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 Computing With Kids

  Teaching Kids to Type Faster
Teaching Kids to Type Faster
By Jinny Gudmundsen
April 11th, 2003
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Before I start this week's column I want to remind readers that the The 2003 Annual issue of CHOOSING CHILDREN'S SOFTWARE magazine is now available!

In additon to writing this column, I am the editor of CHOOSING CHILDREN'S SOFTWARE magazine. If you find this column is helpful, I guarantee you will find the magazine even more helpful!

It has 64 pages of software reviews (arranged by grade level) and articles about the best software in all the academic subjects (math, language arts, science, social studies, art, music, reference, foreign language, and typing.) It also reviews the best websites for kids and has a special column just for teachers. It is the perfect resource for finding the best software to use with kids!

ORDER IT NOW by going to http://www.ChoosingChildrensSoftware.com.

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And now this week's column:

When to teach a child to type? No matter how you sugarcoat typing drills by placing them in arcade-type “games”—learning to T-Y-P-E is a lot of work. Most children aren’t ready for serious typing instruction until they are about 10—partially because their hands aren’t developed and they are still learning about how to make words, but mostly because they don’t have a great interest until then. By fifth grade, the ability to type can make writing those school papers easier. But more importantly, typing can help kids' Internet social lives—if they can type quickly, they can communicate faster in IM’s and email.

Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing 15 Deluxe and Typing Instructor Deluxe 15 are both excellent choices to teach children how to type. The two programs have similar approaches to teaching typing—a child takes a typing test, and the program uses the results to develop a customized typing program, which includes drills, tests, and games. Both do a great job of helping children develop memories of keystrokes so that they can become proficient typists. While you can’t go wrong with either, there are aspects of each that make them unique.



 Best Pick Award Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing 15 Deluxe
Published on April 11th, 2003
 4 1/2 Stars

Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing 15 Deluxe Mavis had long been considered the Grande Dame of teaching typing. She is good—very good. The stern but friendly Mavis greets players in her school. Kids identify their age and then take a typing test so that Mavis can access their skill level. In preparing a custom plan, Mavis uses her eight arcade-style games more often if a child is young.

Mavis’ strength is her ability to hone in on the child’s areas of weakness and then offer instruction to remedy those weaknesses. The program comes with a “Personal Coach” option that tracks the child’s typing progress on the computer, even when not within the program. It can tell you your words per minute (WPM) even when you are typing emails. Mavis has a special session scheduler that reminds kids to open the program and practice a few drills. Its lessons can even be downloaded to a PDA. The program comes with excellent videos that demonstrate good typing technique and ergonomics; and it is bilingual in Spanish and English.

 
Summary
Age  10 - 99 Platform  Windows
Price  $30.00 Category  Typing
Grade  ISBN 
Company  Broderbund
(800) 223-6925
www.broderbund.com
 



 Best Pick Award Typing Instructor Deluxe 15
Published on April 11th, 2003
 4 1/2 Stars

Typing Instructor Deluxe 15 By contrast, Typing Instructor Deluxe 15 sports a playful travel theme—one that kid-testers found more appealing. Players are issued passports, and they travel around the world to take typing lessons and tests. Each time they surpass a WPM goal, they get a new stamp in their passport.

Typing Instructor does a better job of putting children in control of their learning. While both Mavis and Typing Instructor allow children to make choices about how their typing program progresses, Typing Instructor makes that personal customization easier. Kids can choose from over 300 reading texts to type, including children’s classic literature. They have a wider choice of background music, including the ability to upload their own. This was our testers’ personal favorite.

 
Summary
Age  10 - 99 Platform  Windows
Price  $30.00 Category  Typing
Grade  ISBN  1-931946-09-4
Company  Individual Software
(800) 822-3522
www.individualsoftware.com
 



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REMEMBER to order your copy of CHOOSING CHILDREN'S SOFTWARE magazine by going to www.ChoosingChildrensSoftware.com.
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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: .