Being one of those homeschoolers I feel the need to teach my children how to type. It may just be because I know how to type and hate having to type for others because I can do it faster. Seems like cheating to me!
So that being said, by the time my children graduate our school they will have the skills to succeed in college because the ability to type is so necessary then. I had some trouble deciding what curriculum we would be using to do our keyboarding lessons since I had a 9th, 4th, and PK students. My oldest is a decent typist but just needed to increase his speed so that left the younger two. As a TOS Crew member I had the chance to review Keyboard Town Pals, an online/cd-rom keyboarding course geared toward children ages 6-12. Hoo-rah we were saved!
Keyboard Town Pals is a series of video lessons to learn keyboarding in an hour that allow a child to focus on one finger at a time. Each video consists of puppets showing the positions of each key as a house on one of three streets. Each street related to the rows on the keyboard, allowing a child to become familiar with the positions of each key in a relaxed, fun way.
While I am not a huge fan of puppets and neither are my children I thought this would be something new and interesting to them. My 9 y/o son tried it out and just found that it was below his level and he had trouble getting past the puppets. He still uses only one finger or two to type but he already knows where all the letters are located. He thought it might be good for a younger child though.
My 32 month old daughter was absorbed in the videos and began looking at the keyboard trying to match the letters shown on the screen. Here is where I think an improvement needs to be made. The on-screen letters that appear in the videos are in lower case, while on most keyboards the letters are in upper case format. I also do not think a child could learn how to type in an hour with this program, begin to type yes but certainly not be very proficient.
Other than the letter formatting issue I think this is a wonderful, gentle way to introduce keyboarding to children. I think the method of teaching one finger at a time is genius and worth a deeper look. I would not hesitate to recommend this to younger children to first learn keyboarding, and since each lesson can be replayed as often as needed, it also works well with a child that has learning challenges.
Keyboard Town Pals
$30.00 as either CD or online
$45.00 as a bundle with companion products
Also available are individual companion products at various prices.
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Disclaimer: I have been provided with free online access to the above product in exchange for my honest opinion.