I've been using Keyboard Town Pals with my oldest son in hopes of him learning to type, and he has.... he'd probably do infinitely better if his mother let him on the computer more, but what can you do? Maybe this week I'll loosen up enough to give him more time. It's ironic that we want him to learn to type, and yet the computer is often off limits to him! Ha!
Well, minus our quirks, Keyboard Town Pals really is a great product. I've kind of dragged my feet with it a bit for some reasons, but overall I enjoy the concept of their learning philosophy and that's what I have to gush about today! To get a complete overview of the program via their words you can look at the instruction page found here.
As for my break down, Keyboard Town Pals ranks as a great product because it allows children to learn naturally and in a fun environment. After signing into the website children are greeted by a sunshine puppet who introduces them to different friends around the keyboard. We have our friends in "home row" (where children will rest their fingers) and those friends go "uptown"
and "downtown." On the screen children see a large qwerty keyboard, just like they're typing on below, and then each door opens with a new puppet that talks to the child about who they are, the things they like, and then that puppet tells them about the friends above and below them.
What makes this program unique is that it isn't based on errors. They've deactivated the delete and backspace buttons so that your children aren't paranoid of making mistakes and so that they don't have to take their hands off of the home row keys to "fix" something. I have to admit, that concept at first was a little odd to me, but I've since seen not only the utility in it, but how AWESOME that is for children who have a hard time making mistakes (like my daughter). If you have a special needs child chances are you've played with enough programs that have a clear cut pass/fail, more points if you do well, docking points if you make mistakes, that you give a big sigh of relief when something comes along that lets your child just learn without pressure. Anyway! That's what finally clicked with me. While my son enjoys this program and has certainly learned from it, I think my daughter would absolutely excel at typing because of this presentation.
I know, I'm kind of funny, but the other thing that I thought was nice is that the typing box the children make their entries into allow you to change the background color and text color. That's certainly a lot more fun then a blank white box and black text! Not to mention that it's sometimes easier for children with dyslexia because the colors are more soothing (this information comes from the website, but it's something I've observed over the last few years as well).
The lessons are broken down into a 30 minute lesson for each hand, meant to be completed on consecutive days, or for those with short attention spans each finger lessons run about 7 minutes. So, not a huge time commitment, and the things that they say about the letters and their positions, complete with the puppets, helps the information stick for all types of learners. Allowing your child to learn in a situation that eases anxiety is a winner on all sides. One of the things that I've noticed in my years of homeschooling is that children often do not care to engage in activities that cause them to feel inadequate. This program doesn't require timed tests, correction of mistakes (children figure out that they pushed the wrong button and self-correct without reprimand), and they don't spend a bunch of time just drilling (you know me, rote memorization isn't high on my list to begin with because I don't find it very effective in the long run.... which makes me laugh all the more when I think of my initial hesitation to their product.)
Anyway, the CD Rom can be purchased for $35 and can be bought here. It works on both Mac and PC (we have a Mac, so I felt that extra important to share :-D), and is a single license program. I'm still trying to figure out if that means that legally I can register it under my family and use it for all of my children as they go through this stage of learning how to type, or if that's no okay. I don't know, seems to me like could, but I'll have to get back to you on that!
To see what other crew members are saying about this product feel free to follow this link here.
*As a member of the 2011 TOS Homeschool Crew I was provided a free copy of this product in exchange for my honest review of its content. I have not received any other compensation for the opinions stated here, and they were not promised a positive review.**
4 hours ago