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What Touch Typing Can Do For Your Memory

Touch typing is a skill most of us practice daily, though we are rarely conscious of the process. In a way, this is because it quickly becomes an automated practice, much like riding a bike
or knitting.

Touch typing is a cognitively complex process that rests on the body’s ability to develop what is called “muscle memory.” When we learn to touch type, we are essentially teaching our hands and brains to coordinate with one another so that we can press the right keys in the right sequence to form orthographically correct words every single time.

Touch typing requires building muscle memory to truly master it. In order to become an efficient touch typist you need to improve your typing accuracy. In order to consider yourself a competent typist, your error percentage (mistyped words) needs to be very low: at about 1-5% .

The great thing about touch typing is that once you master touch typing accuracy, you can easily improve your touch typing speed through continuous practice. But what does building touch typing accuracy really entail?

Keyboarding: A stunning cognitive process

We’re exceptional intelligent creatures who easily adjust and master new skills and technologies in relatively little time, often with exceptional results.

When you touch type on a keyboard what you’re basically doing is training the muscles of your hands and fingers to remember where each fingertip goes. In other words, touch typing is a motor learning skill you learn through consistent, repetitive keyboarding practice.

Through repetitive practice you allow muscle memory consolidation; that is, you allow your fingers and hands to remember and recall in a matter of milliseconds where to go next. This happens so smoothly and efficiently for people who type at more than 75 words per minute that the process is rather astonishing to watch – their fingers move so quickly and accurately, it’s almost as if they’re moving by themselves!

In fact, they are moving by themselves. Muscle memory has taken over and there is no need for the brain to interfere with the seamless flow of movement. By using touch typing software, you can accelerate this process; good typing software allows you to improve your hands’ muscle memory so that you can touch type with virtually no conscious effort by the time you finish the course. This lets you to think about other things while you are typing, and still manage to type out sentences that make sense. If you’re a writer, it’s particularly important to be able to keep up with your thoughts.

Once you build muscle memory, touch typing becomes an easy and automated cognitive process; you don’t need to be conscious of your fingers or the keyboard layout to type correctly, you only need to think of words in your head, and they’ll almost magically appear on your monitor.

Keyboarding: A multi-sensory, multi-faculty process

Touch typing is an example of how different brain faculties work hand in hand like a well-oiled machine.

Touch typing engages a number of different brain areas and skills. When you touch type, you engage your language and memory faculties, your attention, and your motor skills and coordination, all in order for the output to make sense.

By retraining your motor skills through typing exercises, you ensure your ability keep touch typing with accuracy. Once your accuracy is established, you’ll be able to work on speed. Your hands and fingers will be agile and precise, giving you fine motor accuracy – and that means you will no longer make as many typos.

You can definitely say you’ve mastered touch typing when this muscle memory consolidation is complete. Once learned, you’ll retain high levels of touch typing accuracy and speed even if you no longer practice the skill on a daily basis.

Of course, it goes without saying that since touch typing is a muscle memory based skill, by practicing it more you become better and better over time.

Touch typing is an example of how the brain allows you to learn new skills in a short time and with impressive results through the simple process of building muscle memory in your hands and fingers and engaging several brain faculties in a coordinated effort. Muscle memory is just one aspect of memory, and typing helps improve it, and keep it in tip top shape.

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What Touch Typing Can Do For Your Memory

Tips on Cleaning A Very Dusty Keyboard

First, clean the keys.

1) Begin by removing all keys

2) Put the keys in a container with a tight-fitting lid

3) Cleaning time! Fill the container with a mixture of water and dish soap

4) Shake shake shake (look, bubbles!)

5) Pour the keys into a colander and rinse under cold running water

6) Get a paper towel and lay out the keys to air dry

Now, the keyboard!

1) Turn the keyboard upside down and tap it gently to remove large pieces of dust and debris

2) Use a compressed air cylinder to blow out smaller pieces of dirt

3) After removing all dirt, get a disinfecting cloth and wipe your keyboard down

4) Once keyboard and keys have dried completely, reattach the keys

Voila! Your keyboard looks brand new!

