This is a sponsored post written in partnership with TypeTastic! and We Are Teachers
People who sit next to me at conferences or meetings often comment about how fast I type. The truth is, my worst grade ever was in middle school typing class. I spent a semester struggling to remember where each letter was on the keyboard and trying to type perfect sentences that were correction-tape free without much luck. Fast forward to the present and I’m living proof that the more you practice typing, the better you get.
The same holds true with our kids. The more they practice, the better they get. Thankfully the outdated methods used when I learned to type are a thing of the past thanks to TypeTastic!, a free site that can be used in classrooms or at home to give elementary-aged kids much needed typing practice in a fun way.
TypeTastic! is a series of typing games that are interactive, engaging, and visually appealing to elementary students who will be motivated to keep playing, learning, and typing. Unlike past methods of teaching typing that required kids to start using all 10 fingers at once, the creators of TypeTastic! listened and observed in classrooms to better understand how kids learn to type. Their observations led to the development of a pedagogical approach to keyboarding that is developmentally appropriate for kids that is TypeTastic!
Parents who want their kids to be able to learn to type more fluently to speed up word processing tasks and teachers who are looking for a pedagogically sound typing program that teaches kids in a natural way will love TypeTastic! for these seven reasons and more.
7 Reasons to Use TypeTastic! to Teach Kids to Type
Yes, you read that right. TypeTastic! is free for home and school use. Teachers can sign up to use the Ad-free Edition of TypeTastic! for free and have access to 150+ levels for the 2017-2018 school year. While TypeTastic! plans to keep the Ad-free Edition free for teacher for the foreseeable future, when the trial ends, you can decide if you want to pay a small subscription fee or use the ad-sponsored mode to continue using it for free. No information is currently available on the site to know how much TypeTastic! might charge in the future if access to the Ad-free Edition disappears but it’s certainly nice to be able to use it without ads for now although the COPPA compliant ads aren’t too intrusive or distracting.
Easy for Elementary Ages to Navigate
The site is divided into 3 sections: Let’s Build a Keyboard, Hop onto the Keys, and Keyboarding Kickstart! Within each section, there are different games. Each of the games within the sections are numbered so less fluent readers can find games easily even without knowing how to read all the words on the screen.
Within each of the numbered games are different levels. The levels allow kids to progress naturally as they learn and can also be a good way to differentiate instruction for faster learners.
Let’s Build a Keyboard’s Keyboard Builder acquaints kids with the layout of the keyboard by challenging them to click on letter tiles that are placed in a trio of letters that are then dropped into place on the keyboard below. For kids who need more of a challenge, selecting a higher level provides differentiation that comes through multiple trucks on the screen at a time or a single truck carrying three different colors of letters that kids have to visually sort through to assemble the letter trio.
Hop onto the Keys lessons give children a chance to put their fingers on the keyboard to type. But unlike your middle or high school typing class, these games are engaging and fun! Astro Bubbles and Ducky Trouble are available for free and additional bonus games can be unlocked if teachers or parents enter a bonus code or sign up by providing their first name, email, and role.
The games in the Keyboarding Kickstart! section is where kids really get to practice their typing skills and get their fingers moving on the keyboard. Hop on the Home Keys teaches proper finger positioning on the home keys of ASDF JKL so they can be successful at subsequent games like Balloon Pop, Bubble Burstin’, and Fruity Keys that has them type certain letters as they appear on the screen.
Kids will quickly discover that they can leave a TypeTastic! game at any time by clicking the X on the right side of the screen. As the levels get more difficult and kids need instruction for games that are part of Keyboarding Kickstart!, TypeTastic! features audio that will read the directions to young learners who aren’t quite fluent readers. I only wish that TypeTastic! highlighted words as they were read to reinforce beginning literacy skills such as one to one correspondence and common sight words.
TypeTastic!’s Game Based Learning Makes Typing Fun
TypeTastic! games progress in a logical way to become more difficult but kids probably won’t realize how much they’re learning since the games are fun. For example, in the first Keyboard Builder game, kids start by actually building a keyboard which will help them to map out the keyboard visually.
