At what speed should students begin to learn their software.

I've been think about this for a while now. I asked another reporter on this forum and she suggested I throw it out here to the group. Right now I'm at 100 but I was thinking about getting my software right now anyway.

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Hey Mysci,

The software that is used at school is Case Catalyst. But, I haven't taken the class for this software yet.
My school starts software in 180s, so that you are done with your academics and you are just in speed and csr review.
As a veteran court reporter, my feeling is that a student should start working with CAT software at around 180 wpm. By that time, you're pretty much on your way to working and you should start learning the tools of your profession. However, some schools are starting from day one in theory and doing everything in realtime so that students build their dictionary and get used to seeing their mistakes on the screen so that those stroking errors are corrected immediately.

However, with that being said, once you start working you should invest in further CAT training by way of a software trainer from the company whose software you've chosen. Try to avoid an all-day marathon training session, learning that way is impossible (at least for me anyway). Try to work out a schedule of two hours a day for four weeks or something like that so you have the whole week to learn the new information. I do this with my trainer whenever a new update comes out for my software or I want to learn something new.

Another tip with regard to software training and being educated on your CAT software: Come up with five topics you want to cover so that your trainer knows exactly what to train you on instead of you saying, "Train me," without any idea of what your learning outcome is.

I know I went off topic but I felt the need to expand on this important topic. Good luck!!

Thanks for that reply. I forgot that I had written that post. That was very informative.
I think buying software is a very good idea, no matter what time you do it. I do think, as the person below mentioned, you have to be careful because it can take you off track. But, having said that, I do believe you can really get a big step ahead when it comes to navigating in your software at any time, and if nothing else building your dictionary. I started when I was in my 160s, and I really believe I could have started earlier, but I couldn't afford it. This was many years ago before software was as inexpensive as it is now. You can now get student versions, which are very afordable for students. But, I do think that seeing what you write is always a big help, because it makes you get in your notes more often, as well as learn the so called "hot keys" of your software. And really when it comes down to it, editing in software with hot keys as opposed to drop down menus is 100% faster! And getting editing done quickly equates to more money to you, and more time to take jobs. That's the bottom line! But I do want to reiterate what the gal said about distractions. You do need to stay on track with the speed building and not try to build Rome in one day. Learning your software, as you will find, is an on-going process that never ends, no matter where you are in your career. Things are always changing in your writing. Your writing will never stay the same, so don't get stuck on thinking the way you write now is the only way you will ever write. Just stick with learning the navigation and creating your dictionary, and that in itself will be a tremendous advantage, no matter what speed you are at!! Good luck and I hope I helped the decision for you.
I've been working with CaseCatalyst since the second week of theory 1. I'm now in my 140's and there are still things about the software I have to learn, of course, but I feel that it was a big benefit to be using it from the get go. It was nice to be able to see that I was writing things correctly in Theory I. We didn't get much instruction on the program until after Theory II, but if you learn windows apps very easily and have other people around you that know the program it's possible to figure some things out on your own. The biggest help came from them providing us with a dictionary that had many different ways to write the same words so that I could search the dictionary when a word stumped me or seemed to take too many strokes. It's a large tool that some of my fellow students neglect. As for writing real time, now that I'm building speed I try not to worry too much about real time unless I am at at least 20wpm below my comfort zone. As for dictionary building, we were fortunate enough to have a fairly sizeable dictionary given to us at the beginning of Theory I. If any CaseCatalyst/StenEd users would like to take a look at my dictionary, I'd be happy to email you. I think it would make for a good starting point for anybody building a dictionary.


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