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Review: Learning to touch-type with Iota

George Christou is the Joseph Clarke Services I.T. Manager for Visually impaired students. Here he looks at Iota Touch type 2 - a typing tutor that is especially good for the visually impaired

The program shows students which finger to use and where on the keyboard to find it
The program shows students which finger to use and where on the keyboard to find it

Pricing: Iota Touch type 2 costs £35 for a single license.

Finding a typing tutor that works well for visually impaired people isn’t easy. However, Touch type 2 has proved to be a fantastic program for our students.

Touch typing is an important skill for those with reduced vision, particularly in a world where not all keyboards are clearly marked - some Mac keyboards in particular have white keys with silver letters.
Touch typing can also reduce reliance on the mouse, letting students use command keys and keyboard shortcuts, rather than having to steer a mouse pointer around the screen.
The program itself offers a flexible approach that helps to optimise the time you spend practising by analysing your performance and deciding where you need to focus your typing skills most - on-screen typing tutor includes graphs to monitor your own progress, words per minute and accuracy rate.
For the visually impaired, there are helpful sound effects and a voice that will call out the letters for you to type. It also has a fully-scalable interface which means that on-screen elements get larger as you increase the size of the display.

Pros:

  • The program definitely helps visually impaired students improve their keyboard awareness and orientation so that they can feel confident using any keyboard in the future - even poorly marked ones
  • The hand progress indicator guides you as to which finger you should use to type the next key with.
  • Reads out loud the next letter to be typed

Cons

 

  • The program itself is very simple and regimental to use, so it can get a bit boring.
  • There are no exciting features jumping around or games to be played within the program.
  • Colours are rarely used which makes the program unappealing to some students however, the program is strictly a touch-typing program and using black and white reduces distractions.