For the first lesson of this new year of life, I will focus on improving my typing skills, and re-learning to type properly using all 10 fingers. Since finishing college, my typing speed and accuracy has been in decline, and even in college I did not use proper typing technique. It certainly doesn’t help that the majority of my typing is now done on a smartphone in the form of brief messages.
To begin, I looked through a number of sites that offer free online typing lessons in all different styles and formats. I settled on a primary site to facilitate learning (Typing Web: http://www.typingweb.com/tutor/), and two secondary sites to use for testing and specific exercises (10 Fast Fingers: http://10fastfingers.com/typing-test/english; Peter’s Online Typing Course: http://www.typing-lessons.org/). I prefer Typing Web because it allows me to easily monitor my progress through the lessons and speed/accuracy tests over time by simply signing up for a free account (no e-mail required). The website is also laid out in a very simple manner that is easy to navigate and it is not distracting. I like 10 Fast Fingers for the straightforward words per minute (wpm) test; 60 seconds to type as much of the provided word list as possible, and it reveals how your score compares to others posted in the past 24 hours. Unfortunately, there is not much else to do on this site. And finally, Peter’s Online Typing Course provides lots of straightforward exercises, and some preliminary literature on proper typing.
I also did a quick search on proper typing posture, and came across this very detailed list of ‘Ergonomic Guidelines’ on the Cornell University Ergonomics Web (http://ergo.human.cornell.edu/ergoguide.html). I do not have the resources to comply with all of their recommendations, but I have set up a workstation at the table instead of just sitting on the couch as I usually do, and am making adjustments within my means. And finally, I have modified a shoe box to cover my keyboard while practicing so that I cannot look at the keyboard while typing, which is how I learned to type in grade school
Today’s 10 Fast Fingers’ WPM Results:
Without box, incorrect typing method: 62wpm
With box, incorrect typing method: 37wpm
Without box, focusing on correct finger placement: 22wpm
With box, focusing on correct finger placement: 14wpm
Clearly, there is lots of room for improvement.
1 week goal: 55wpm, proper typing, not looking at the keyboard.