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 Computing With Kids

  Children Learn to Master Typing
Children Learn to Master Typing
By Jinny Gudmundsen
August 17th, 2001
If emails and instant messages fly across your children’s computer screen, offer them a chance to send or respond to them faster. Teach them to type!

While young children can “play” at learning to type, serious typing instruction is most appropriate for children ages 11 and up. Here’s a look at the typing programs that allow for play and those that are best for comprehensive instruction.

Playing at Typing

It doesn’t make much sense to teach children under age 7 how to type because they are still working hard at simply recognizing the letters and words. They do not need the extra pressure of using the correct fingers to type those letters. Also, kids with little hands have trouble placing their fingers correctly on the keyboard, and they have short attention spans.

Children ages 7-10 are ready to begin keyboarding but are not yet ready for the heavy-duty typing instruction. The best way to introduce them to typing is to provide them with fun games that encourage correct typing practice. Both “Disney’s Adventures in Typing with Timon & Pumbaa” and “JumpStart Typing” fit this bill.



 Best Pick Award Disney’s Adventures in Typing with Timon & Pumbaa
Published on August 14th, 2001
 4 1/2 Stars

This title provides an entertaining introduction to learning to type. The program instructs children about finger placement, home row technique, and editing methods. But, the real value of this program is the fun games it offers children to encourage them to learn to type. There are five in all—children can help Timon make a water pump work by typing words, or they can rescue Timon and Pumbaa from hyenas by typing with speed. This is a great title for “playing” with keyboarding.

 
Summary
Age  7 - 11 Platform  Windows Mac
Price  $15.00 Category  Typing
Grade  ISBN 
Company  Disney Interactive
(800) 900-9234
http://www.disneyinteractive.com
 



 Best Pick Award JumpStart Typing
Published on August 14th, 2001
 4 1/2 Stars

Kids learn typing by entering in the first World Extreme Keyboarding Competition. Children participate in events such as soccer games, rock-climbing, snowboarding, and skateboarding and all of these competitions are won by typing. “JumpStart Typing” ingeniously weaves a story line into the typing lessons, technique videos, and arcade-style games. This title works well with children who like sports competitions.

 
Summary
Age  7 - 11 Platform  Windows Mac
Price  $20.00 Category  Typing
Grade  ISBN 
Company  Knowledge Adventure
(800) 542-4240
http://www.knowledgeadventure.com
 



Comprehensive Typing Instruction

 Best Pick Award Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing 12.0 Deluxe
Published on August 14th, 2001
 5 Stars

Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing 12.0 Deluxe By the time children enter 6th grade, many are masters of email and instant messaging. They have a fair number of reports and papers that require typing. These factors are great motivation to master the skill of keyboarding.

With Mavis, children enter a virtual classroom to receive their typing instruction. This environment is serious, but Mavis is not all work and no play. She customizes typing plans for users based on a skills test and their age; and for children, she includes arcade games as part of her suggested regimen. This program offers more customization than any other typing program by not only personalizing the instruction, but by also adjusting the material to be typed to the user’s age level. Mavis constantly offers suggestions and assesses the user’s proficiency and progress. New to this version is the ability to have the instruction in English or Spanish.

 
Summary
Age  11 - 99 Platform  Windows
Price  $40.00 Category  Typing
Grade  ISBN 
Company  The Learning Company
(800) 543-9778
http://www.learningco.com
 



 Best Pick Award Typing Instructor Deluxe Edition Version 11
Published on August 14th, 2001
 4 1/2 Stars

This typing program lets you travel the world as you learn to type. Typing accomplishments are rewarded with passport stickers as players practice typing against scenic backdrops of famous places around the world. By taking a typing test, the program customizes a typing plan that focuses on the typist’s areas of weakness. The program offers continual feedback, your choice of music to type to, selection of material to type including children’s books and magazines, and eight fun games.

 
Summary
Age  11 - 99 Platform  Windows
Price  $30.00 Category  Typing
Grade  ISBN 
Company  Individual Software Incorporated
(800) 822-3522
http://www.individualsoftware.com
 



 Best Pick Award Typing Tutor 10 Gold
Published on August 14th, 2001
 4 1/2 Stars

Typing Tutor 10 Gold This straightforward typing program is noteworthy for its easy-to-use interface and its superior games. It provides lessons and opportunities to practice using excerpts from novels and magazines. It has eight games that are fun, full of humor, and use sophisticated graphics. It provides less customization than is found in “Mavis” and “Typing Instructor” but you can choose a path of instruction based on your level of competency. If you are a Mac user this is your best option.

 
Summary
Age  12 - 99 Platform  Windows Mac
Price  $20.00 Category  Typing
Grade  ISBN 
Company  Simon & Schuster Interactive
(888) 793-9972
http://www.ssinteractive.com
 





“Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing 12.0 Deluxe”, “Typing Instructor Deluxe Edition Version 11”, and “Typing Tutor 10 Gold” all provide comprehensive typing instruction. “Mavis Beacon” is the grande dame of typing but you won’t go wrong if you pick either “Typing Instructor” or “Typing Tutor.” If you are a Mac user, your only choice is “Typing Tutor 10 Gold.”



All software is judged on a five star scale by looking at the following five factors: educational, fun, ease of use, value, technical.

Jinny Gudmundsen is the Editor of Computing With Kids magazine. If you have questions or comments, please write to: .