s basically a scramble of different letters that get decoded and they actually will form a sentence or variety of different words. So it’s kind of like decoding a secret message. So if we take a look at this example right here on screen you’ll see that the student will begin to type all of these random letters and then you would provide the student with a representation of what each letter is decoded as. So in this example it says every W represents the letter S every E represents the letter T forming a answer at the end of it.
You’ll notice on page 2 of the activity we provide you with three different puzzles. And the student is provided with different hints of what each letter would be decoded as, so a great offline activity that you can use where students would use a word processing program and inside of Edutyping.com we have a feature called Open type which serves just like a word processor. So if you have your students key that in they’ll save the assignment. They can either then print it or decode it by retyping the correct decoded letters on screen. So I encourage you to visit and blog.edutypingcom and there is a link right from my home page. Download this activity and put it into use in your classroom your students will love it and they’ll enjoy the break that they get from using the online program itself.
So each week we take questions from our user audience. I’m joined on screen by my colleague Rennie Sullivan who is going to read this week’s first question. Michael Lewis asks “How can I familiarize myself with a keyboard to improve my typing speed?”
Great question Michael, how can you really get better at visualizing and memorizing the keyboard. Several strategies that you can employ that will definitely help you. Number one if there isn’t one in your classroom you can google for it just search on keyboard and you’ll find thousands of different images that you can use and then print out. Similar to this keyboarding chart that I have behind me here in my office and use that and study that. And of course that’s not going to teach you how to type more efficiently but it will get you more familiar with memorizing where the keys are located on the keyboard.
Another strategy is if you visit our blog on Edutyping you can actually download and print a blank keyboard which basically has all the letters in places where they are located but the letters are not written on that and what you can do is kind of think OK what is the home row key? And you would actually write in the letters properly and then double check that against a real keyboard. That’s a great activity. The more you do that the better you’ll become.
Another strategy is to use a keyboarding cover and what a keyboarding cover does is basically it hides the keys while you are keyboarding. You can make this out of cardboard and they’re also sold as well. I know of a really good product called the ‘no peek keyboard‘ cover and basically it will cover your keys put your hand underneath it, begin the keyboarding lesson, it forces you to not look at your keys while you’re typing and that’s a very important tactic that you need to employ in order to memorize the keys you would think hey more I look at them the better I will memorize them. While it’s certainly OK if you look down at your keys while your keyboard, occasionally, especially early on while you’re beginning but as time goes on you want to really just focus on what you’re typing from and not the actual keyboards so it’s more about practice and providing yourself with those visual stimulants like the keyboarding chart and the blank keyboard. Great question Mike! So we are going to move onto our second question of the week, Rennie!
Rosie Hart asks “Why is my typing speed between 40 and 50 words per minute when I have been typing for the past five months?”
Rosie that’s a question we get all the time! People reach sticking points. There’s no doubt that probably when you started typing you increased your words per minute very rapidly but then you kind of reach what they call the plateau. The plateau is basically your motor dexterity skills and your eye hand coordination which only get you so far when you reach a certain point and then progress starts to really slow down. Think about it when you played a video game in the beginning you can get the highest score or compete against your friends and you do really well which you can only get so good so fast when you reach a certain point of mastery. And it sounds to me like thats where you are in in the field of keyboarding.
So what I would recommend is just stick to the program. Be okay with setting goals of say just increasing one or two words per week and try to achieve those. But just think about it over say four or five weeks if your goal is to improve by one to two words per week you should be able to increase yourself to you know somewhere around 55 or 60 words per minute. Then again you’re going to reach a slower plateau, so it takes time it takes patience. And again no matter how much time, I’ve been typing for years and I still find myself falling between 80 and 90 words per minute and you’re talking, I do it consistently on a regular basis so I think I’ve pretty much maximized my speed but I’m happy with that. And as long as I maintain that you know I’ll be good to go for a long time with that kind of skill set. And I feel like that would be the same for you.
We’ve got time for one more question folks so we’ll take our last question of the week Rennie. Jonah Hamilton from typing.com asks “Is it necessary to use both shift keys to type fast?”
Is it necessary to use both shift keys to type fast? Well first of all you know the keyboard does have a left shift key and a right shift key and the purpose of the shift key is to make capital letters versus lowercase letters. So if I wanted to for example type capital L on the keyboard I would depress the left shift key and hit the L with my right hand. Now if I tried to do that, your question was, ‘can I just use one of those shift keys?, if I try to hold a right shift key down and depressed the letter L. Number one this hand is really not even being occupied you left hand. So number one you definitely want to try to maximize the use of both hands because that’s what we have on our human bodies.
Secondly, I think it’s very difficult as far as coordination goes and a much more difficult reach for you to press the right shift key while trying to hit letters on the right hand side of the keyboard to capitalise those. So to answer your question if you want to increase your typing speed and maximize how many words per minute you’re achieving I would definitely recommend using both the left and right shift keys. It’s why they are there because we have two hands it’s how the eye hand coordination and our motor dexterity skills work. So hopefully that will help you Jonah.
So great questions this week again if we didn’t get to them please submit them and we will get back to you via e-mail and maybe we’ll broadcast them live next week on our 19th episode of #AskEduTyping. We’re coming up on number 20 which is fantastic. We just launched this this school year and we plan to do a whole lot more with it next school year as well. So tune in next week folks we will be back for another episode and also again you can reach us at #AskEduTyping through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and hopefully you’ll submit your questions. We love to get them, so everybody have a great week and I will see you when I’m looking at you next Thursday.
Take care everybody.