What is Ergonomic Keyboard & How Is It Designed?





Ergonomic keyboards are keyboards designed for professionals, students, and anyone else who is required to touch type repetitively and for long amounts of time

An ergonomic keyboard has specific design features to ensure a pleasant and pain-free keyboarding experience, even if you touch type for the greater part of your eight-hour long work day.

Ergonomic Keyboards: A Definition

To understand what an ergonomic keyboard is, you must first understand why they were created in the first place.

Normal keyboards are not what you call optimal when it comes to how they’re designed. They often value form over function, or are just plain painful to use, hear, and work on.

Common keyboards, usually older versions, are not ideal for repetitive keyboarding because they haven’t been designed with user comfort in mind. They force you to place your wrists at uncomfortable flat positions and over time they damage or inflame your tendons, often resulting in carpal tunnel syndrome (among other health issues).

On the other hand, an ergonomic keyboard has been designed for optimum user comfort and performance. It keeps your wrists and hands at a position that feels more natural for your wrists, making it easy to touch type for hours on end without any issue.

An ergonomically designed keyboard offers the support you need to touch type without putting your hands’ health at risk.

Ergonomic Keyboards Recommended by Health Professionals

Ergonomic keyboards are designed for minimizing your risk for repetitive stress injury and carpal tunnel syndrome. As a result, by using such a keyboard you can touch type for more hours without worrying about wrist or finger inflammation. Of course, applying the whole spectrum of ergonomics at the office is what will ensure you stave off any office-related injuries. An ergonomic keyboard is not a cure-all.

Health professionals recommend the use of ergonomic keyboards in the workplace as they can help the user touch type faster and avoid muscle and tendon strain.

How are ergonomic keyboards designed?

There’s no standard layout for an ergonomic keyboard. However, you can probably identify a typical ergonomic keyboard by its curvy, modern, and well-designed structure.

A preferred layout is the split-keyboard ergonomic keyboard, in which the keys are separated into two distinct areas, one for the left and one for the right hand.

However, the majority of QWERTY keyboards nowadays are also ergonomic in the sense that they feature things like:

– A palm rest that’s often slightly elevated and with a soft cushion to offer comfort to your wrists and palms.

– A slanted position that feels more natural for your wrists. This is the optimal wrist position to avoid repetitive stress injury. Ergonomic keyboards give you the support you need to lay your wrists horizontally.

– Contours that have the advantage of reducing the amount of effort it takes to strike a key, and also enabling you to place your arm and wrists in a position that feels more natural to you. In other words, ergonomic keyboards are shaped based on the natural contour of your hand (rather than forcing your hands and wrists to assume an uncomfortable position that strains your muscles and ligaments).

Even if you don’t use an ergonomic keyboard or cannot afford one you can use ergonomic accessories like a palm support rest or a stand-alone numeric keyboard to make touch typing more comfortable.


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Studying for the GRE: Words in Context





One of the best features of the Vocab1 program is the opportunity it gives you to gain confidence in using new words by learning how to use them correctly in context. We provide numerous examples, as well as exercises that help you practice selecting the most appropriate word to complete a sentence. If you’re studying for the GRE, practicing sentence completion is an important part of your test preparation.

Here’s an example of a sentence-completion exercise:

The research assistant attempted to duplicate the professor’s laboratory tests, but the instructions he left for her to follow were so ____________ that her results never __________.

a) detailed … corresponded
b) outdated … differed
c) ambiguous … matched
d) precise … matched
e) illegible … finished

First, read the sentence to yourself and get a sense of its meaning. In this example, the sentence has a negative tone; you can see this by the use of the words attempted, but, and never. Keep this general idea in mind as you look at the pairs of words to choose from.

Let’s look at option (a): detailed and corresponded. If you fill these words in, the sentence says that the instructions were so detailed that the results never corresponded, or matched. This doesn’t make sense, because usually the more detailed the instructions are in a laboratory experiment, the more chance there is of getting the same result every time. The only way this would make sense is if the instructions were TOO complicated. Option (d) also uses a positive word in the first position, and another one in the second position. Using this pair of words, the sentence says that the instructions were so precise (accurate and easy to follow) that the results never matched. Again, this doesn’t make sense.

