Friday, August 19, 2011

More Technology, Less Productivity: Touch Typing

Technology Review has a post noticing that many schools don't teach typing anymore: kids are learning to type on their own, on multiple gadgets and in different ways.

When I had typing class, back in 1957-8, I was possibly the only male in the class, definitely just a handful.  My sister had ordered me to learn to type; she had picked up money by typing college papers for a bunch of males who didn't know how.  Not being the most coordinated of people, I struggled with the class for a good while.  Then finally the drills kicked in, and I was able to pass the 40 wpm test with relative ease.  Later in a work environment, I was able to push my speed even faster.  Though I worked with Ralph Olson, who had started work as a typist for Social Security Administration after WWII, and talked of the high standards they used to have to maintain and how far the current generation (me and the younger people in the office) had fallen away from the standards.

I suppose the need for speed and accuracy in typing is related to the degree to which the typist is serving another's needs and the ability with which errors can be corrected.  So the need for fast touch typists diminishes with the years, just as the need for shoe repairman has diminished. 

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