I'm so pleased to see a discussion on keyboarding revived.
First let me briefly answer the question. We use Type to Learn with grades 3 -4 and up. The networkability was one of the reasons for adopting it. It's great to be able to differentiate instruction (and also customize some of the features). I'm getting ready to order Type to Learn Junior (10 pack only) for we do have a handful of skills for which Type to Learn is not appropriate for. (
i.e. reading level, attention span, special needs). I would definitely recommend turning off "dictation station" for all students grades 3-4. It did more harm than good. I've had difficulty finding appropriate resources for one handed typist (who would have thought, but its come up several times already in the past few months).
(Ultra Key was a close contender in my decision)
I steared away from Mavis Beacon. Cortez Peters is a top notch method of keyboarding instruction for older students (high school and adults). I've been trained by Cortez himself and he boast methods that can bring students to perfect copy at speeds between 100 and 200 words per minute- but there is a time investment and committment to his method required. There is another great piece of software that is sold with Southwestern textbooks called Keyboarding Pro (good for high school and college)
The best investment you can make are keyguides ($10 each for lifetime warranty)... NOT the type that cover the keys, the type that hide the whole hand. Also, save old keyboards for students who don't have computers at home to practice with. I made the offer expecting 1 or 2 takers, I've send home over 20 this year with special instructions and worksheets that correspond.
Beware of games and gimmicks that do not follow the sequence of letters introduced in your lessons. I made that error last year and it did more harm than good, because students tried to beat the games when they had not learned the letters and reverted back to peeking! I now save the games until after the letters have been all introduced.
Okay... enough for now, but I think this is an excellent discussion topic, so I've set up a structure for those who could benefit by sharing more about this topic. (even those of your teachers that are NOT on this listserve and are now trying to teach keyboarding without any training in how to teach keyboarding)
As a 25 year veteran keyboarding teacher, I probably have strong opinions about this, but I certainly don't have all the answers. Until recently my experience had been with high school students. I'm having so much fun learning new strategies to teach our 3rd and 4th graders to keyboard. I got some good tips at Dynamic Landscape last year and ran a pilot with 20 fourth graders for 3 weeks to help prepare me to do a school wide implementation of teching keyboarding to students in grades 3 and 4 this year. It's taking a lot of my time this year, but I'm learning a lot of good stuff and documenting it for teachers at those grade levels in my building. . My goal is to model for those classroom teachers how to teach keyboarding. I'd like to point out one one of the biggest misconception I run across.... "why are you spending so much time on this, doesn't our school have software that will do that". Software DOES not a solution make! It is part of a solution. When used effectively it can be a great asset. So this discussion is 'good" but its only part of the discussion. In order for all you wonderful people who have brought the discussion to the table to be able to bring in some of your staff who have "elected" OR been 'assigned" to meet this requirement in your school without having to have them joing SCHOOL-IT, I've created a place for us to continue the discussion (and bring others to it) at
I've started a few pages as containers
for Teachers (Resources)
Keyboarding for Students with Special Needs
Strategies that work!
There is a place for us to collaborate on documents/pages or add more. We can also elect to start some discussions. Let's learn from each other. I know I could have used some help on more than one occasion in finding solutions for students with little or no motor skills in ONE hand due to accident or disability. This has come up 2 x already in one year.
I am also creating a teachers guide to Type to Learn that will follow the first 14 lessons from what I learned worked or didn't work. (i.e. when to use keyguide covers, when NOT to? what features of type to learn to "leave on" or "turn off" in the customize options section for grade 4 students.
ETC ETC ETC. I'll try to post some of my work there during the next few weeks.
Hope you will too!
Jeffrey jarrad <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
We use UltraKey 4 at Montpelier Elementary at grades 4 and 5, with
additional word processing-based drills, and in grades 6+ at the
Middle School. It works well, does what it's supposed to do, has
great reports. It's advertised as no-frills without "distracting
games", but I'd rather there were a few games and diversions. From
what I see of "games" they all reinforce the skills. Different
generation, these young' uns. It has had a few network bumps but in
general has worked pretty well. They are pushing ver 5 with their own
server app but we finally figured out it wasn't a real upgrade, so
ver 4 (on OSX network) has been fine. If I had to buy a new program
now, I'd look for one that was 1) network savvy, 2) did I say network
savvy? 3)well-thought out in terms of key progression, quick tests,
reinforcement, and 4) a bit more fun.
Montpelier, VT 05602
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