The Frog Pond Patrol game follows to help guide eye movements so kids can find the correct key effectively. The last game, Cupcake Bugs, aids kids in actively remembering the location of the keys thanks to a matching game that reinforces visual key groups.
After this, the kids move on to tapping the actual keyboard. TypeTastic! is currently working on additional games that will introduce how to type words and sentences fluently.
Color Coded Keyboard Aids in Memorizing Keys
Since kids tend to memorize keys in groups, rather than individually, TypeTastic! teaches kids to memorize keys in groups using a color-coded keyboard that aids in memorization. Exercises also start with a single finger since developers observed kids tackling the keyboard using just one finger at a time.
Positive Reinforcement Through Game Play Motivates Kids
Some typing programs feature learning games where kids are always required to race the clock but having to worry about time ticking down can cause anxiety that hampers learning. TypeTastic! features positive reinforcement for a job well done on most levels given by a cute cartoon character and a thumbs up during game play and a “great” at the end of the level.
Once kids get to know the keys and are ready to begin typing, they can race the clock to try to get their best score in games that are part of Keyboarding Kickstart. Keyboarding Kickstart games are for those who have progressed through all other levels of TypeTastic and are ready for a challenge. The competitive juices flow as kids try to identify as many letters as they can to practice accuracy.
Easy to Control the Sound
TypeTastic! features music but it’s not necessary to complete the levels. Teachers, parents, and kids can toggle between mute and unmute thanks to the speaker button that appears on the right side of the screen. Muting laptops or tablets, or having a class supply of headphones available, is one way to make TypeTastic! tolerable in your classroom or at home if kids want to play with sound.
Works on Computers and Tablets
Besides being free, fun, and providing solid keyboarding instruction, TypeTastic! works on both computers and tablets. It works with Chrome, Safari, IE 11/Edge, Firefox, iOS 9+, and Android 5+ and doesn’t require software installation, plugins, or updates. Just visit the TypeTastic! site to get started! It’s really that easy!
5 Ways to Integrate TypeTastic! into Your Classroom
Since the Ad-free Edition of TypeTastic! is free for schools, there’s no reason to wait to integrate it into your instruction. Here are some ideas of how to use it in your classroom as early as tomorrow:
- Make it part of morning work. Kids will love starting their day with 15-20 minutes of typing and making it a part of your daily routine ensures that they’ll always get the practice you need as you take care of morning tasks.
- Include it as a center. If you have a few laptops or tablets, put a shortcut to TypeTastic! on the homescreen and have kids use it as part of their center rotations.
- Start your time in the computer lab with it. If you tend to go to the computer lab or media center to use computers, dedicate 15 minutes of your instructional time to TypeTastic!
- Let kids use it on rainy days. Kids don’t always like watching movies, playing games, and doing the other things offered to them on rainy days when they can’t go outside. Offer up TypeTastic! and some will probably love to use their rainy day recess time to practice typing!
- Share it with parents! Parents are always looking for ways to help their kids continue the learning at home. Add TypeTastic! to your list of resources on your blog or Back to School Night handouts as resources and don’t forget to remind them of it throughout the year.
To sign up for the ad-free version of TypeTastic! for your classroom, visit the teacher sign up page to access it for free during the 2017-2018 school year.
TypeTastic! belongs into a typing game family developed by Typing Master Inc. The company goes back all the way to the 80’s when two schoolboys started coding and selling a 10 finger typing program. The company took an international approach in the 90’s, and today, every month over 4 million people use our typing apps and services in over 160 countries. In addition to TypeTastic!, the company’s current lineup includes the number one typing test site TypingTest.com with over 4 million tests taken every month; Typing Quest keyboarding courses for K-12 schools, TypingTrainer.com typing course for consumers, and TypingGames.zone, a top typing games site for K-12.
This is a sponsored post written through a partnership with WeAreTeachers and TypeTastic! but all opinions are my own.