How Keyboarding And Typing May Make You Feel Old, Slow and Dumber
There are many of us who grew up in the days when we did not have email or a cell phones. We had to actually call someone on the phone, write a letter and send it through snail mail or just wait until the next time we saw that person in person. Those of us who grew up with typing in school remember how difficult it was to type without looking at our fingers. We also remember how we had to learn to touch type by using the “touch system” where we had to memorize certain key locations. As any good typist knows, typing is a skill that takes years of practice and refinement. However, when you compare typing today versus typing 10 years ago there are some interesting differences.
In today’s world, technology is everywhere. We have tablets, computers and smartphones. We have a number of devices that are readily available to us for entertainment, work and social purposes. It seems these days that we can’t live without them. We are using technology in our day to day lives more than ever before, and many people can’t help but wonder if these devices are actually making us feel old, slow and dumber?
How? Technology has made it easy for us to multi-task. It has given us the ability to manage several things at once, like checking our email while also finishing up a presentation on PowerPoint or writing a report while watching our favorite sitcom on TV. With all this going on at once, you might think we would be getting more done with the help of technology, but studies show that when we try to take on too much at once, we usually end up performing worse than if we had focused on one thing at a time.
In addition to feeling like we always need to multitask, technology has made it so that most of the things we do can be done in just a few seconds with the touch of a button. While this is great for convenience sake, it leaves some people wondering if they
Keyboarding and typing are different things. Keyboarding is the act of pressing keys on a keyboard, while typing is the act of forming a word or sentence with letters. But to many people, if they see someone touching a keyboard, they automatically think “typing.”
From the mid-1980s to now, we’ve seen an explosion of students learning how to type in school. At that time, most children were introduced to a typewriter and learned how to type on it. Nowadays, this has changed because computers are used in schools more often than typewriters. As a result, computer keyboarding has taken over where typewriters have left off.
Back in the day, typewriters were used as the primary form of writing on paper. But soon after computers became popularized in society, there was a sharp decline in the use of typewriters (although there are some still using it today). When computers came along with its blocky keyboards and tiny lettering for keys on those keyboards that were hard for people to read; there was an immediate need for touch typing (and its cousin: hunt and peck) classes to be introduced into our schools.
Technology has advanced to the point that we have a variety of ways to input information into our computers. We can use a mouse, keyboard, trackpad or even touch screens. Because we are all used to typing on a keyboard since we were kids, it can sometimes be hard to switch to a new input device.
I am going to talk about some of the things that go wrong when people try to switch from keyboards and type on new input devices. I believe that these issues are just as important for people who use speech recognition software as those using other devices.
When I was growing up, I was taught how to type on typewriters and later on computers by taking typing classes in school. When I took my first class in 1991, I learned how to type using the “Home Row” method where your fingers rest on the F and J key. As you type with your left hand, you rest your index finger on the F key and your middle finger rests on the D key and then you do the same thing with your right hand but using the J and K keys. You always look at your hands and fingers as you type instead of staring at the screen. This is an inefficient way of typing because you end up looking down at your hands instead of looking at
The ‘feel’ of typing is like a skill. It takes time and effort to master it. And once you’ve mastered it, you never lose it. A lot of people are able to touch type without going through the whole process of learning how to touch type in a specific way. They actually learn by typing randomly with only one hand or even two. It’s not as efficient as it could be, and they don’t become proficient typists as quickly, but they do learn and that’s what matters.
If you are using your body in an unnatural way, there may be negative side effects, such as pain or injury. If your body isn’t designed for something, it will take some time for your body to adapt and become more effective at doing the task at hand. The same goes for learning to type with the wrong fingers, because your brain has been trained to use those fingers in a different way than they were originally intended for. In other words, if you learn to type with the wrong fingers, your brain will keep telling you this is normal and acceptable!
Even though you might think that learning how to type with the right fingers is all that matters, it isn’t! The
I’m not a Luddite; I like computers and the internet. But typing is the most annoying thing about them, and it’s bad for your brain too.
Typing is for people who can’t write, because writing is much faster than typing.
Typing is a slow way of communicating. You press each key down with a finger, and then you have to pause while the letter appears on the screen. And if it’s wrong you have to stop and fix it, which means stopping your train of thought while you press more keys to move the cursor back and then type something else.
If you’re writing a letter, do you stop after every word? No, that would be silly. You write down whole phrases at a time: “Dear Bob,” “I saw Peter today,” “He looked good.” It’s faster that way because you don’t have to think about where to put your fingers on each individual letter. Writing is based on patterns of letters, not sequences of finger motions. Typing forces you to think in terms of finger motions instead of words and phrases, and that makes it much slower than writing by hand.
The problem with the keyboard is that it was designed for a different time and a different culture, one where writing and typing were more of an elite skill. In fact, the QWERTY keyboard was designed to slow down typists so as not to jam mechanical typewriters.
The WASD/arrow keys layout is also a relic of an earlier time. The WASD keys started out on mainframe computers as a replacement for the arrow keys, which did not exist at the time. The arrow keys were added later when PCs came out, but by then the WASD layout had become standard.
But we still have what we have because that’s what we’ve always had.