Applications and Software

KAZ: Why a little competition is no bad thing

Keene Braganza, managing director, KAZ Type Limited, describes the benefits of launching an international competition
Boy receiving touch typing trophy
Mew Hansiriphan of Shrewsbury School with his winning trophy and certificate

The jury is out when it comes to competition. Some believe it can cause aggression and set individuals against one another, running against that spirit of cooperation and collaboration that schools work so hard to foster. Others believe that competition can make children anxious so they don’t focus on the task in hand and almost rule themselves out of any contest before it begins.

However, at KAZ we like the idea of competition because we are all about improving touch typing speeds and confidence, helping people build their skills and speed to levels they did not believe were possible. So, we looked at ways to make our competition accessible to all comers.

In the beginning

The idea of a competition started when we interviewed Robert Pattison, principal of Dublin Oak Academy, an international boarding school educating boys from the age of 12 to 16. He was keen to find some touch typing software that would not involve allocating too much time for lessons and practice.

The boys learnt the basics in hours but Mr Pattison wanted to make sure they remained motivated 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! Obviously, the competition had fired them up.

Soon we were hearing a similar story from other schools. Alan Tsui is now Academic Enrichment Programmed Leader at Willow Brook Primary School Academy in East London. He came across KAZ Type in 2014 when he was working at a Central London Independent Preparatory School: ‘The children I was working with at the time were very enthused by it, especially being able to challenge each other with their typing speeds. Many were also partly motivated by the fact that I had set them a personal challenge to exceed my typing speed.’

The launch

Last Christmas we decided to run a competition for schools across the globe that were using KAZ Type. We have students from countries as far apart as Malaysia and South Africa and we wanted them all to have a fair chance. We launched it in January with the slogan ‘Go online and test your speeds against the best of the best.’

The competition ran from January 10th – June 30th, 2020. The student with the highest number of words per minute would be awarded a KAZ Touch Typing Winner’s Certificate and a City & Guilds licence. The winning school would receive The KAZ Touch Typing Trophy 2020, a year’s free subscription to KAZ, as well as press and social media publicity.

The advantages of our competition

  • Schools could join in at any time
  • Children could test their speeds at a time and place to suit them – this was very handy as it turned out!
  • Students could take the timed test as often as they wished and their best score would be saved
  • A leader board would be published on the KAZ site each month so students could see if they were on a par with the highfliers
  • The result was to be announced in July so they had five months to enter

Schools with a KAZ licence could check up on student progress at any time. This meant that individual schools could run their own in-house tournaments and maybe even pitch staff against students.

Levelling the playing field

One of the concerns with competitions is that so often it is the same few people who enter and win. But a good competition should be open to all and should offer opportunities for students who are not always in the top tier.

One of the big advantages of KAZ is that there is a version for people with dyslexia and other neurodiverse conditions. Its special feature ensure dyslexia learners can succeed with touch typing:

  • The unique ‘preference screen’ minimises visual disturbances
  • Its proven Accelerated Learning teaching method using ‘brain balance’
  • It develops ‘muscle memory’ – so spellings become engrained
  • It is specially formulated so it does not overload the working memory
  • It builds confidence and self-esteem

It took our company two years of development, plus advice and support from the Dyslexia Research Trust to create the SEN / Dyslexia version which has proved effective for learners with dyslexia, dyspraxia, dysgraphia, ASD, ADHD and Tourette’s.

And the winner is …

Mew Hansiriphan of Shrewsbury School was crowned champion, with a score of 65 WPM and 89% accuracy.

Touch typing is one of the activities on offer at all pupils at Shrewsbury as part of the school’s co-curricular societies program. It is very popular with pupils and is championed enthusiastically by teacher Karen Mitchell, head of learning support.

She said: ‘Our pupils very much enjoyed the challenge of taking part in the KAZ Worldwide Touch Typing Tournament. We were thrilled to be told that the competition had been won  by one of our fifth formers (Year 10s). Mew worked extremely hard at improving his touch typing speed and accuracy and he is to be warmly congratulated for his achievement.’

We would like to add our congratulations too!

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