This first featured post in A Series of Classroom Connections (ASCC) comes to us from the grade three library media class of Cathy Sullivan at Kerby Elementary School.
The days of video and book-based programs only for learning to type are now ones of the past. With the availability of free web-based tools and instantaneous feedback provided by computer programs, learning keyboarding can be fun and efficient for kids.
Let’s face it. Kids need to learn how to keyboard. Yes, they’ll figure out how to send a text message or pump out a caption on Instagram on their own, but learning to type with all ten fingers is not as intuitive. Why learn to type anymore? The amount of paper writing they will do in their academic career alone is evidence enough that keyboarding is an essential skill. So, for kids to become adept with keyboarding so they can use the skill in their educational career, learning to type needs to happen early. And for that, there are many great, and free, programs available online.
If you’re looking for a great way to teach keyboarding (typing) to younger students, look no further than the free web based tools that are available. One in particular, that has received some of the best reviews and credo is TypingWeb. Elementary school teacher, Cathy Sullivan, gave TypingWeb a try with her students and elicited feedback from the kids on how they liked the program. It was a big hit!
Soon to be changing its name to Typing.com, the TypingWeb team provides beginner, intermediate, and advanced lessons for those learning to type. While it isn’t geared specifically toward elementary students, the program is perfect for beginning keyboarders at any age.
TypingWeb offers a letter-by-letter tutorial system that color codes fingers to keys in order to help learners orient themselves to the keyboard. With instantaneous feedback from the screen, students get read outs on their accuracy, speed, and problem keys.
The program is organized into levels and lessons. At the beginner level, they have practice for they home keys and each row on the keyboard. Drill-and-practice activities get kids acclimated to the keyboard before starting to tackle full words. Once learners are ready to move on, they can attempt words of varying complexity and get feedback on how they combine different letter keys to make words, and ultimately sentences–all for free!
Teachers can sign up for an account and have the ability to receive scores for their students’ performance in a virtual “gradebook” that captures student progress as they learn to keyboard.
Not interested in having your students sign up for accounts on TypingWeb? That’s totally fine! You don’t have to have them sign up. They can access the lessons without logging in, but they can’t save their scores or have them appear in the teacher portal. Not to worry, however, because all you need if you don’t want kids to sign up is to let students use Typing.com lessons and record their progress in a learning log. Consider this learning log that was created specifically for using with Typing.com. It allows students to keep track of their performance on all the TypingWeb lessons according to the main feedback outputs the web-based tool provides.
Overall, Typing.com (formerly known as TypingWeb) is a great free tool that is easy to use and provides clear lessons and feedback to help kids learn keyboarding. As they move forward in their career, not spending precious minutes hunting for keys to strike on the keyboard will be more time available to kids for learning!
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