We all want to be able to type faster — it not only saves us time, but it also just makes our lives that much easier. Sure, you can practice, but if we can’t train our brain to follow along, then there’s really no point, right? Well, as it turns out, there ARE ways to put your brain through a mental boot camp and bump up those typing speeds.

Physical training.

It sounds silly, and we promise it’s not anything like what you do when you’re training your body — there are no weights to be lifted here! Instead, use your eyes. When your brain uses both the left and the right hemispheres during a task, it increases memory as well as muscle function; so the trick here is to move your eyes to the left and then the right repeatedly. You’ll find that, after doing this little exercise for only a moment, your typing will become faster and more fluid.

Practice.

That’s literally one of the easiest ways to get better at typing, but you have to be practicing correctly. That means using your fingers in the right positions, avoiding looking at your fingers as much as possible, and sitting straight.

Fix your mistakes.

Some people say not to look back — just type until you’re done and then fix what needs it. This is doable if you’re trying to work solely on your speed, rather than your memory as well. Typing and playing the piano are both right- and left-brained involving activities, so it’s important to train your brain to memorize the keys and how it relates to the word as a whole. Rather than fixing the single letter that was wrong in your word, go back, erase the whole word, and re-write it. You’ll be able to look back and see the progress in just a few sessions!

Sleep.

This is probably one you’ve heard before — and that’s because it’s true! Make sure you’re getting enough sleep before you tackle looking at a screen for long periods of time; the strain on your eyes will make it easier to miss things and harder to concentrate.

Keep up the brain training.

By that, we mean keep looking at complicated pictures, keep buying puzzle books and finding solutions to apparently impossible problems. The healthier your brain, the better. Keep these things in mind the next time that you want to alter any skills you may have, and you’ll find yourself changing into a magnificent person sooner than you think.

The word “coding” has a lot of connotations with it — with many leading to “hard work!” It can be a challenge, but challenges offer incredible opportunities. A lot of young coders, before they even dip a toe into the coding world, ask themselves, “What about coding is cool? How can it be fun at all?”

Here’s your answer!

Coding makes you feel good.

People learn to code for a variety of different reasons — the money, to create, to help people, to challenge themselves, etc. Some people just like being able to have fun with what they’re doing! Coders who do the work professionally and as a living have said that some days, you feel like you don’t know anything because of a new challenge or something you have yet to master, and then there are other days where they feel like they ought to be riding down from Mount Olympus on a flaming chariot. When they see the result of their work helping others or creating something new and fascinating, they can’t help but get the warm fuzzies all over. It’s just good.

Coding continuously shapes your brain.

Learning something you enjoy isn’t the same as learning something for school, because you don’t like all of what you’re studying. When you sit down and pick apart something, and exercise your brain to absorb this new information, it’s really quite enjoyable! You walk away feeling like a genius. Not only that, but your brain will also reap the benefits of coding with an increased memory function and problem solving skills, among other things!

Coding comes in many different forms!

You’ve probably already learned some coding without even knowing it through games and toys. Have you ever heard of Minecraft? It teaches you basic coding concepts through a very immersive game that can be played individually or in a team. LEGO can do the same, especially if you have the Edison Coding Robot, an add-on for the blocks that also teaches you many different coding techniques — from beginner’s algorithms to advanced coding languages!

Not everyone may consider coding as a hobby at first, but to put it simply: coding is fun. For many, many different reasons, and worth giving a try at least once! What have you got to lose?

If there’s one thing that is often overlooked when it comes to instruction, it’s class size. A lot of people don’t even realize that there is a greater benefit to the student when smaller class sizes are in effect, rather than the large 20-something average you find in most public K-12 classes. In large universities, you’ll find even bigger classes! But here’s why these small classes matter so much:

1. More one-on-one attention.

It can be difficult to pin-point where to even begin with large classes, and most times, the students won’t get the same level of face-to-face conversation and guidance that they need in a large room. In a smaller class, your questions get a considerable amount of time for detailed answers. Should you be having a hard time with a concept, the instructor has the time and the ability to tailor the lecture or lesson on the spot and help you or your classmate grasp what you had both previously missed.

2. You get to know your classmates better.

Believe it or not, getting to know the person you’re learning alongside is extremely beneficial to your learning; not everyone learns the same, so you may take away something that your classmate didn’t, or vice versa, and not only does this give you a teaching or learning moment, but it also makes it possible for every student to succeed.

3. Less distractions and disruptions.

It’s hard to keep an eye on a classroom full of over 30 students, and we’d bet money that there are some that aren’t interested, and don’t want to learn. Those students will find a way to entertain themselves, and, like a wave, send disruption throughout the room. In a smaller class, a teacher can ask each student individually what they’re thinking, how they got to a certain conclusion, etc.

