Try writing with switches

For this assignment I’d like you to experience writing with 2 switches. Go to the Tar Heel Typer page and you should see something like this:

Now you can use the “z” key to move between letters (and words) and the “x” key to choose. Type a short paragraph of about 50 words this way. It will be incredibly frustrating but stick with it. I suggest you imagine pressing the keys is really hard work. Notice also how hard it is to hold in your mind what you want to say with such a cumbersome input method.
When you’re done, you can copy and paste what you typed using your mouse. Paste it into a comment on this post. Finally, add your comments about the experience after the text you typed with the switches.

Due: 4 September before class.

20 Responses to “Try writing with switches”

  1. john Says:

    I tried to use this software on three different occassions, but I failed every time to complete the assignment. The first two times I accidentally clicked with the mouse, which for some reason changes the switches of the program, and keeps you from being able to highlight text at all. The third time, I finished, highlighted the text, and right clicked, but there was no option to “copy” the text so that I could paste it in a comment. I’m not sure if it’s just me, or the software, or a combination of the two. Either way, I now truly do appreciate what a person who has certain handicaps must go through to simply communicate. Hopefully somebody else can figure it out.

  2. Stephen Says:

    i think this program is very difficult to use. It’s very hard to not miss the letters you want to type. I think this program is the most frustrating thing ive ever used. I hopd better technology is discovered asap. this has taken about 12 minutes to write.

    Wow what an experience that is! I mean not only is it extremely difficult to type, but I found myself accidently missing a letter two or three times in a row! Now, I consider myself to be a smart individual, but you have to have some serious brain capacity and patience to deal with such a simple program. By the end of the 12 minutes, my hand was about to fall off. I feel like some other type of technology needs to be addressed. I can’t imagine how difficult it is for these kids and adults to communicate; its almost surreal to think of how much they could actually know and they just can’t get it out. Unbelievable experience.

  3. Michele Says:

    today is the first football game! this is so frusstratraing. i can t imagine using this all the time! i keep missing the letters iwant. this is takingso long to write. maybe i am slow but way morethen 12 minutes. only one more sentence left andi am dnone.

    Clearly i had some problems with spelling, remembering what part of the word i was on and what i was trying to say. I would get so frustrated that i would end up holding down the key to scroll through the letters really fast, which only led to me missing the letters a second and third time. I also became too lazy to correct my mistakes because it took so long to get to the delete button at the end of the list. I have a completely new respect for the people who use this on a daily basis. I can’t imagine using that to do homework with. There has to be a better recognition system that could predict words. Maybe the software could have the words of the english language stored somehow and after you typed a certain sequence of letters it would only give you the letters that it knows english words contain next in the scroll so you wouldnt have to go through all the letters everytime. (For example, if you typed k as your first letter then b wouldnt show up because no word in the english language begins with kb.) Maybe? Either way my heart goes out to these people.

  4. Alyssa Says:

    Hi my name is Alyssa . I just past by the same letter five time s . it is really hard to write with this .i could nnot even imagine trying to write with this every day.

    The first time I tried this I did the same thing john did I clicked away and all of a sudden your paragraph was done if you like it or not. You really do feel for the people who have to use this program after using it for simply 15 minutes. At the same time, *as others have said* it makes you want to come up with another technology that will make it easier to type. Passing by the same letter four or five times, or passing by the space button can really make u frustrated, but I cannot imagine it taking me ten minutes just to get to a button and then pass it by accidentally because I lost control. Also, when it went through a list of words the program often left out the most common words like “the”. Therefore, every time you had to spell a word such as the I sat there contemplating why they didn’t just put it in the list of the words. I think Stephen put it best this was an “Unbelievable Experience” and it really opened my eyes more then everything else we have been learning about and seeing. Being able to hands on experience it really makes you want to do as much as possible to make a small change.

  5. Katelyn Says:

    i m at lake norman and I want to go outside to swim. this is taking forever to write this paragraph. I cannot wait to ride the jetski on the water . I amglad wewonthe football game yesterd ay

    Writing this paragraph was so frustrating! I cannot imagine typing with switches being my only way of communication. I had to mute my computer because the computer voice was driving my family crazy….guess it’s a good thing I’m not actually handicapped. I got so excited when it showed the word I was searching for–it made it so much easier. I’m not sure if I really experienced this the same way as someone with a disability would, for me it was much more difficult to say anything using this switch, but for someone who could only talk using it, it might not be quite as frustrating because it’s all they know. It was very frustrating to pass the letter I was searching for and then have to scroll through the entire alphabet again. The fact that Stephen Hawking writes entire books using a similar switch completely astounds me. Having to type using this switch definetly motivated me more to help the disabled, even it’s it just a little bit.