Filling in the blanks with the pair of words in option (b) gives us the statement that the instructions were so outdated that the results were the same every single time. Outdated generally means “no longer accurate” so it wouldn’t make sense that her tests, using bad data, would match his results. In addition, the assistant is trying to duplicate a set of results (and therefore “never differed” would be a good thing); however, the word but implies a negative outcome.

Option (e) looks like a good choice at first: the instructions were so illegible (hard to read) that the results never finished. Wait a minute, though – “results” don’t “finish.” If the sentence read “… that she could never finish the tests” then we could consider this pair, but as it is, the sentence would not be grammatically correct, so we can eliminate this option.

We’re left with option (c). Using these words turns the sentence into a statement that the results were so ambiguous, or unclear, that her results never matched his. The meaning of the sentence makes sense in context, and the sentence is grammatically correct. By first determining the overall intent of the sentence and then comparing all possible choices, we’ve come up with the right answer.

To increase your GRE score by 7 points in 2 weeks, click here to start practicing for free with PrepEd GRE

Develop Keyboarding Skills Early, Enjoy The Life-Long Benefits Of Touch Typing





Being efficient at touch typing as an adult can improve your personal and professional growth, while making your financial prospects look better than ever.

Touch typing is an essential skill today. Computers have almost replaced books. Pen and paper have given way to keyboard and screen. So it’s no surprise that the need to have above average-touch typing skills is more urgent than ever.

Start early, reap the benefits longer

While you can learn to touch type at any age, to fully enjoy the benefits of touch typing you need to start early. Learning how to touch type using the right technique is something you can – and should – start right now.

And of course, the faster you become at keyboarding, the more benefits you’ll enjoy.

Raising confident students

A child who learns to touch type will have the confidence and assertiveness to use technology to their advantage, whether that’s for typing an essay, researching a topic, or collaborating with students in their class in a virtual collaboration network.

When students are not intimidated by technology they’re also more receptive to learning more advanced skills like coding and web design. Imagine the advantages your child will have at school with their above-average keyboarding abilities!

Improving productivity and saving time

Many children today have little free time. Between school classes and hobbies and extracurricular activities, they find themselves constantly studying, learning, practicing.

However, with the right touch typing accuracy and speed, children can save hours every month, which they can use to play, relax or socialize with their peers. Keeping a work/play balance is important for kids as well as adults.

Making digital communication efficient

Whether communicating with relatives living far away or collaborating on projects with other students around the world, being good at touch typing means a student can use technology and social communication media to communicate efficiently and without any disruption or added stress.

Touch typing helps adults and students alike

The benefits of more efficient communication, confidence in using new technologies, and increased productivity aren’t just there for younger students.

As a college student, you’ll continue to reap the benefits of touch typing. You’ll be able to touch type essays and reports quickly, and collaborate on interdisciplinary projects with ease. You’ll stand out from the students around you by the efficiency with which you can study, learn, and grow into a smarter person.

Mastering touch typing continues to benefit you after graduation, too!

Do you want increased and better career prospects? Do you want to be more productive at work? Now that you’re a fast and accurate typist, you’re a step ahead of your colleagues, your supervisors are happy with your output, and you’re the first one that comes to mind when that promotion or raise is considered.

If you can save a few hours of touch typing a month as a student, imagine how much time you will free up just by touch typing at a faster pace.

How much of your job involves typing right now? Every increase in your typing speed and accuracy means hours saved over time. Double your speed, and you cut your typing time in half. What would you do with an extra hour (or more) at work, every day?

Come to think of it, what would you do with an extra hour each day of your life? Imagine the possibilities of using that time to improve some other skill, or learn a new one. Imagine having the time to pursue the dreams and ambitions that are burning in your heart.

Touch typing is more than a work skill – it’s a life skill. Teach your children how to touch type. Improve your own keyboarding skill as much as you can. The time to start benefiting from touch typing – is now!


