Although our revered blogmaster, Diane Brauner, posted an excellent review and information about the keyboarding program Typeability typing and computer tutor program a couple of years ago, I just last year was able to implement Typeability in my classes and believe it is worth mentioning and noting once more, given the successes I have had with it in my classes from 5th to 12th grades. Typeability is, according to its website, “The Typing and Computer Tutor Program for the Blind and Visually Impaired!” The software not only teaches typing skills, it teaches Windows operating system navigation and keyboard shortcuts, and provides many exercises for the skills students need to develop for successful operating system navigation, word processing and general application skills. For example, there are exercises in copying and pasting words, lines and whole paragraphs while tabbing back and forth between different input boxes. The program also tells very corny jokes when a student successfully completes a particular lesson and even laughs at its own bad jokes. Warning: elementary students will insist on repeating every bad joke to the teacher and often to each other but this does help with student engagement with the lesson.
There are supplemental academic exercises in various academic disciplines, including Language, Math, Science, Geography, etc. A particularly useful section is the language synonym and antonym exercise, where we implemented the task of switching to Microsoft Word, typing the word in question and then using the synonym feature of the right-click (aka Shift-F10) menu to search for a particular word’s synonym and then typing it back into the Typeability dialogue. Students also were charged with researching the answers to particular concepts and meanings of words, places, etc. by using a search engine and then returning to Typeability (using alt-tab) to answer the question.
In my personal experience, students will engage with Typeability for long stretches of time, obviously enjoying its features and they will unwittingly improve their typing skills in spite of themselves. Highly recommended.