Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Learn to Type for FREE with TypeDojo

This post is brought to you by TypeDojo.com. I am being compensated for my time, but am not required to write a positive review.  
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Technology and children are not two words that I like to put together.  In fact, I think that we could all benefit from less screen time!  The reality, though, is that computers are a vital part of our society and are not going anywhere anytime soon.

I am all about teaching children useful skills (cleaning, cooking, creating, building, etc.) and in our world, typing is a necessary skill.

Your child will need to type papers for school, essays for scholarship applications, proposals at work, and the list could go on and on.  I am sure that I do not need to convince you that learning to type is something your child needs to do.  The question is, how will they learn?  What is the best way to learn to type?

Touch Typing - Muscle Memory for your Fingers

Anyone can hunt and peck to find the keys they are looking for, but that takes forever!  Just like playing an instrument or a sport, our fingers can use muscle memory to find keys on a keyboard quickly and effortlessly.

When your fingers practice the same strokes over and over, in a consistent way, amazingly they remember what to do without you having to consciously think about it.  This is called touch typing.  From Wikipedia:

Touch Typing is typing without using the sense of sight to find the keys. Specifically, a touch typist will know their location on the keyboard through muscle memory. Touch typing typically involves placing the eight fingers in a horizontal row along the middle of the keyboard (the home row) and having them reach for other keys.

Learning to type this way helps you increase both your typing speed and accuracy.  When your fingers know where to go without you having to tell them, they are going to go faster because you have eliminated a step in the process.  When you can keep typing without looking up and down at the keyboard, you can keep your eyes on the screen and will be able to notice any mistakes you may have made and correct them immediately.  This also ultimately saves a lot of time and improves accuracy.

Typing with TypeDojo

One thing that I do love about all of the technology these days is that it enables us to get so many resources for free (and I'm not talking about stealing!)

TypeDojo is one of those resources!  TypeDojo.com is a website that offers your child tons of typing practice, and all for FREE!

First you will choose if you want a 1, 3, or 5 minute test.  Then you choose your child's grade level.

This is where it gets really neat!  Once you choose your grade level, you get to choose from a ton of different practice options.  Each grade level has it's own categories.  Here is a small example of the type of options.

There are also options that focus on home row, particular letters, common phrases, using the number pad, shifting for capitalization, and even full sentences and paragraphs.

Below is a picture of what you see while you are typing.  This particular example is of full sentence practice.  It highlights what letter you are on, how much time you have left, what your words per minute are and what your accuracy rate is.  These stats are updated with every stroke you take.

(Remember, anyone can be fast, so aim for a high accuracy rate while you type!)

Underneath the words you are typing, there is a picture of a keyboard.  This highlights where the letter is on the keyboard and also what finger you should be using to press the key.  This is here because children just getting started will need help knowing where each key is located, but they need to practice not looking down.  This is a good beginning compromise!  Once your child starts getting the hang of it, you can challenge them by pressing Hide Keyboard.

Voila!  With enough practice, your child will be a great typist!   Encourage your child to not look at the keyboard while they are typing, and soon they will get both faster and more accurate.  Make sure to check out TypeDojo.com as a free resource to help your child do this!

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