9th September 2005 at 01:00
Easi Keysi. Sherston Software. pound;44.95 (single user)

Written to teach keyboard skills to 5-11 year-olds, Easi Keysi is, quite simply, brilliant. Children don't learn the keys in isolation but through 1,000 words divided into 100 lists. These lists start with "and" at the easiest level, eventually leading to "transubstantiation" at the highest, covering high- and medium-frequency words and letter patterns on the way.

Teachers can control the font, the colour of keys, letters and keyboard.

You can choose between alphabetical, Qwerty and on-screen keyboards, and decide if you want the keys pointed out before typing starts or whether to highlight the vowels. You can use the program just for keyboard recognition or have it show the position for two-handed typing. An eye icon shows which keys to use in which order and you can listen to the word and hear it spelt.

This is not a touch-typing program, as it doesn't show which finger to use, but it allows children to find their way around the keyboard and practise their spelling. They are awarded gold, silver and bronze medals and the program keeps track of what each child has achieved.

You can't add your own words but the lists provided are more than comprehensive.

Pam Turnbull

ICT coordinator, Heys primary school, Ashton under Lyne

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