4. Your classroom becomes a community.

Due to the smaller numbers, you can turn to anyone and ask a question, and everyone will be able to leave input without the other person getting drowned out. Class discussions and debates are an important part of learning, and with less people occupying the room, the involvement of each student goes up.

Small class sizes are a blessing, through grades K-12 and all the way up to Graduate School, it’s been proven over and over again how good they are for learning, increasing moral, confidence, and overall grades and work quality. Once you start taking classes with a limited headcount, we promise you won’t want it any other way ever again!

We often hear the saying “our children are our future,” and we just roll our eyes because it’s hard to think about someone who can’t legally drive or vote or do anything remotely “adult” being in charge of us all.

But we need to.

If your child is on the cusp of graduating high school, or fresh and new to the world, we as adults need to think about how we’re preparing them to run the world, because, well, they will in one way or another. So how can we prepare our future leaders? Here are some ideas.

Education is a big deal when it comes to shaping our young minds.

Of course our kids are going to school — that’s kind of a mandatory thing — but are they enjoying it and taking away everything they can from it? We, as parents, guardians, teachers, neighbors — whatever — need to make learning fun! Let them explore their interests but also try to make their dislikes less of a chore. Introduce learning games, songs, or hands-on learning activities for older students. Keeping a balanced life between extra-curricular activities, elective courses, and other studies is also incredibly important, and when one takes over the others, it can cause a fall in grades, lack of sleep or proper nutrition, and even depression.

Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics. S.T.E.M.

There is a real push for STEM activities now more than ever as the world around us moves forward into an age of technology. STEM education teaches teamwork and problem solving techniques, as well as encourages experimentation, knowledge application, and adaptation. It’s not a “nerd” thing anymore; there are real benefits to STEM education. Who knows, maybe your kiddos will find that they enjoy it!

The Arts.

With the same energy we praise and push STEM education, we also need to promote “the arts”; countless studies show how important it is to expose a child to a world of art, music, theatre, and the like as well as the classical reading, writing, and math. While it’s not something we should throw at the students and hope something sticks, let them explore both ends of the spectrum. An engineer can love theatre just as much, and maybe in the future, apply it to a career.

And lastly, emotional support.

Our future leaders will not be able to thrive without a support system, just as adults cannot thrive without one. While they may be smaller, students are still human and need that little bit of love. Teach them how to handle stress in a healthy, productive way — what coping mechanisms work for them as an individual? There are other ways that we can support and help them develop emotionally, such as encouragement, praise, and taking a genuine interest in their passions. Adults are the embers beneath their fire that keep them going when they run low, and the more we build them up, the better they will do. With these things in mind, we can help shape the leaders of tomorrow’s world, today.

You never really know what’s out there until you search for it. That’s probably the very paraphrased version of a wise proverb, but in this case, it’s literal! If you love technology and, honestly, you kind of have to at this point in the world’s evolution, you need to know that there are way more items out there for you to experience! Not just a phone or a tablet, but other cool tech tools for your main devices, and it’s like living in a spy movie. Take a look!

Portable battery banks.

These aren’t just those small blocks you saw dangling from a phone every once in a while, these things are legit. They’re compact, but have enough power to charge up to three devices at once! Some even have the charging pad, a USB port, AND a charging cable. Some banks are brand specific — Apple products, Andriod, etc — so be careful which one you buy!
P.S. The singular portable chargers are still very cool; they can come in cool designs like a keychain, or a carabiner (those metal hooks you use in backpacking or rock climbing).

Bondic.

It’s not something you would think about, but this pen uses liquid plastic to weld, repair, and build just about anything. It’s especially good for any techies who love to get into hands-on projects. Try using this next time you want to build a computer!

Drones.

These are basically the remote control cars of today, and are insanely cool! They run from small “toy” sizes, to large machines that are used in insurance claims, military operations, and other things. If you have an affinity for robotics or programming, definitely get your hands on one of these guys.

Photography lenses.

Believe it or not, they make extensions for your smartphone to turn your photos from good to unbelievable! They just snap onto the front of your camera, and give you a wide variety of effects, from fisheye to wide-angle! Add in a timer and a tripod, and who needs an old-fashioned camera?

Bluetooth speakers.

These are a necessity for anyone who likes their music. While these are more of a luxury, you can definitely put them to good use for a movie night in the living room, or a party at the beach. So long as you have a phone, you can pair it up to just about any Bluetooth device. Did I mention that they come in cool shapes and colors? Some are even water-proof and can float!

There are many different tools and fun little things out there to make your digital world a better one, all you have to do is give it a look!

We have to type for just about everything now, from school reports and homework to research and job applications to the regular nine-to-five job; we have to type at least once in a while. When we do, we can either speed through the words like we’re a cyborg meant for this one specific task, or we “chicken peck” at the keyboard, hoping to type at least on sentence before the minute ends. For those that are interested in becoming a cyborg (but not really), here are a few tips on how to improve your typing speed:

Keep your eyes on the screen.