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Tips on Cleaning A Very Dusty Keyboard

7 Ways Multi-Tasking Affects Your Life

Contrary to popular belief, multi-tasking is a counterproductive approach to getting things done. It essentially means dividing up your attention and cognitive energy to multiple sub-tasks, which has proven to not be as effective as many time management gurus would have you believe. First of all, it is impossible to simultaneously deal with two tasks, because your mind can only focus on one thing at a time. When you switch from one task to another, it interrupts any creative, cognitive, and mental processes, forcing you to backtrack and regroup when you try to pick up your previous train of thought. The result? A lot of time wasted, and poor results on most of the projects – if you get any results at all. Here’s why multi-tasking can slow you down:

Multi-tasking is poor time management

Instead of focusing your energy on a single task, having to quickly switch between different tasks ultimately doesn’t let you be as productive as you would be if you were only working on one thing. Think of the time you waste trying to get up to speed and resume a project you left 20 minutes ago, only to switch to a third task because it has become a priority for the day.

Multi-tasking distracts you from completing any project efficiently

Multitasking achieves only one thing: putting a lot of projects and tasks on your to-do list. Unfortunately, you are generally left with many projects on the line and none of them completed. When you focus on a single task, you’re more productive. As a result, you complete the task much faster.

Multitasking is stressful

Multitasking leads to anxiety-packed workdays. We think that taking care of many tasks at the same time will help us complete them faster, but the truth is that we only add stress to our lives. Just thinking about the long list and becoming disconcerted by the mere volume and effort these projects call for can stress you out before you even begin.

Feeling anxious, distressed, and unproductive are only a few side effects of multi-tasking. Many people experience intense psychosomatic side effects because of it, leading to long-term health problems.

You’re not mindful of the process — you don’t process at all!

Picture yourself gulping down your dinner while you’re watching TV and also talking to your partner about how their day has gone. You’re not savoring the aromas, textures, and tastes of your meal, you’re robotically going through multiple processes. You might not even be able to describe what you ate, afterwards.

Multi-tasking prevents us from being mindful of our present state of being and of the true demands and nature of a given task. Eating is a pleasurable experience, as is communicating with your partner and watching your favorite TV show. Respect yourself enough to devote your undivided attention to every one of them, one at a time.

You have no energy or memory left to be creative and innovative

Multi-tasking is an energy-depleting practice. It will eventually drain all your creativity and innovative thinking because you’ve got little working memory left to actually devote to these cognitively heavy processes.

You’ll lose out on your chance to experience and savor life

We miss out on a lot of everyday joy and pleasure when we’re multi-tasking. Looking at your tablet screen while your kids play around in the park, having friends over only to preoccupy yourself with an important business call – all of these steal precious, unique times you’re not getting back.

Glorifying being busy is ultimately self-destructive

We believe that busy-ness equals success. What busy-ness really means sometimes is nothing more than “I have no time for myself” instead of “I have accomplished something.”

Stop multi-tasking and start focusing on one important thing at a time. You’ll find that you have much more time in the end to enjoy the world around you, and you’ll find that your focused attention and lowered stress levels make you more productive in the end.

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7 Ways Multi-Tasking Affects Your Life

5 Apps That Can Be Useful In Making Your Goals Achievable

You always start out with the best of intentions. This week, this month, this year you will let go of your old routines and bad habits and embrace new, more helpful ones. However, you soon realize it’s next to impossible to stick to your new health and success promoting habits without a little support and encouragement. What once seemed a conquerable goal now fades into the distance – can you possibly get there from here?

Technology to the rescue!

Thankfully, technology can help you stick to your efforts and help you to realize any goal you set. The following apps will help motivate you, track your progress, and remind you why you started on those goals to begin with.

1. Goal Tracker

With a self-explanatory name, this Android app helps you set goals and articulate your dreams, no matter their size, difficulty, or importance. A goal or new habit can be as simple as waking up early every morning, or as time-consuming as learning Japanese fluently. By sending you a reminder each day, Goal Tracker ensures you stay on track.

