I have tried several programs in the past few years to help my son learn to type. It’s taking him longer than most kids his age to get up to speed, but he does have some learning challenges so that plays a big part in his struggles. When I heard we would be reviewing a typing program for the TOS Crew I was anxious to see if it would help him get past his struggles. Are you ready to say goodbye to a 90 year old stenographic method of typing? You know the one with drills, timed tests, and grades. If so then let me tell you about Keyboard Town PALS.
Type: Web-based or CD-ROM. Also available in French or Spanish and compatible with MAC and PC.
Age group: 7 and up
"In one hour your child can learn to type on a Qwerty keyboard through the use of puppetry, music, and humor in a playful relaxed atmosphere. Keyboard Town PALS teaches the location of the 26 letters and 4 symbols on a computer keyboard". It’s all done through a fictional town called Keyboard Town that has 3 streets. These streets represent the 3 rows on a computer keyboard. The 3 streets are called Home Key street (middle section), Downtown (bottom keys), and Uptown (upper keys). The word PALS is an acronym for Purposeful Associative Learning System.
The kids will be guided through the town by a fun and bright character named Sunny.
Sunny guides them through the town as she instructs and helps them stay on track.
There are houses on these streets that have puppets living in them. They are called the keyboard town PALS. Each puppet represents the letter of the keys. Like “A” for Amy who lives in the first house on Home Key Street. As your child goes through each one they will learn the story the puppet tells which in turn will help with memorizing which finger hits which key.
Keyboard Town PALS is set up to be taught in two 30 minute lessons where your child will learn all the letters for his or her left hand first. Then he or she will learn all the letters and symbols for the right hand. That is why they say your child can "learn to type in an hour". If that is too much or too long for him then you can also just let him do it in 4 mini lessons (2 videos a piece). Each video is anywhere from 6-7 minutes so this gives you the option of not going through with the whole hour lesson. This is great because each child is learning at his or her own pace without the fear or shame of being compared to other children. "Each lesson teaches only the keys pressed by that one finger”. There’s also a special feature on there where the backspace and delete keys have been deactivated. This eliminates the child from getting focused on correcting mistakes and getting off focus.
These are pictures from my son's lessons. I reviewed the web-based version of this program. The lessons are on the left side of the screen. You also see Sunny and some of the puppets in their houses. There is a digital hand that helps the kids see how to place their hands and which finger to use to hit the keys. Below the video is a text box that is designated as your child’s typing area where they can see the letters they type.
From my understanding this program will NOT teach your child speed typing if that's what you’re looking for. The focus is on learning proper placement of the fingers and where the keys are. My 12 year old son has learned where the keys are even though he has not mastered being able to type the keys from memory yet. I guess as he continues to practice on that we can worry about the speed part later on. It will just take him a little longer than most kids his age since he has problems with his eye/hand coordination. He liked getting on the computer to do the lessons each week. He would even ask if it was time to practice even though it is repetitive. He told me he kinda thinks the puppets were cute but he begged me not to tell anyone that so shhhh….it’s a secret. With that being said this program looks like it's more geared toward younger elementary students or children with special needs.
It is suggested the program be taught in two consecutive days for best results but we worked on it 3 days each week. You get an instruction guide with your purchase so you can know all about the program and how to use it. Keyboard Town PALS also has companion teaching aids to help cement the story line. There are coloring storybooks, activity pads, stickers, card games, and placemats. Click here to see a list of those and more of their products. For the price of the program alone I don't know if I would pay that price. With it being just an hour worth of instruction I think the price is not a bargain. If I were getting the other companion aids with it for that price I may reconsider. Don’t forget to stop by and see what my crew mates had to say.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions in this review are entirely my own. I was not paid to write this but received a month access to their web-based program free of charge to review, and give my honest opinion.