Which Typing Program Is Best For A Homeschooling Parent?
Hey, everybody, it’s Mike Gecawich co-founder of Typing.com, Edutyping.com and Teaching.com. Welcome back to another episode of #AskEduTyping where we field user audience questions from all around the United States and the world for the world’s most popular keyboarding programs Typing.com and Edutyping.com.
We start every week with a tip of the week for keyboarding teachers to kind of engage their students outside of our programs and make keyboarding a little bit more fun and interactive for their students. So this weeks tip is called Game Show Letters. You can find this, I got a nice colour print out of a PDF that you can download from our blog which you can reach at blog.edutyping.com and there is also a link right on Edutyping.com so please visit the blog. It’s got videos of #AskEduTyping in previous episodes, it’s updated every week with all kinds of cool tips and ideas for both students and teachers alike.
So let me explain the Game Show Letters tip that I will share with you and I used to teach keyboarding for 17 years at high school middle school level. I used to use this activity every Friday because students tend to get a little antsy before the weekend and they absolutely love it and it gives them a break from the day to day routine of keyboarding lessons.
So here’s how to play. Basically, you are going to need to make some cue cards which will on one side contain a question and on the other side (and I’m not going to show you the other side right now to see if you can guess the answer) is a letter from the keyboard. So to play this activity you’ll need to invent some questions that prompt students to think visually about the keyboard and where the keys are placed on the keyboard. This is a great memory exercise and really helps to reinforce when they actually go to a keyboard where they place their fingers and when they’re reading from the screen that muscle memory that they are going to need to create. So the other thing that you’ll need to do in order to play this with the class is to hide all the visuals of any keyboards in your classroom. If you have a chart on the wall you’ll need to hide that and if students have keyboards in front of them which they more than likely will, they need to turn those keys over so they’re not looking down on them. And that’s not critical to the game but it does help with their visual reinforcement of the placement of each letter.
You could do this with letters and symbols and as many pieces you want. I recommend playing for about 20 to 25 minutes or so. Anything longer than that kind of gets tedious. So here’s how to play, you set up your cue cards, have your students sit in their seats, the person who has an answer will raise his hands you’ll call on that student if they get it right you can put their name on the board and start tallying up points to make it a competitive friendly competition. So here is the first question, and I’m going to hide the answer here.
So here’s a sample. I am a home row key, but I live on the right side of the keyboard. Your pointer finger rests on me all the time. Who am I? I’ll give you a second. That’s long enough. It’s the letter J. If you guess the letter J, you got that correct. So you would continue this pattern throughout however long you’d like to play it. Kids love it and again visit blog.edutyping.com for all kinds of downloadable activities.
So we start each week with that tip and then we move to our user audience questions. And as a reminder if we don’t get to field your questions during our show we will respond to you via email and you can reach us at #AskEduTyping through Twitter, Facebook and Instagram so keep those questions coming we’ll be airing the show every week once a week on Thursdays at 4:15 on Facebook. And again all of the archived videos are available as well for you to watch individually as well as with your students in the classroom. So I am joined off camera by my colleague Rennie who is going to read our first question of the week, Rennie!
Janice Rossi from New York asks “Which program is best for a home schooling parent?”
Janice great question. First of all congratulations on taking the initiative as a homeschooling parent to introduce your students to what I consider the most basic but yet important foundational skill to learning all things technology. Keyboarding is definitely going to help your students in school, as well in life and in the workplace as well. So that’s a great job for you. And kudos to teaching keyboarding. Here’s my recommendation.
We have a free trial on Edutyping.com that will allow you to use the program for 30 days and then you can set up classes so you basically need to set yourself up as the teacher and then you will put in your children as a class. You will enter their first and last names and you can name the class whatever, my homeschooling keyboarding class. And then your issue a username and password to each of your students and they basically enter into the student portal and begin following in a hierarchy format the lessons that are presented. Depending upon their age you’ll need to monitor how they’re typing (in your question I was not able to hear whether or not you provided the ages of your children) the recommendations for each age level is actually on Edutyping.com if you look at the curriculum button at the top math and from there you can see there are a scope and sequence that will basically tell you a recommended number of minutes that a student should be typing based on his age and motor dexterity skills. So that’s a great question.
I recommend looking at the free trial at Edutyping and then also realize that there is a paid version of that program but we do have a minimum number of license requirement so another option you could try Typing.com which is 100% free. Not as robust as far as the features and curriculum but it will still probably get the job done. So let’s move on to our second question of the week.
Jamie Cussons from Typing.com asks “Is it possible to go from 20 words per minute to 40 words per minute in one day?”
In one day is it possible to go from 20 to 40 words per minute? That is a difficult task for sure. If you’re able to do that I would love to hear how you accomplished that. You have to realize that keyboarding, just like learning anything new when you learn how to ride a bike you start with training wheels. You didn’t just go off on two wheels or else you probably would fallen quite often. So the thing to think about here is don’t try to set a goal that may not be attainable.
I guess it’s possible to go from 20 words per minute to 40 in a day. It’s not something I’ve seen in the years that I’ve taught keyboarding and in developing this software we look at the data and the progress of our students from all different grade levels and I’ve never seen that on Monday and then Tuesday they’re up by 20 words per minute. So set attainable goals for yourself. If you’re at 20 words per minute maybe in a week or two weeks you want to be at 21 or 22 words for a minute and then gradually work your way up. 40 words per minute is great if you do achieve that.
The other thing to realize is typing fast is not that important in the beginning especially if you’re new to the world of keyboarding and the program itself. Realize that accuracy is what you really want to focus on. I always use this analogy, in baseball, if I’m a pitcher and I can throw a pitch 150 miles an hour but every time I throw a pitch it’s a ball and I walk every batter. Yes, am I throwing the fastest pitch on the planet? Probably so, but I’m not worth anything to any baseball team out there because I can’t throw a strike. On the other hand, if you have a pitcher who throws say 80 85 or 90 miles an hour and get to pitch 70 gets a strike 75 percent of the time that pitcher is more valuable obviously because the goal when you’re pitching in baseball is to strike out the batter. So that analogy you can carry forward on the keyboard as well. So focus on accuracy. If you have a paper that have to hand into your teacher and it’s riddled with typos and misspellings you know you’re going to get downgraded significantly. Whereas if you have a paper that you typed it might take you a little longer but it’s almost perfect has no typos or grammatical errors your chances of doing well on that is much higher. So great question now we got time for one more question this week so Rennie if you could read our last question.
Ethan Jones from Typing.com asks “How can I learn to type with both hands easier?”
Well Ethan, that basically goes back to the fundamentals of learning the keyboard. Our program and curriculum is designed for you to use both hands simultaneously but we take our time in introducing the simultaneous ness, if that’s a word! So you’ll start with learning one or two letters with your left hand one or two letters with your right hand and then you’ll begin to actually do both simultaneously. It’s really a motor dexterity skill very similar to playing video games where you have a game controller, picture the keyboard being that game controller and then as you are touching keys you know you’re starting to see the letters appear. It’s the same philosophy. So it’s going to take a little bit of time and just realize that your patience is a virtue. You’re not going to learn to keyboard overnight. It can be frustrating, just stay the course, practice every single day and it will come. I promise you.
So that’s all we have time for folks but remember if we didn’t get your questions please remember you can reach us through #AskEdutyping on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. And also you can submit questions via e-mail through both of our websites on Typing.com and Edutyping.com and also be sure to visit the blog as well, you can submit user questions there. And if we didn’t get your question this week I promise we’ll be back to you via e-mail where we will take your questions in a future episode. So until next week, happy keyboarding everybody and I’ll see you next time. Bye Bye