John Galloway finds out how 2Simple makes typing tutorials more fun
Everybody recognises that being able to use a keyboard is an essential skill in modern society, even if we don't agree on whether pupils should learn to touch-type. 2type is a piece of software that should keep us all happy no matter where we are on that spectrum of opinion.
In typical 2Simple style, the software comes with explanatory videos, some of which explain the fundamentals of keyboarding such as where to place your fingers, and others which show how to use the different sections.
There is also a helpful presentation on how to sit at the computer with the screen at the right height, feet flat on the floor and taking regular breaks.
Learning to use a keyboard can be boring, as repetitive practice is fundamental to the process, which is why breaking this up with games is important, particularly for primary pupils. These are present here but the fun doesn't obscure the main focus of acquiring an essential skill.
As well as instructional activities there are those requiring the user to type letters or words against the clock, which use lists from the literacy strategy to support spelling. There is also the fairly addictive "pop" where the bubble bursts when the right key is hit.
Most of the time the user can opt to have props such as highlighted keys or fingers on the screen to show what they should be pressing and with what.
All the activities can be tracked through the record-keeping system, particularly the two sections designed to test speed and accuracy from dictation or copying the on-screen text, which you can create yourself.
Overall this program strikes a good balance between learning something dull while having some fun. The idea is to promote more effective keyboard use rather than touch-typing, although with enough practice 2Type might just keep them interested long enough to get there.
from pound;29 single user licence.
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