What’s Your Type?
by Nick Nebelsky
This year will mark 35 years since I graduated from high school. When I think back to all the subjects I took, one stands out from all the rest. It’s not that it was my favorite class nor did I even excel at it. In fact, I think I barely passed. The class I’m talking about was typing! It was a foundation class, which meant it was for people who had never taken typing before. It’s the only class from high school that I use every day and have continually used every day, with the exception of driver’s ed. Typing has enabled me to write screenplays in shorter amounts of time. To write my first novel faster than I ever imagined possible. If it weren’t for learning how to type using the QWERTY system, I’m not sure I would love to write as much as I do today.
The basics of typing back then was to practice – again and again and again. It was redundant and didn’t really make me a better typist. What I believe made a difference was buying computer software packages such as Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing that used games to make you think you were playing, but in essence was really teaching you how to type. That, and needing to know how to type for several of my jobs, made a huge difference. So it got me thinking about what teenagers do now. I rarely see younger kids typing using the QWERTY method. Instead I see kids and adults using the “hunt and peck” system while typing texts and messages with ferocity. This got me to wondering, “Are schools even teaching typing anymore? Is the QWERTY system a lost art?” Maybe teachers need to focus on what students are doing now on their smart phones. Maybe there should be a Texting 101 or a Messaging and Email 101.
It seems that a lot of games today could be developed to increase one’s typing acumen. What made typing for me so much fun were the games. It was learning without realizing I was learning. It all happened naturally.
What’s to say which way is the right way? Every night, I play games on the Lumosity app. It was created to help people, especially older people, improve on their brain activity. Lumosity created a series of games that help with memory, dexterity, speed, flexibility, attention, and problem-solving skills. The games are fun, and if they help even a little bit with any of the above-mentioned brain skills, I think it’s a worthwhile activity.
Making learning fun is only half the battle, though. Practice will make perfect, but doing something that you love every day is a great way to enrich your life, and if it helps you write better stories, all the more power to you. My hope is that educators, teachers, and software developers continue to help students learn while making it fun.
For more than 30 years, Nicholas Nebelsky has created everything from greeting cards to short stories to children’s books to trade show presentations to screenplays and radio dramas. He currently spends his days listening to a lot of music while writing his first YA novel and contemplating his next venture. For additional information, please visit his web site.