  6. maria Says:

    i just got bback from rush. i am so tired. it took mee forever to figure out how to put a space in between words on this program. i cannto imagine using this everyday. im ready to go to bed. yay forr no school tomorrow

    This program is so difficult to use! It was so frustrating. I could never imagine using this program to do homework or even worse, to write a long paper. I would never remember what i was going to say next. Doing this made me feel for the people with disabilities that have to use this program everyday. This has made me appreciate even more the capabilities i have to learn to read and write and i am so thankful that i was blessed with a healthy life. Thank you for allowing us to use this program and understand what these people have to deal with every single day.

  7. Taylor Says:

    my name is Taylor. i go to college at Unc. I like my classes here. The basketball team here is very good and wins a lot of games. Roy is the coach of the team. They are going to win the national championship this year . Go heels!

    That was really hard to do and really frustrating. I do not think I would have the patience to do that on a regular basis.

  8. Emma Says:

    i can ‘t believe how long this is already taking. i keep going past the letter i need . “the” should be in word prediction. i am realizing how dependent i am on backspace. this took an exceptionally long time .

    Wow, that was an experience. It’s hard to realize that even though we are trying to put ourselves in others’ shoes, we are getting an extremely watered-down version of their experience. It looks like we all had trouble with skipping the letter we wanted, or accidentally hitting “x” for the wrong letter, but the people that actually need this program would have even more trouble with muscle control than we do. Thanks so much for asking us to do this.

  9. Kelly Says:

    i am experimenting with this . Found uppercase. incredidly frustrating. period and capitaltoo far away wosde ethan typing on cell phone whole sentence notworth it i giveup

    Obviously, I struggled quite a bit with the Tar Heel Typer. Quite honestly, I can’t remember a time when my patience has been tested so greatly. Even the most primitive statements are extremely difficult to express. The predictive text is a nice feature, but is difficult to implement when you must choose only one letter (or word) at a time. The absolute worse feeling, however, was just passing over a letter I needed. I really can’t express the agony I felt. I can’t imagine dealing with this on a daily basis.

  10. Luke Says:

    a shrot paragraph by luke. wow i am already frustrated.all i want to do is type small word s . icant think atbout anything else. now i see why we are going through this . there is no wawy to think abot antyhing else .

    Without reading everyone elses posts, I think it’s pretty obvious this is one of the most frustrating experiences you can have. It’s so easy to press the wrong button when all your mental power is focused so heavily on not missing the upcoming letter. I have no idea what I intended to write about when I started, but I know I had a plan. It didn’t take long for me to just think about how annoyed i was. By my count, I made it to 40 words before I simply couldn’t take anymore. Now I really understand why those sentences from the beginning typers are so short. I really learned a lot through this, most of which I wish I would have never had to, but its good that I did.

  11. ebstone Says:

    Responsibility does not only lie with the leaders of our countries or with those who have been appointed or elected to do a particular job. It lies with each of us individually. Peace, for example, starts within each one of us. When we have inner peace, we can be at peace with those around us.

    It took me so long to do this paragraph. I would have to go all the way to the end for the capital and punctuation marks. So many times I also had to go to the delete option, because I couldn’t deal with having something messed up. If you asked friends I was instant messaging at the time I was doing it, I was extremely frustrated at it. I would miss a letter and then have to go through the entire thing to get back to it. I can only imagine how it must be for those who are disabled, that can not “fly through it” like we can.

  12. Alex Says:

    my name is alex. this is extremely frustrating. i could not imagine doing this every time i want ed to type. i have had to go through the alphabeet several times.

    As I said, this is extremely frustrating. I sat down to do this assignment not realizing how long it was going to take. This assignment has made me think about how lucky I am and how hard it must be for those wuth disabilities to communicate.
    I was not lucky enough to notice the upper case until after I was done.
    Also, this has inspired me to help those with disabilities to communicate more speedily and efficiently.

  13. Madison Says:

    we have class tomorrow. this program is very frustrating to type with. I tend to accidentally skip the space key and the letter that i want. i would not want to usse this all the time. this paragrapgh is taking so long to actually type. my hand is tired.

    Whew, that took forever. I definitely have a new found respect for anyone who can stand to write more than a couple of sentences with programs like these. Writing 50 words took all the patience I could muster up. I would scroll past letters that i wanted to choose two or three times on accident and it seems like I always forgot to use choose the space before I started a new word. A few times I got careless and didn’t take the time to go back and press delete when I messed up because it was so time consuming and frustrating. I cannot imagine having to use this for every single thing I ever wrote. I would definitely love to help make this technology better. If writing 50 words or so took around fifteen minutes its crazy the amount of time a paper would take to write, and adding in revisions would take any longer. I definitely commend all people who have the determination and patience to regularly use a program like this.

  14. ronald Says:

    i hate this . this program actually makes me want to kill myself. how much longger is this going to take . i cant believe i just spelled longer with two g’s. it is too late for me to be doing this .

