Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Updated Insurgency Image

Looking at the old image, I noticed there was a little halo of white around the outer black circle. I corrected this problem and it has made all the difference when the logo is on a dark background. So, please take it if you like.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

4th Time Around

There must be something in the sunshine that makes this dry and dusty town a nexus for typewriter fans. The luck of the sun...or maybe the Irish was with us because the 4th Phoenix Type-In and Typewriter Round-Up had a record crowd. For softies like me there was an additional "awwww" factor with Jeremiah (10 years old) who had seen the type-in during a rerun of Bill Geist's typewriter story, begged his mom to go, and was committed to "stay to the end."

For Christmas he received a Sear Citation in an ice-white color scheme. It's a great machine and he seemed immensely proud to show it off to other collectors. He had a great time going around and trying out new and different typewriters. He was even lucky enough to go home with another machine in tow; a nice Lettera 32.

The regular mugs were there; Bill Wahl, Theodore, Tori, Brian, Robert, Matt, &c. But there were more than a few new faces including, Alexander, a teen collector who brought his Remington Quiet-Riter to show off.

In terms of typers that stole the show my Royal KMG with italic type was warmly received, but it was Bill Wahl's prewar Olympia desktop standard machine that caught my eye. Yowser! Talk about shiny.

Here are the pics:

This time the event seemed more private. There were no reporters there; just fans of the typewriter. I hope everyone had fun. Ted will be scanning in the sheets from the typewriters so keep an eye out on munk.org/typecast .

Friday, March 15, 2013

NBC Filming

A crew from NBC was here today taking a few shots and interviewing some of my students about the typewriters. I have to say the two girls and two boys they interviewed were articulate and very impressive. I snapped this quick pic of the camera and lights. Whenever I find out the air date, I'll let you know.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Unfettered Eager Minds

Even with all the excitement over the 4th Phoenix Type-In, the CTP is still chugging along nicely. It's been a while since I have posted with updated information about the benefit of a typewriter in a classroom setting.

I've done stuff with spelling, and student opinions, but I thought it might be a hoot to look at output as an outcome. I have never subscribed to the "more is better" camp of thought. There is, however, a chance that typewritten output can be an evaluative component of student "on-typewriter" performance vis-a-vis handwritten activities.

I decided to take four random journal prompts from my class that has the highest typewriter user to student ratio; 2:3 for Period 2. I then set about counting the average number of words written by both hand and typewriter. The results were interesting:

Typewriters (students who typewrite their journals) were producing more words per journal than handwriters. Typing for composition is definitely faster than handwriting, but is it that much faster? Taking into account that my students are not touch typists and have a non-standard typing styles--owing to the prevalence to two-thumb typing--I find that the result is skewed in favor of something other than speed.

Speed, however, is a powerful metric. Typewriting allows ideas to be placed on paper at a rate commensurate with a thought process. Handwriting can slow things down although that might be a honorable intention in and of itself. Speed (as if speed and quanity equaled quality) was a major justification for kids using typewriters made by Royal, and other manufacturers, during period advertising.
Most of the research that supported the claims by Royal in this kind of advertising were conducted by two researchers; Ben Wood of Columbia and Frank Freeman of the University of Chicago. In 1929, funded by the typewriter industry, Wood and Freeman deployed thousands of typewriters in classrooms across the nation. 15,000 students and over 400 teachers were involved in the study. It was widespread and far-reaching and, ultimately, the results were positive. Wood and Freeman concluded that gains in all areas were measurable by the Standford Achievement Test and that spelling was a significant component of that.

"There is fairly consistent evidence that the typewriter's influence of spelling is more favorable than on any other subject tested in the Stanford Achievement Test" (Wood and Freeman, 1932).
The Classroom Typewriter Project data proved Wood and Feeman correct.

The only other reason for the data in the chart above might be a fun little indicator that made its debut appearance in the first typewriter survey I gave my students. The statment was; "Using a typewriter imparts more meaning to my writing." If a writer thinks that the act of typewriting is special, there would be an interest in fulfilling that preconceived notion and writing more. And in the case of a classroom filled with teenagers a lack of material is the greatest detriment to quality revision.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Type-In Geekery

The New Times Jackalope Ranch was kind enough to give the Phoenix Type-In scene another accolade in a recent post.

Friday, March 1, 2013


ITAM is over, but it seems like Type-In season has just begun:

There is also this thing in Phoenix:

But back to the blog post. In my eternal quest for full typewriter justification, I found this little snippet:

The way that the attachment works is a mystery. From the description is seems that you note the number of spaces that remain on the line after typing. Some sort of pointer and ruler help you do this. In retyping, a knob s allows you to set the number of spaces to drop into the line to fully justify it. Maybe its something that fiddles with the spacer mechanism. The possibilities are very interesting. Maybe this is something that can be replicated if I channel my inner Thomas Edison.