Inside: Do you want your kids to love their typing lessons? We tested two free and fun typing programs for kids and loved the results.
Have you ever had an experience that changed your life?
Mine was when I took a typing class in college. Hard to believe? Stay with me … Suddenly my mind was free to soar above the petty concerns of the location of the space bar or hyphen on a typewriter (yes, a typewriter ;). I could concentrate solely on composing, without wasting an ounce of my brainpower looking down, hunting for the next letter, and pecking at the buttons.
I discovered that nothing compared to the pleasure of looking up at the ceiling, conjuring up images and ideas freely as my fingers typed away my thoughts on paper as fast as they flew through my mind. Yes, it did change my life.
Not only was I writing better, faster, and more accurately, but I felt like I was really expressing myself through writing for the first time in my life.
Nowadays, most schools don’t offer typing anymore. Looking at the toddler eagerly punching buttons on Mom’s smartphone, it might seem as though kids today are born proficient keyboarders. What’s more, by the time kids finish elementary school, they have such a huge experience texting, tweeting, and Facebooking that teaching typing seems like a redundant endeavor.
But there is a catch.
How are kids typing?
Go ask your kid to type a few sentences for you. I’ll wait here …
I don’t know your kid specifically, but – as you likely noticed – most kids today seem to employ the ubiquitous hunt-and-peck method. And no matter how fast someone can type with two fingers, this method interferes with the natural flow of thoughts.
Yes, kids today are under a lot of pressure to learn things we never even thought of learning: computer coding, entrepreneurship, social media etiquette… and time, as ever, is limited. So, some things have just got to go… Not touch-type, though!
I don’t care what people say, accurate and fast typing is a must-have skill in our digital world. Furthermore, it is not a pick-it-up-here-and-there-type skill. It must be methodically learned.
Disclaimer: I was compensated for my time, but as always, I’m honestly sharing my opinion and experiences.
Online Touch Typing with TypeDojo
TypeDojo is a free and fun way to learn touch typing. I very rarely get excited about online learning as I try to keep my family as unplugged as possible, but this one is definitely a keeper.
At the core of TypeDojo is an excellent and well-thought-out program designed to teach typing in a progressive sequence of building blocks. It starts with the main row, and each stage builds upon the last one until fingers instinctively fly to the appropriate keys.
By the end of the program, students should be able to easily type without looking down, purely through muscle memory. That’s why they call it touch typing.
If this sounds too challenging, don’t worry! When it comes to any skill, the most important thing to remember is practice, and TypeDojo makes practice so much fun.
10 Reasons You Will Love TypeDojo
- It has a clean, uncluttered layout, and black-and-white theme.
- Getting started is easy: create an account to keep track of progress or skip the sign-up and jump right into lessons.
- You can start with any skill level.
- You will enjoy the relaxing click-clack, click-clack of an old-fashioned typewriter as you hit the keys
- Each unit includes fun practice, drills, and exercises. Do them once, do them twice, etc. …. Seeing that 100% on the screen is very addictive, though, so don’t be surprised if kids redo some parts over and over just to get more hearts.
- It teaches correct finger position from the start.
- It keeps kids happy and engaged by making progress fun while allowing them to learn at their own pace.
- No ads.
- You have the option of taking a typing test and earning a seriously awesome (and free) professional certificate with your (or your child’s) name of on it.
- It’s free!
TypeDojo has a sister site that offers even more free practice. KidzType offers free typing games. It’s a little bit different from TypeDojo in that it’s more like a video game. If your kids love video games, they will be blown away by what they find here…
Just to give you an idea. In the Vampire game, as the last vampire hunter, you stand your ground on the left side of the screen, and the vampires keep coming at you from the right. Each vampire has a letter, word combination, or word (depending on the level) over his/her head; you have to type the correct thing before they can get to you. So, you are using your typing skills to destroy vampires. Very fun!
I personally loved the car race. You are driving a car down a multilane road. You have to move left and right by typing the correct letters or words to avoid hitting other cars on the road and to collect coins (points). The speed (and excitement) grows with each level. This entertainment element definitely makes practice a lot of fun.
How we used it:
It’s a well-documented fact that girls enjoy typing more than boys. Well, I’m actually not sure how well-documented it is, but it was definitely the subject of at least one academic study that I read (don’t ask me to find it please). In any case, I can personally attest that those dynamics played out in my house.
My oldest daughter took to Typedojo the moment I showed it to her. She wanted to keep going all day. I couldn’t stop her if I tried. She did the practice, re-did the less-than-perfect-ones, competed with herself, went back to re-do the previous lessons just to make sure she still had it down …
I mean, she really wanted to do it with no incentive other than the pleasure of mastering a new skill.
My oldest son, however, was far less enthusiastic.
“I don’t need it. I already know how to type.”
“It’s good enough for me. I don’t have time for this.”
“You can just do five minutes a day.”
“No, thank you.”
So, I suggested that we do it together, taking turns.
For example, when we were working on mastering “A” key, I would do each exercise first with him by my side, and once I was done, he did it. This created a sense of playful competition and collaboration that was enough of an incentive for him to keep going.
My third child, also a boy, was somewhere in between on the willingness scale. He practiced enthusiastically for about fifteen minutes on some of the days that typing was assigned to him. However, other days he needed a little bit of my involvement to get him started. But once he did get started, he was happy to keep going until he got tired. He is only seven years old, so I’m pretty happy with his progress.
TypeDojo was created for children, but I think it’s perfect for adults who want to improve their speed and accuracy. I personally really enjoyed doing drills, as well as speed and accuracy tests. I especially enjoyed improving my speed with number keys and symbols.
As for KidzType, even though I think it’s awesome for most families today, it didn’t become part of our personal homeschool. My kids have never played video games before, and I didn’t want them to try it and say, “oh, that’s what video games are? I like it!” However, if your kids already know what video games are, I think KidzType will be a big hit. They’ll likely love learning how to type with typing games for kids.
There are many benefits to mastering touch typing – completing assignments and online research faster, improved writing and communication abilities, and improved career prospects. If you are interested in teaching your kids’ touch typing, TypeDojo will help your students to improve their typing skills, motivation, and confidence. It’s free (and you don’t even have to register) to try it. So give it a try today or PIN it for later. And if your kids are into video games, they’ll definitely have to try KidzType!