This is actually called “touch typing,” because your eyes are never (or rarely) on your fingers. This is really the easiest way to build your typing speed, because your fingers and brain memorize the placement of the keys and the most effective pattern for a quick typing speed. It’s not even about not looking, just memorization.

Use a keyboard that’s right for you.

Mechanical keyboards (that’s keyboards with the big buttons that you actually press down on, rather than the sleek, flat keyboards that you see on laptops. While these tend to have faster response times, they won’t be much of a benefit unless you are moderately proficient in touch typing.

Listen to the right music.

If you’re still trying to learn, your focus level is amplified, and if you’re listening to music with lyrics mixed with a distracting melody, then you may find yourself typing out the words that they say. Skilled typists can balance the two, since they’ve mastered their touch typing and increased their speed, but it’s an easy mistake that happens when you really get into the song.

Don’t worry about your mistakes.

Especially when your brain thinks faster than you type — and it will, most of the time — you will make mistakes. Some people find it more helpful to stop what their doing, backtrack, and re-type the word or words they messed up on. Other people see better results when they barrel forward, forgetting their mistakes until the piece of writing is finished, and they can go back and fix the mistakes one by one. It’s something to consider trying both ways, to find the best fit.

Typing doesn’t have to be a chore; practice makes perfect, so don’t worry if you feel like you can’t get it right away. Sometimes professional typists still look at their keyboard!

Computers are such an important part of our lives; in fact, our very lives tend to depend on these miraculous machines. We use them for work as well as pleasure, shopping, bills, research, and basically everything in between. So it’s no wonder that it’s important to treat your computer like a best friend – because, let’s face it, it essentially is. Here are a few tips on how to treat your computer right!

Clean it regularly.

This means both internally and externally; dust of your keyboard (they have pressurized air that can be used to blow out the hard to reach places, so you don’t need to do much), and clean your screen with the appropriate cleaning products (a dry microfiber cloth works best, but there are some screen cleaning solutions that work great for a really dirty screen). Cleaning internally is a little less work on your part; just make sure you run your computer cleaning software often to rid the hard drive of any unneeded files and potential viruses and malware.

Buy it things!

Your computer might not be able to say “thank you,” but buying it little things can either increase its functionality or just the appearance. You could buy a new anti-virus program or maybe a big backup for your extra big files. Maybe you want a cool keyboard cover, or a cover and carrying case (if you have a laptop). When we say “treat it like your BFF,” we mean it!

Be gentle with it.

If you really want to run a specific program or game, but there is just barely enough room on your hard drive, then rather than forcing your CPU to run harder and faster than it needs to, just give it some more space. Even though it’s a machine, it still needs room to breathe. If you have a laptop, don’t toss it around without a protective carrier, and try to treat it like a bag full of eggs to avoid accidentally dropping it and watching your entire life shatter in front of you.

It’s not hard to treat your machine like a person – minus talking to it like you would a friend, even though there are some people that actually do that. Just remember to be gentle, buy it everything it could possible need, and keep it clean. We would do that for a friend, right? Why not our own machines?

 

There are a million and one ways to study, and there seem to be more ways being invented every other day. It’s great, and we’re in no way complaining, but sometimes it can be just a little too much. Sometimes, it’s just easier to go back to the roots and kick it with the basics. What are we even talking about? Here are some throwback studying methods that still work!

Sticky notes…

…aren’t just for hectic office employees, they’re probably one of the greatest inventions ever to have been birthed into this world. Obviously, they work just like taking regular notes in a notebook, but sticky notes are compact, and can be placed next to the source material for a quick reference pull.

Colored sticky tabs.

Just like sticky notes, these are for quick lookups. While you can’t write more than a word or two on them, they can be color-coded to whatever subject or topic you’re working on and can jog your memory when you see it.

Flash cards…

…help with memorization and image-based memory. This is best for whenever you know something is going to be on a test, and works best with basic concepts, rather than lots of details, because you’re memorizing it.

Hard copies are your friends.

There’s just something about getting the textbook and doing your studying, rather than reading the same thing on a screen. While we’re not entirely sure why, you require more repetition when reading from a computer or tablet, than you would with a book.

Highlighters are a god’s gift to mankind.

Because it’s simple and yet extremely effective. On a flat piece of paper, your eyes are drawn to the pop of color and you know it’s important to remember. Something as simple and easy as color has proven to be extremely effective for studying and retaining information.

Associations are also a huge help when it comes to complex answers.

While this won’t work for everyone, we know it does, indeed, work. Acronyms are a great way to remember multiple answers, or a list of things. Or, if your mind can work the crazy halls of association, then something a little crazier may work. You can use colors, animals, plants, whatever makes it easier for you!

There are tons of ways to study, but these are some of the simpler, less technology-driven ways that have been used since school required people to study! What other great studying tricks do you have? Let us know in the comments!