2. Ultimate Typing

Developed by eReflect touch typing experts, this software lets you define a habit or goal, make a “bet” with yourself and set stakes on it, and even get a video tutorial to help you start working towards conquering that goal.

The option of having money at stake is what makes Ultimate Typing an appealing program. The more you have at stake, the more serious you are in committing to a goal. If your goal is to improve your typing efficiency, Ultimate Typing will offer you motivation to work daily at this practice, until you achieve it. The great thing about achieving a goal like touch typing is that it gives you the skill you need to reach other goals – faster typing helps students get through assignments quickly and without grade-lowering errors, and top typists are always in demand in the job market.

3. 43 Things

One reason why people fail to stick to their new habits is that they’re often alone in a scary adventure.  43 Things perfectly understood this and developed their app, which is actually more of a goal-setting and sharing community. Having others pursuing the same goal as you are gives you a set of new friends who can offer support, motivation, and tips on how to stick to a new habit.

You’re not alone, as you’ll soon discover! If you’re always falling behind in your schedule, for example, you can join fellow procrastinators in your struggle to never put off a task for later. Turn to 43 Things for support and inspiration by people like you around the globe.

4. Don’t Break The Chain

This app was inspired by comedian Jerry Seinfeld, who allegedly came up with this technique as a useful motivational tool. It helps you stick to your habits and goals by challenging you not to break the “chain” of a new habit. For each day you successfully follow your new habit, that day is marked red on a calendar display. The visual appeal of having more and more red-marked days in a row is what motivates you to stick to the habit. Simple, but brilliant.

5. Mint

Mint is a popular money-management app that helps you stick to your financial goals. The app organizes your spending in meaningful categories so that you can get a clear understanding of how reckless or smart your money decisions are at any time.

What’s more important, Mint lets you specifically set money-related goals and provides tools to help you reach them, from retirement to getting out of debt. Mint is the go-to app for becoming the master of your own financial world.

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5 Apps That Can Be Useful In Making Your Goals Achievable

Are Classrooms Ready For Wearable Tech?

As if social media and Ed tech weren’t enough, now teachers have a new headache: what to do about wearable technology.

Whether wearable tech has positive, useful applications in the classroom is currently up for debate, but as with every new technological advancement, with proper training for both educator and student, new technology has the capability of providing substantial benefits in schools.

From Google Glasses to smart watches and productivity wristbands, teachers have a lot of assessment and experimentation to do in order to find wearable technology they can use in their classrooms.

Google Glasses

While this is a costly technology, and one that for many schools is not sustainable, these voice-activated computer glasses can have a large array of applications in the classroom, allowing students and teachers a new level of interactive, tech-based learning experience that drives learning forward.

One widely accepted use of the Google Glass in the classroom is for creating first-person videos.

Smart Watches

Smart watches are better understood as smartphone hardware extensions. You can operate and control several mobile-operating apps through a smart wristwatch to increase productivity, collaboration, and overall improve class efficiency during classroom activities and learning.

While there’s still a long way to go before this information-displaying wearable tech finds its way into classrooms worldwide, its usefulness needs to be explored and evaluated.

A smart watch could have an astonishing number of applications, from allowing students to submit questions to a lecturer during a presentation to getting smarter notifications on important meetings and events. A smart watch can even turn into a digital personal assistant.

Wristbands for PE

Given the grim statistics on child obesity, any way technology can help fight this global epidemic is more than welcome. Wristbands that track steps, sleep patterns, physical activity, and overall student fitness can help with weight management and health monitoring both in and out of school.

Tracking everyday activity can give people of any age a reality check as to the amount of physical activity they engage in, or help them monitor any irregular dieting and sleeping patterns. These tools can become the springboard for adopting healthier habits.

Some wristbands like Lark Life can help students track more than their physical activity, expanding tracking to things like their dieting and sleeping habits. This allows the device to become a personalized coach that motivates and keeps students on track.

