I never learned how to type properly when I was younger so I figured that would be something good for my kids to learn while they were young. I recently was given the chance to have my youngest daughter use the Keyboard Town PALS typing web-based typing program.
Keyboard Town PALS is a type to learn program geared toward kids ages 6-12 and those with learning differences in order to teach them how to type in just one hour. The program uses puppets and character associations in order to teach the positions of the various keys on the keyboard. The program uses the concepts and tools of associative learning, mnemonics, mental imagery, and gesturing as part of the program. What does this mean to you? Basically the web-based program of Keyboard Town PALS has 8 short videos that your child watches and at the appropriate moments types what they are told to in order to learn not only where the individual keys are on the keyboard but which fingers to use when typing them. Each key is identified by a character, such as Amy who lives at the house associated with the letter a key. Each row also has a street name such as the home street where your fingers start when typing properly. The puppets and associated images help your child associate the various keys with where they are located so that at the end of an hour your child should be able to learn to type. The character, Sunny, leads you through each of the lessons introducing you to new characters.
For example, the first lesson video introduces your child to Amy (letter a) who lives on home street. She tells you she likes to visit the zebras at the zoo on downtown street and go uptown to visit Qwert who likes to ask a lot of questions. Each short video proceeds in this manner so that your child meets new characters that are associated with new keys that are typed using a certain finger so that they can also type those keys as the characters tell them. They suggest having your child complete the program in 2 sessions of a half an hour each. You are also suppose to have access to pages that you can print off for additional typing lessons but they appeared to not be working at the time I used this program and there are several pages within the Keyboard Town PALS website that are still under construction and hopefully should be available soon for you to check out for yourself.
The program itself is a cute way to introduce the letters and positions of fingers on the keyboard. I like that it takes away from the pressure of learning typing because this program does not have timed tests and does not keep track of mistakes. Of course the downside was that there was no accountability for whether or not your child is actually doing it correctly unless you sit there with them. It also disables the delete and backspace keys so that your child is not tempted to correct themselves and can focus on moving forward and working at trying to improve and can see the area they need to improve as well. It is suppose to be geared toward 6-12 year olds though I believe it is more appropriate for the younger ages within this range as well as for kids younger than 7 if they know their letters well enough and have the coordination needed to use a keyboard. My 8 year old thought the program was more suited for a much younger age than herself and did think it was a little too ‘kiddish” and boring for her. She said she kind of learned her keys through the program but it was not something she would have chosen to use if she would have been asked.
You can view a sample video HERE at the Kids Corner area of the Keyboard Town PALS website.
The web-based program can be purchased currently on sale for $30 and can be purchased HERE along with other products from Keyboard Town PALS website. The program is also available in Spanish and French.
You can read what other TOS Crew members had to say about Keyboard Town PALS program HERE on our Crew blog.
Note: I received a 6 week trial of this product for free as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew in order to provide an honest review for my readers.