    Wow!!! I actually spent about 20 minutes trying to type up my paragraph. I had to start over about 7 or 8 times because even the page that specified the settings you wanted for the tar heel typer was some what difficult to use. This was a very frustrating experience. I’ve truly gotten insight as to what these people who have motor impairments have deal; even if it was very little insight towards what it truly feels like.

  15. rainierw Says:

    hey myname is rainier. this program take s way too long important igive up!never mind i just read the direccd almost this thing just messeedup

    Honestly, I can’t write more than that haha. I am beyond frustrated and annoyed, and it’s way past my bedtime. “The” really needs to be in the auto-text prediction. I kept skipping past the letters I wanted, they should make an ability for you go to back to a letter, that would be VERY helpful. Also, it was very confusing when I thought I was typing but couldn’t see what I was writing. I had to use my mouse to scroll down or something. I hate to repeat myself because this is mostly what I talked about in my last post, but I REALLY admire people with disabilities and the amount of patience they have in this fast-paced world. I cannot even begin to imagine how much time in their day is taken up just trying to put their words onto paper. I am constantly feeling like I’m running out of time during the day to get things done, and I cannot even imagine how they must feel on a daily basis.

  16. Sean Margison Says:

    hey every one! i have just started and and already its cumbersome. look iwas so focvst on what i want ed to ttype that i didnt realize i had already typed it. i cant imagine doing this every day. it is very frustrating to type an entire page with this system. evem my halmates are frustrated just watching me!_

    Ok, so, this program was incredibly hard to work with and was unbelievably difficult to put up with. My hallmates even reacted when I missed a letter for the third time “ooooooooooooooooohhhhhhhh”. There needs to be a better system that is cost efficient, that can help multiple problems, and more importantly TIME efficient. With so many programs, games, and software already in use for making the able person more efficient and quick, there should be something out there for people who are disabled. I can not believe how frustrating (can’t say it enough) it was to use this program, and I have seen similar programs in use during public school. I was trying to type a sentence but was so focused on what I wanted to say I didn’t realize I had already typed a word, or hadn’t yet, or typed the wrong letter because it was the first letter of the next word! I think this area needs to be researched upon to make easier. There is a program over at Harvard that is utilizing the laser pointer mouse idea that we talked about and the child can type faster than most people! Technology exists but its costly and scarce.

  17. RJ Says:

    hhello everyone! I didn’t think this would be too hard until i started,. this isreally frustrating. there must cbe a bletter way! it take s so long to write anything at all. I wish it knew more words and worked quicker because like i said this is frustrating, i quit
    I give a huge amount of props to anyone who is patient enough to stick with this program to write the entirety of their message! I passed letters over and over again, because I accidentally kept skipping by them, and punctuation and capital letters is almost not worth the effort. However, I will say that the ‘predictive text’ does help some and it makes it seem like you’re getting a little bit of help along the way. Regardless, it still takes forever.
    I understand that the whole point is to make it as simple as possible, and in reality, this IS one of the simplest possible interfaces any one could use, but it is extremely time consuming and incredibly frustrating. For me, I have the benefit of knowing that at the end of this assignment I can go back to using a regular keyboard for good, but I can only imagine how someone would feel if this was truly the ONLY way they could type…ever.

  18. Brad Says:

    my name is brad hamilton. this is really hard .i have started over atleast ten time s. all idea s quickly left my head it is too laborious.

    That was sooooo hard. By the time I got to the second word I was thanking God for all my abilities. I got very frustrating as i would forget what i wanted to write and midway through sentence i would have to find words that could go with the previous ones to make sense. At one point I started just looking for words in the word bank, which is way too limited. I had originally started doing this assignment in Windows Explorer and after about the second word it changed the two main keys to the right and left buttons on my mouse. So after going through three tries of that i figured out that Firefox was my only way out. I think half the problem i had though was the pronunciation of every letter. I guess though, that tool is very useful because I definately learnt all my alaphabets at the end of the assignment. P.S. DO NOT MAKE ANY MISTAKES.

  19. Shelby Says:

    i am about to get ready for rush. tonight is the last night and i am very excited! tonight is called bid day. i should stop now before i throw my laptop out of frustration.

    Wow, that was incredibly frustrating. I definitely do not have the patience to work with a program like that. I have major respect for the kids who are able to write entire papers using such a program. In my opinion, the worst part was when I would pass a letter, and instead of being able to go back one letter, I had to go through the entire alphabet again….I would be so frustrated at this point that I would rush…and pass the letter again.

  20. Ethan Says:

    It was extremely frustrating at first, but with the help of prediction function, I was actually getting used to this program. For number of people with disabilities, this program maybe their only way of communicating and expressing their thoughts. This exercise made me realize that i should contribute more effort to help those who are less fortunate.

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