Touch type your work and increase productivity with Typesy Now!

How Keyboarding Lessons Can Improve Your School and Help Your Students





If you’re not teaching keyboarding well, it’s likely causing problems right now

Incorrect typing puts students significantly behind in all aspects of their study and learning. Bad typing technique makes students do everything 2-3x slower, every time they use a computer. This holds up classes, causes late assignments, and reduces teaching efficacy.

The benefits of teaching students keyboarding

If students can type properly, they have a huge advantage in school and in life. Here are just some of the benefits of correct touch typing:

Improved School Results – Correct touch typing makes it easier to type assignments, do research, and communicate. Students complete more work and get better grades.

Ready for College and the Workforce – Students who can touch type increase their eligibility for almost any job. Good touch typing will also make college assignments and practical work much easier.

Work Happier and Faster – Correct typing means using computers with greater ease and confidence. Students will complete all computer related work faster and be happier about it.

To learn more about how you can teach keyboarding effectively with Typesy, please look at our education page, see some happy customers using Typesy right now, or read about some of Typesy’s success stories.

Smartphones: How They Affect Your Life





It’s the first thing you look at in the morning and probably the last thing you see before going to bed at night. Smartphones have become part and parcel of daily life. Whether for communicating with friends and clients around the world, paying your bills, shopping, or being more productive and more fit, your smartphone is the all-in-one device that makes your life easier.

Psychological Wellbeing

Social media is a great place to hang out. You network on LinkedIn and learn the news on Twitter, check out what friends are doing on Facebook, and Snapchat with your closest buddies just for the fun of it.

But often our obsession with always being online, always sharing and liking, always producing something more of ourselves and putting it out there for the world to judge and love, puts an emotional drain on our self-confidence.

We become dependent on others’ approval of our choices and we feel bad when they don’t readily share this excitement and love with us.

Taking a break from social networks can help you realize that life goes on without them. You can do something and not feel the need to post it for the world to see it. Events can still happen, and you can feel equally amazing, even when just keeping it to yourself.

But it’s not just what you share, it’s you sharing in what others do. Following models, athletes, celebrities and other famous people can make you feel bad about yourself, your accomplishements.

Comparing ourselves to others is an inescapable side effect of social media networking, so it’s no surprise that the occassional smartphone detox can help you realize that your choices need not always be compared with those of others. Everyone’s different, everyone has their own unique path.

Productivity

From Slack to Dropbox and Evernote, productivity apps help us keep on top of our daily tasks and responsibilities. But the constant launch of new apps is testimony to how smartphones have made life a bit more complex too. We spend a lot of time playing games or socializing through chat apps and messengers. We invest a lot of our time checking email, adding events and webinars to our calendars, and watching cat videos online. And we lose track of all the time we spend every day on smarphone-based activities.

Ask yourself this: are you really busy? or are you mismanaging your time by not realizing just how much of it you’re using being on your smartphone?

Physical Hazard & Health

With our faces bent low over 5-inch smartphone screens, shoulders hunched, it’s no surprise that we look like we’re turning into tech zombies. We don’t look ahead, we look down. We are glued to our screens, scrolling, tapping, and scrolling some more.

Take a break from your smartphone. Walk to a friend’s house rather than talking to them on Facebook. Go for a run rather than just looking at inspiring photos of people who work out on Instagram.

Life is made up of micro-moments that make a large impact on our health and well-being. As you read this article, think about what you could do for yourself next? Do you want to take a walk, socialize in person, or create something? Choose your next moment and make it count!


Touch type your work and increase productivity with Typesy Now!

Slow Down For Better Productivity





Sometimes, fast-paced lifestyles don’t cut it. You’d think that reading, eating and working faster would catapult your productivity into a new level of efficiency, but the truth is  that such an energy-depleting way of living can lead to burnout instead.

There’s only so much stress and pressure one person can handle. While power drinks and coffee might offer you that desperately needed push, sometimes to be productive you must slow down. Yes, I said slow down.

