Frequently Asked Typing Questions
NimbleFingers Program - Audience
Keyboarding exercises have been developed with the learner's needs in mind. As teachers, we have attempted a "trade-off" between short sentences containing simplistic topics, and the need of a learner to enjoy what they are doing.
Simplistic topics often result in learners losing interest. Our exercises are varied and often a little "off-beat" to stimulate interest.
Even the NimbleFingers program for beginning students, Busy Fingers, has typing exercises dealing with "Aesop's Fables" and "Weird Notes" (unusual musical instruments).
KIds and adults become bored unless you have activities taylor-made to them.
We are VERY serious on one point: We will always respect your time. We try to make learning fun, but we take a "no-nonsense" approach to teaching.
What I'm trying to say, is that we do not like games! Yes, we try to make learning enjoyable. Yes, we offer music as a "reward", but even the music is used sparingly. Numerous typing exercises? Yes! Games? No!!
Each touch typing - keyboarding exercise reinforces all keystrokes. So, when you see sentences that are "slightly unusual" it wasn't our poor English. We use words that are designed to reinforce all the keystroke reaches while striving to maintain interest.
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How is the Learner Evaluated?
The Little Professor evaluates the learner's progress to identify possible areas for improvement. If you have a "bad day" and things don't work out right, you can expect to be sent "back to the classroom" for additional practice on troublesome keys.
The Little Professor will check to determine:
A determination is made if a posture change would solve the problem.
Errors are evaluated to determine possible patterns.
Upper row errors may occur because you are sitting too far away from the keyboard. Your wrists may be too low.
Middle row errors may be solved by home row key practices.
Bottom row errors may occur because you are sitting too close to the keyboard. Your wrists may be too high.
There are hundreds of "built-in" specialized exercises designed to address particular finger-keystoke errors.
When the Little Professor appears and tells you that you are sitting too close to the keyboard, and your wrists are too low, don't panic. There really isn't a "live" person watching over your shoulder. The brief "Back to the classroom" exercises recommended where selected with a lot of care.
Target Speed Target speed increases as learners develop more skills. The Little Professor evaluates how the learner performs against target speed: Gross words per minute; adjusted words per minute (adjusted for number of mistakes].
Report Card Blues
Assuming the learner hasn't made an unacceptable level of errors, the learner may record speed and accuracy in their report card. The report card keeps track of progress on the 500+ program exercises.
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Is a Workbook Needed?
A workbook is not needed. Besides, the workbook would be the size of the New York phone directory. It would contain millions of key word combinations, as well as numerous timed exercises.
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The Little Professor guides users in learning touch typing. Additional practice will often be required, and he will point out what went wrong. He will recommend specialized exercises to address the problem.
If you know how to type, you definitely have an easier time because you can skip the Beginning Keystrokes section and start with the Skill Building exercises.
However, what often happens with people who know the basic keystroke patterns is that hesitation tends to "creep in" with certain keystroke. Improper keystrokes may have developed and will need to be corrected to fully develop touch typing skills.
So, don't be too quick in skipping the Beginning Keystrokes section. It would not hurt to reinforce the basic skills.
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I know how to type. Is this program really useful to me?
If you already have a smooth, quick and accurate style, then you don't need NimbleFingers.
But, if you hesitate between keystrokes, or have to think of the individual letters in common words, then I can help. What often happens with people who know the basic keystroke patterns is that bad habits tend to develop. The Little Professor will offer the learner suggestions to help develop their skills.
The "Flash Cards" section will develop your ability to look at common words such as "the" and type the whole word without thinking of the individual letters "t," "h," and "e." See the write up on flash cards for more details.
When these skills are mastered, you will be able to "set your mind free" when you use a word processor or e-mail. That is, you will be able to concentrate on the thought at hand, and not have to think about which key to press.
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Initially, the learner can record an exercise as "completed" even if 30 typing errors are made . That is, errors are virtually ignored in the initial exercises.
But, errors are Mother Nature's way of telling us, something is not correct. So, after the Beginning Keystroke exercises, the Little Professor gradually encourages the learner to try for increased accuracy as well as speed.
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To get the obvious question in your mind out of the way that may be still bothering you ... YES! We monitor posture while keyboarding!
Of course, the Little Professor is not actually "looking" at the learner, but he takes a very active role in monitoring errors to identify if there is a pattern to the errors.
For example, often upper row errors are made if the learner's wrists are too low, (such as resting on the keyboard). On the other hand, if the wrists are held too high, often bottom row errors occur. The Professor quickly and quietly performs a statistical analysis of the keystroke errors to detect if posture is the underlying cause.
In addition to "normal" error detection, the Professor uses a proprietary artificial intelligence scheme, and compares the errors over a series of exercises to detect underlying statistical patterns.
If the statistical analysis identifies an error pattern associated with posture, this problem is identified. A picture of the desired posture, or the desired wrist - hand positions, or for that matter the position of the elbows, are then shown to the learner.
The learner is asked to check his posture/position to assure the correct keystroke patterns will develop.
Notice how powerful one of the many posture messages becomes in the below screen. A picture is worth a thousand words, isn't it?
Tom, you had 10 top row errors in this exercise.
Take a look to see if your wrists are too low, or if you are resting your wrists on the keyboard.
Tom, Do not let your wrists become "lazy" as shown.
Notice how the Little Professor encourages the learner to take corrective action. The message is personalized by use of the person's first name, in this case "Tom." Actual data is used to encourage the learner to concentrate on developing the correct keystroke patterns.
Notice how you read the above message carefully. Suppose this message was addressed to you, using your name. I bet you would make the necessary adjustments to improve your touch typing skills.
Of course, most reinforcement is provided in a positive manner.
Tom, please check that your elbows are tucked in,
next to your side as shown.
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Calculating Words Per Minute
Typing Words Per Minute (WPM) is calculated after the learner completes an exercise. Then Adjusted Words Per Minute which equals WPM - Number of Errors, is calculated.
Learners should strive to exceed a rate of 25 Adjusted WPM to "lock in" their newly acquired skills.
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Are the Nimble Fingers programs really free?
You can try any of the NimbleFingers programs for free but some features are unavailable until you register.
The idea is that if you like the typing programs, you will want to register it. There is no time limit on the trial version, but there is a limit on the number of exercises which can be utilized. We want you to feel comfortable with the program before registering it, and paying the registration fee.
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Set up a schedule. Unless you establish a "schedule for learning" it is all too easy to find an excuse for not practicing. The Little Professor never promised you a rose garden. It takes practice to develop touch-keyboarding skills.
Do you have an extra fifteen minutes? Then you can complete a couple of practice exercises. It might not sound like much, but you have helped develop your typing skills.
Type without looking at the keys. Use a quick stroke to strike each key. Do not “press” or “mash” the key. Strike the key quickly and move on!
Sit erect. Your feet should be flat on the floor. Poor posture is tiring and leads to typing errors.
Two things are needed to develop sound skills. First, you must have a desire to learn. You cannot learn to type by reading and then banging away at the keys. Second, assistance is needed - for guidance while you learn, to recommend corrective lessons when necessary, and to analyzing your progress. The Little Professor will be your private tutor.
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