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Product Focus

Keyboarding in today’s classrooms

New products feature gamification, captivating graphics and extensive reporting components.

Many districts teach formal keyboarding instruction as early as second grade—a shift that requires new approaches to a skill that was once taught only in high school.

“Students don’t want typing, typing, typing,” says Paul Garofano, CEO and co-founder of Second Nature Learning, which developed the QwertyTown keyboarding app. “Students want to be in a fun, gamified environment with good graphics and interactivity. They want the social component where they can chat and IM and communicate with their teachers.”

Much keyboarding software offers such features, as well as extensive reporting and monitoring components so teachers can track and analyze students’ progress. Products are hosted online (rather than having to be installed), increasing accessibility and allowing connection with any web browser, regardless of device.

And many districts encourage students to begin practicing keyboarding at home before they do so at schools. “We’re trying to give school districts more autonomy in how they incorporate components that address early literacy,” says Garofano.

The products below include many of the latest features, reporting capabilities and gamified aspects.

EasyTech

Learning.com

EasyTech includes a complete keyboarding curriculum designed to improve speed, accuracy, finger position and posture. Teachers can track student practice time, lessons covered, words per minute and accuracy. The program also lets teachers and students review progress together.

QwertyTown

Second Nature Learning

A District Administration Readers’ Choice top product last year, this K8 keyboarding web app provides a safe, teacher-controlled environment where students can communicate with classmates while playing keyboarding games.

QwertyTown 2.0 launches in January (the beta version is online currently) with new content, games and curriculum, as well as updated reporting and control functions. In HTML 5, it’s compatible with tablets.

EduTyping

B.E. Publishing

EduTyping is a web-based software package that features a comprehensive K12 keyboarding curriculum. It includes interactive games and competitions to reinforce lesson content. It can also be integrated with a district’s student information system, and allows sharing of lessons across districts and management of multiple schools from a single account.

Typing Agent

Typing Agent

This fully web-based program allows teachers and administrators to set lessons and goals for individual students, entire classes or grade levels. Educators can control keyboarding curriculum and assessments for individual schools and districts. Basic coding lessons are available for grade 3 and above, along with a social network component, an internet-safety module and typing games.

TypingClub School Edition

TypingClub

The school portal version of this online application includes a virtual keyboard and hands interface to assist students with correct finger placement. The replay option lets instructors review and critique student efforts. Other tools allow educators to customize lessons and produce a variety of reports while monitoring districts and multiple classes.

Keyboarding Without Tears

Handwriting Without Tears

Compatible with most devices (PCs, Macs, Chromebooks, iPads and tablets), this web-based program includes lessons that focus on general computer readiness and digital learning skills, including typing fluency and speed.

Game-based and self-directed lessons focus on cross-curricular themes to integrate with other subjects, such as social studies. Educators can customize progress reports, and the program is compatible with various roster management and school information systems.

Keyboarding Online

Ellsworth Publishing

This online product’s self-paced programs support various grade and skill levels, starting with Keyboarding for Kids (grades 1 through 6) and going to Ten Key Mastery (middle school and up).

It stresses professional data entry standards for the numeric keypad. Keyboarding Online also aims to eliminate “hunting and pecking” typing with a “blackout timing view exercise” that prevents users from cheating.