Before you dismiss my proposal as impossible, hear me out. It might sound ironic but it’s true; we’ve been trained to think that the faster we engage with tasks the better our results. But this is only partially true. If what we’re after is long-term, sustainable productivity then the key is to slow down a bit. With less stress burdening your shoulders you boost your clarity and efficiency, ultimately allowing yourself to be more productive.

Thanks, but no thanks

It’s important to turn down extra projects, overtime work, and anything else that puts extra strain on your already packed schedule. If people come to know you as the “yes, of course I will” person, then you will soon find yourself overwhelmed by the amount of tasks and responsibilities constantly deluging you, and you’ll find it increasingly harder to say “no.”

Saying “sorry, no” reminds people of your own humanity and limitations, and its nurtures others’ respect for you. Fewer responsibilities mean less workload, which then equals better productivity. Simple math here.

It’s all in the present moment

To manage to be productive even at a slowed-down pace requires that you practice mindfulness. Stop worrying over others’ future expectations and opinions of you. Rather, focus on what you need and should accomplish right now.

You can do this by focusing in the present moment. Forget the bigger picture and just be at peace with what you didn’t manage to do (your past) and what you should do (your future). This way you are mindful of what you’re capable of achieving right this moment.

This realization is what will boost your productivity, even if you are working in what it seems to be ridiculously slow-motion.

Sleep, what’s that?

It shouldn’t be optional, period. Sleep has been found to be more important than exercise and its essential role in your well-being is unquestionable. Sleep helps you better control your diet and food intake, while sleep deprivation makes you prone to mistakes and less resistant to fatty and sugary snacks.

With more sleep, you will achieve a consistent and enhanced brain functionality, increase your alertness, and overall perform better with less effort. No project, event or circumstance is more important than sleep.

Our society fosters fast-paced lifestyles; we’re expected to speed read, touch type at 150 wpm, and constantly multi-task so that we can fit everything we need to do into a tight 24 hour time frame. While this increased speed can improve our productivity in the short term, slowing down is important for both our well-being and work performance.  Having overwhelming schedules is not obligatory. It’s an option, and a choice we make each day.

You can change this by being more mindful of your daily routines, focusing more on your health and well-being by resting, turning down more responsibilities, getting enough sleep, and just slowing down from time to time, to recuperate.


Touch type your work and increase productivity with Typesy Now!

Technology and Conventional Teaching Practices: The Road to Effective Learning in The Classroom





Can Educational Technology ever entirely replace actual teaching? Probably not, but that’s beside the point. What we should be striving to understand and focusing on today is not whether technology has advanced enough to replace conventional learning methodologies and even teachers, but whether the technologies at hand can complement and reinforce our existing tools and practices.

Teaching will become more efficient, measurable, and fun when technology and existing teaching methods and practices are integrated in a single approach. Picture a new era of teaching that’s decisively informed by technology but is still deeply rooted in research and proven teaching practices.

Dumbing us down or lifting us higher?

When abused, technology does not promote learning, but inhibits it. When used wisely, technology can benefit educators and students alike. Technology doesn’t dumb society down in and of itself, however. Yes, people might have every answer at their fingertips thanks to the immensely vast and chaotic Internet and its near-infinite resources, but that doesn’t mean technology doesn’t also nurture critical thinking, innovation, and imagination. Technology has a supportive role in learning. It facilitates our thinking by offering answers through computing processes and enabling us to reach conclusions faster. It doesn’t simply give us answers, but it makes the process easier.

A case for creativity

To say that technology in the classroom is dangerous and counterproductive is to lose sight of its potential to drive knowledge and learning forward.

Using technologies in the classroom – things like social media, collaborative networks, and video teleclasses – has some inherent risks, but these can be avoided and contained with proper student instruction beforehand.

Once students learn how to correctly use technologies, they have powerful tools to inspire their imagination and unleash their creativity. Technology should be viewed as the springboard for creativity and innovation. To think that technologies will make us clueless, uncritical human beings is to deny that every technological innovation from the invention of the wheel to the steam engine during the Industrial revolution contributed to our civilization’s growth, prosperity, and advancement.