Wearable technology offers impressive and useful gadgets to improve a student’s learning experience. Even though it is still too early to measure the true impact of wearable tech, the future is definitely bright.

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Are Classrooms Ready For Wearable Tech?

Love Typing Emoji Instead of Words? You Will Surely Adore This New Idea.

Getting used on typing emojis instead of words?

A Kickstarter Campaign by Disk Cactus has finally launched a silicone keyboard cover plus software in every Mac. The Emoji Keyboard is a product which combines hardware and software to transform your simple Mac Keyboard into an emoji typing machine. Your favorite emoji is now right beneath your fingertips plus you can look cool too!

Check Out The Cool Emoji Keyboard From Disk Cactus!

You Can Change The Keyboard Layout By Simply Adding The Emoji Silicon Cover

Get Endless Emoji By Pressing the Caps Lock Button… The Software Installed Will Automatically Do The Magic!

Spice Up Conversation With These Cool Keyboard Now…

And Touch Type Your Way With Emoji!

What can you say? Excited for this new trend?

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Love Typing Emoji Instead of Words? You Will Surely Adore This New Idea.

How Keyboard Creators Came Up With The QWERTY Layout

Ever wonder why the keys on your keyboard are structured they way they are? Why should “Q” be next to “W” and not beside “F”? Is there a specific reason why the letters “B”, “N” and “M” are on the last key row?

The QWERTY keyboard layout was meant to boost your typing speed by slowing it down. Let us explain.

The QWERTY keyboard doesn’t have a random layout, as it might initially seem. The developer of the QWERTY typewriter layout, Christopher Sholes, had in fact based the layout of his keyboard on one simple principle: how to make typists type more efficiently by avoiding typebar jamming.

The QWERTY keyboard was first introduced on typewriters, as you know. The problem with early mechanical typewriters was related to their underlying mechanism, where each key was connected to a typebar or metal arm. Each time the typist pressed on a key then a movement was initiated in which the letter bar would strike an ink-filled tape. Behind this tape was the paper on which the character pressed by the typist was printed.

The structure of the typewriter however, meant that the keys and arms were rather crowded, and if you were to press two adjacent keys at the same time or very rapidly one after the other, then the typebars would almost always jam. There was not enough space in between them, which caused jamming of the bars if a typist was super fast.

Christopher Sholes had the ingenious idea of making touch typing harder and slower, on the theory that this would fix the bar jamming issue. Instead of figuring a way to avoid jamming by placing the keys physically farther apart, he thought that by placing the most common letters in the English alphabet as far as possible from one another, this would significantly slow down the typist and avoid bar jamming. Bar jamming meant that the typist’s flow was often interrupted and with Shole’s layout, bar jamming was reduced and typing become faster and more efficient.

The QWERTY keyboard layout was sold to Remington by Sholes and Glidden and since then it’s been the dominant keyboard layout. Even other keyboard layouts like the Dvorak haven’t yet threatened QWERTY’s dominance.

The Remington No. 2 in 1878 became the typewriter model that catapulted the QWERTY keyboard layout into unprecedented popularity. It was the first typewriter to introduce the shift key, which allowed for typing both upper and lower case letters.

Alternatives to the QWERTY keyboard

The Dvorak layout was invented by August Dvorak. He thought that the QWERTY layout was neither ergonomic nor efficient in terms of touch typing speed. Several other keyboard layout exists, such as the Colemak, the Maltron, and the Half QWERTY for smartphones, but the QWERTY is still the unquestionable winner.

Have you ever tried an alternative keyboard layout?

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How Keyboard Letter Position Affects Our Attitude Towards People, Brands & Words

Would you believe it if someone told you that your attitude towards people and things might be affected by which keys you use to type out their names? A new study suggests it’s true.

People have a friendlier, more positive feeling towards people, brands, things, and even words if the words and names are typed using mostly right-side keyboard keys.

The study by cognitive researchers K. Jasmin and D. Casasanto looked into how use of each side of a keyboard, left or right, affects the way people feel about different words, people, and things.

