Dublin Oak Academy is an international boarding school educating boys from the age of 12 to 16. There are just over 100 students in the school, mostly from Spanish speaking countries including: Mexico, Chile, Venezuela, Spain and Spanish-speaking parts of the USA. They are working towards the Irish Junior Certificate.
In the past they had a computer lab in the school and used a different software but times have changed. Now the computer lab has gone and the boys have moved on to iPads and more recently to Mac Books.
Along the way, however, the touch typing option was lost and Principal Robert Pattison wanted to find a software that would not involve allocating chunks of the timetable for lessons and practice and that could be meet different groups’ needs.
KAZ with its 5 phrases at its core and a bite size approach to learning fitted the bill.
‘Pupils can start touch typing as young as the age of eight,’ he said. ‘They can have a textbook or a piece of paper on the left hand side and be focusing on the text while they are typing it up. They don’t need to be looking down all the time at their fingers and being distracted.’
Mr Pattison bought a license for the whole school and set it up so that three classes had an opportunity to practise their typing twice a week but the accelerated classes could master touch typing in their study periods.
“It was a remarkably effective solution. The boys learnt the basics in hours.” However, Mr Pattison wanted to make sure their motivation was high, so he set up an inter-form competition where the typing champions of each class were pitted against one another.
This generated excitement, so much so that he found boys were neglecting their studies to improve their typing speeds!
Mr Pattison believes that every student at Dublin Oak Academy needs to touch type:
‘It is the professionalism of touch typing that is so important. You don’t expect to see a manager or project leader in the workplace tapping away using just their two forefingers. In this day and age it just looks prehistoric!’