Do not fear Ed Tech in the classroom

It’s understandable that even today many educators are reluctant to use technology in their teaching. They believe that their methods and practices need no updating because those methods have served them well for many years. In a sense, this is true – a good teacher does not depend on any type of technology to promote learning in the classroom.

However, considering what teachers might be missing for not making learning tech-driven is disheartening. Even if a teacher is not fond of Ed Tech practices and trends, their students already are. Students who have grown up surrounded by technology will expect to see it in the classroom as well. These “digital natives” who are growing up with a lifestyle substantially immersed in hand-held devices and Internet enabled homes find technology to be one of the most straightforward ways to communicate, learn, have fun, and live. Can teachers deprive their students of this important right, to learn and empower themselves through the means they’ve grown up learning and living with?


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The Rise Of Social Media Marketing As The New Customer Relationship Management




Does your company have a social media marketing plan? Social media is more than increasing brand awareness and engaging with your existing and potential customers through online discussions and sharing.

Social media marketing is the new customer relationship management model. A space where you take advantage of your customers’ online presence in order to convince them you’re a worthwhile investment.

Social media marketing, when successfully implemented, improves customer relationships by achieving the following:

– Customers feel valued, respected, and listened to – a prerequisite for repeat sales and customer retention.

– Customers feel understood – a prerequisite for gaining consumers’ trust.

– Customers’ complaints are listened to and corrected, making customers happy and more likely to continue doing business with you.

– Long-term relationships with customers are created and nurtured, driven not by short-term profit but by building a client base of loyal customers.

The relationship is equal and not promotional, allowing the client to more easily engage with you, rather than be discouraged by impersonal spam-based e-mail campaigns.

In a sense, social media marketing is another way of saying “relationship marketing.” We use social media as powerful, affordable, and effective tools for building stronger client-business relationships and forging new ones.

How do you make social media marketing really about customer relationship building and maintenance?

Join the conversation

Don’t wait for people to retweet an event you’re promoting, or for someone else to share it through Facebook. Dive into what’s already being talked about. See what things are trending that could relate to your brand, and jump in the conversation.

Joining the conversation doesn’t mean blatant, relentless self-promotion, however. Keep your focus on:

– Discussing new trends and discoveries in your industry and niche.

– Supporting and promoting like-minded entrepreneurs and individuals.

– Finding common ground with your followers to discuss their needs and learn their expectations of your brand.

For building solid customer relationships on social media you need to be proactive, approachable, and relevant. What’s more, you need to stick to a daily social media schedule.

Get rid of the “pitchy” attitude

Of course, the main idea is that you will promote your services and goods through social media — this is your ultimate goal, after all. But you don’t have to be obvious about it.
Devote a daily tweet and Facebook post to reminding your online followers about an offer, a competition, a sale, or a product. However, don’t use social media as if it’s an advertisement, use this outlet as any other user would: to interact, share, and discuss things you’re passionate about.

If your audience senses a “pitchy” attitude – in other words, if they think you’re only giving them a sales pitch – they will be discouraged from engaging with you in the future. This will damage your customer relationships as you will soon be regarded as a profit-focused company that doesn’t truly care about its clients.

Polish your language skills

You might have a social media marketing guru handling your customer relationships online, or you might do it yourself. Whichever option you choose, make sure your grammar, vocabulary, and spelling are flawless.

Your vocabulary and general choice of words reveal a lot about your brand, your mission, and your ultimate goal. Using the right vocabulary can in fact raise you in the eyes of your audience as an expert, leading company that knows what they’re doing.

Word choices should be carefully considered, even on what might seem to be the most casual of tweets. Use language your readers can empathize with and feel enthusiastic about. Lastly, always do fact-checking and spell-checking before publishing your tweets and posts!

By implementing these principles, you will ensure your social media marketing improves customer relationships and helps your business flourish.

Cross-posted on the Ultimate Spelling blog.


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5 Tips on How to Properly Write Business and Office Related Communications





Writing skills are a must when it comes to office correspondence. Most people take a casual approach to writing memos, interoffice notes, emails or anything else that their peers and managers read. This can prove to be a mistake that is hampering your chances for advancement or a raise.

