Anyway, I began researching typing/keyboarding programs a while back and I found out a couple of things. No matter what program you use, learning to type is not exciting. No matter how many cutesy characters they intersperse into the lessons - typing is typing. I don't ever remember anyone saying in my whole life, "Oh, I love typing. Please let me type that paper for you." I do remember people making a good living in college typing papers.
Anyway, here are the resources I found. Some are better than others:
- Typing instruction in a book (much like I used when I was in 9th grade). I looked at a few of these, but decided that since the computer was already involved, why not use it as a resource for instruction as well.
- Typing for Kids! -- This is spiral bound, which is great for typing instruction since the pages lie flat, black and white line art book. The lessons take you slowly through the keyboard learning one or two keys per lesson. This is a basic approach and at $7.95 you can find much better in a computer oriented program.
- Keyboarding Skills -- Another spiral bound book for typing instruction. This one loses the cutesy drawings and adds speed. This book will take you further faster. If you really want a book, this one is for the older audience who really wants to type. I think this one was $19.95, but I wasn't that interested so I forgot to document.
- Typing computer programs -- I was stymied here for a while since most of the more documented programs have not kept up with technology or were not written for the Macintosh crowd. I eventually found several interesting typing tutors for modern machines (both Mac and PC) complete with bells and whistles.
- Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing 17 -- This is the newest of the Mavis Beacon typing empire (Make sure you get the version 17. The older programs are still floating around in the discount shops, but will not work with more modern machines). This program has oodles of bells and whistles, videos and arcade games, and lessons (231) and tests. This is a huge program. My question is this. Do you really need it all? The price is $40 or there about and you can download a free trial here.
- Learn2type.com -- Offers free typing instruction for both adults and children. The basics are covered in a basics section and then there are exercises in another section. There is nothing to stop the child from skipping the basics and moving into the exercises without instruction. Though the information in the basics section is sound, there is not as much practice of the basics to ensure that proper form or hand placement is achieved.
- Ten Thumbs Typing Tutor -- I like this Viking Typing Teacher. The on screen keyboard shows where the correct letter is so you don't have to look down. Lessons are short, can be repeated, and you get live stats. Some of this information is not important for the 10 year old boy, but for the parent who likes to play with the children's school resources, having all of the information is just grand. Another adult or child bonus is iTune connectivity. You can actually type the lyrics of the song you are hearing (if the lyrics are available). This is a shareware program for all operating systems so you can try it for a few days before deciding.
- Arcade Typing Tutor -- I am addicted to this program. The program is for practice only - no lessons here. You must shoot the meteors, spaceships, etc by typing the words associated object. Some of the spaceships shoot back, so be careful. Speed, only, is important. $11.99 and you are supporting a med school student - a feel good purchase for Mac only.
- Master Gecko's Home Row - I like this program for my 6 year old - though I hadn't thought much about teaching her typing, yet. I can read her writing. A gecko teaches the keyboard, then he introduces you to his friends in a maze game. Obviously, home row refers to the asdf - jkl; on the keyboard and you move forward from that point. You can choose levels - beginner, intermediate, or expert. This is a cheap any operating system program.
- There are hundreds of typing programs that I won't address here. This site gives you reviews and a screen shot of many of them. There should be something for everyone.