For instance, if your name is typed using mostly left-hand keys, then people are more likely to have an unconsciously negative bias towards you. On the other hand, if your name (take “John” for instance) can be typed out using mostly right-hand key strokes, then people will be more positively influenced. The study showed that this subliminal disposition applies whether a person is typing a name, writing something about a specific subject, or simply typing out a word.

In this research study, the participants were asked to evaluate how they felt about random English, Dutch, and Spanish words. Language was not the defining factor for their evaluations, because none of the participants knew all three languages. Instead, the focus was on which keyboard side the letters that made up that word fell on. But why is this such a significant factor?

The researchers pointed out that the left hand’s job is more intense and possibly stressful, because it is in charge of 15 letters as opposed to only 11 for the right hand. This makes it easier for your right hand to write words that mostly use right-side keyboard letters, because the workload is lighter.

Are  we really more efficient with right-hand keyboard typing?

No matter where letters are placed on a keyboard, when typists know the right typing technique and have worked on their typing accuracy, then they can easily and effectively type any word, no matter the location of its constituent letters.

Essentially, for a skilled typist, there’s no stress on either hand, and so there’s no “right type” of words, or words that have fewer negative feelings. Proficient typists can type equally well with both of their hands, irrespective of their hand preference and the letter location.

Of course, during the first few sessions of typing practice you might find that you have better control and finger agility in your dominant hand, but through rigorous practice both your hands will be able to accurately and effectively type any word correctly and quickly. In this way, no matter what side of the keyboard you use to type a word, it won’t affect your feelings toward it, either way you’ll find it’s an effortless activity!

In other words, keyboarding is better thought of as a skill you develop from scratch, and one where hand dominance doesn’t really affect your overall keyboarding efficiency.

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Can Tablets and Smartphones Really Harm Babies? This is Frightening…

3 Minutes: All You Need To Get An Idea Of Appropriate Tools For Your Child’s Early Language Development

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Research Help For Students and Adults – Thank You, Google!

“Research paper” is a phrase that can send chills down any student’s spine. It can involve so much more stress than a pop quiz and more disappointment than a cancelled school trip.

Google has come to the rescue once more, by helping students, academics, and anyone else in need of rigorous, expert-level research tools to complete their research quickly and accurately.

Research is now primarily digital. We don’t go to a library to reference books and hard copy journals like we did ten years ago. As technologies advance we are in fact expected to have at our disposal tech-driven research that could make library visits entirely redundant.

Testimony to this growing trend of using the Internet, and Google in particular, for school research needs is the response by teachers. When teachers were surveyed and asked what they thought the most likely tool their students use for research is, the respondents said that at least 94% of US students use Google.

According to the same Pew Internet survey,  teachers believe that 75% of their students are very likely to use Wikipedia and other online encyclopedias when doing their research. YouTube and social media sites come third, with a 52% likelihood.

While students still consult study guides like Cliff Notes, Sparknotes, and major news organizations and agencies, Google is the go-to source thanks to its many and varied research tools.

Google Scholar

Google Scholar is a service that gives access to journal articles, theses, studies, books, and content abstracts. It is widely used by undergraduate and graduate students due to its academic focus.

Google Scholar indexes a large percentage of the most prestigious peer-reviewed journals both in digital and physical-scanned form.

Google Books

This is the library of libraries. Users can peruse and read abstracts or entire books for free. Many books are even available through Google Play as well, through the Android app store.

As of April 2013, Google Books features  more than 30 million scanned books, all at the disposition of aspiring researchers and students.

Google Earth

Science, math, and astronomy research often ends up on Google Earth and Google Maps, where students find accurate, up to date information and facts about entire countries and our wider solar system.

Research tools alone, however, are not enough for effective online research. Apart from a powerful research tool you also need good typing skills. By typing quickly and accurately you ensure your research is completed on time. Combining the research tools offered by Google and greatkeyboarding skills ensures you make the most out of the Internet in how well-structured and in-depth your research papers are – and how quickly you get them done.

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Research Help For Students and Adults – Thank You, Google!