This should not come as a surprise. Office communication often starts with an email or a memo and serves as a first impression in many cases. Research shows that 70% of people interact with business associates via email before they ever get a chance to meet in person.

This is why written office communications are a slippery slope. They set the tone for most of the interactions you have at work. You might feel the need to be funny or friendly, especially if you’re writing to a colleague you interact with often. Avoid doing that because office communications are monitored and you never know who else might be reading your emails.

Be clear and concise

Regardless of what type of document you are writing, make sure it is easy to understand and that it gets straight to the point whenever possible. The best way to ensure your writing is clear is to know what you want to say before you sit down to write it. If you’re not sure about what you’re saying, how can a person reading your email or a proposal be?

Use proper vocabulary

This is an important one. First off, refrain from using abbreviations or street jargon, and makes you look unprofessional. Also, consider the audience. You can get technical with your peers and colleagues if they are working in the same department and have the same background as you. However, refrain from using technical terms if you’re uncertain that everyone who needs to read it will be able to follow. If they are absolutely essential, make sure to include an explanation of terms in an appendix.

Also, make sure to proofread everything. Frequent grammar and spelling errors will start hurting your credibility and, while your colleagues might get a laugh out of them, you’re hardly doing yourself any favors in front of your boss.

Also, you can check out some of these online writing tools. Using them will help you communicate more effectively and even teach you a thing or two.

Grammarly – Use Grammarly to check your grammar, spelling and punctuation. Bad writing skills are a sure way of undermining your authority so make sure you’re sending out proofread and spell-checked writing. This free tool will make all that easier for you.

Thesaurus – If you’re writing a lot of emails, chances are your writing is drab and boring and that you’re using the same words all the time. Using this online tool will help you expand your vocabulary and find the right words for your content.

Gorgias – Gorgias allows you create email templates and works with Gmail, Outlook and Yahoo. If you’re losing time on writing, essentially, the same stuff, kick up your productivity with Gorgias and start sending out emails written in just a few keystrokes.

AussieWriter – Sometimes, your writing skills just won’t be good enough. Whether it’s an extensive business plan, a speech or a client pitch, you will have to enlist someone to help you out. AussieWriter is a reputable writing service that can get the job done affordably and quickly.

Enloop – If you need some help with writing a killer business plan, this online tool will prove to be a great asset. It automates the process, and gives you a step-by-step plan to follow that will eventually result in a great business proposal.

MailMentor – MailMentor is a free online tool you can use to check the readability of your emails. It will let you know if your writing is too long, too complex, or too difficult to read and offer actionable advice on how you can improve it.

Stick to the point

When writing an email, think of a single point you want to communicate and stick with it. If you need to have a lengthy discussion with someone, either schedule a meeting or set up a call, don’t write a mile-long email. This is because busy people don’t have time to read your musings. When you start veering off the topic, they start losing interest.

Include a clear call to action

Sometimes you want people to react to an email or an internal memo a certain way. Most people assume others will know how to react. Don’t bet on it. Include a clear call to action, specifying what the next steps are and are there any deadlines to be respected. Removing guesswork out of the equation gets things done much faster.

Be courteous but professional

Don’t allow your emails to saw discord and start office-wide hostilities. Always maintain a professional and courteous tone throughout your written communication. If you have some bad new to deliver, think about doing it in person or in a call. If you have something unpleasant to write to a colleague or a subordinate, make sure to do it in a tactful and unaggressive way.

A bit of courtesy will get you a long way, but avoid getting too personal or friendly in written communication, regardless of how well you might know someone. It gives an impression that you cannot separate your personal from your professional life and reflects poorly on you.

These tips will help you communicate better in both your professional and personal life. They will also go a long way in making sure that everything is communicated in a clear manner so to avoid any misunderstandings.  


Author’s Bio
Being a coach, Amy Cowen has a great experience of work with students  and young people – from providing assignment writing help at Galaxyessay to giving career advice. She often writes for different blogs in her free time.