We have just completed a pilot for 2Simple software using their 2Type software with a number of our schools. Like Simon, I too had picked up on the Typing expectations within the Renewed Framework, notably:
This expectation from Year 3 in the Presentation strand:
Before I pass on my thoughts click on the slide show below:
“I like to beat my time”
“2pop is my favourite game”
“Helps me to learn”
“I liked beating my score”
“the games are fun”
“because it is fun”
“I like to beat my time”
“it’s got fun activities”
“Helps me to write fast
I do feel that the enthusiasm of the teacher in typing is key to achieving good progress with this programme, children need to be closely monitored and encouraged to do better. Being left with the programme is not enough.
All those involved in the project, have pointed out that the typing sessions would need to form part of a coherent scheme of work. Without this children are just gaming and it would also be hard to see and report on progress. There are other primary typing applications on the market and there is of course the BBC typing dance mat. Those that I have looked at are ok, but the keyboard in such applications does not always reflect a standard keyboard. The extra keys seem to have been removed and the emphasis seems to be on completing a locked down and repetitive game of hunting for the correct key. Out of the two below, Easi Keysi is the worst as it does not make any attempt to teach correct finger positioning, while Type with Tizzy does at least try to familiarise the user with the keyboard.
2Type includes videos and specific colour coded training around posture and finger positioning, but the package is mostly a collection of games. If this were not the case then the children would simply be drilled and skilled in how to touch type. One of the reasons this project worked for us is that the children enjoyed what they were doing. This was not the digital equivalent of handwriting practise. The scoring element motivated children. They wanted to increase their score and the integrated database gave them sensitive feedback and allowed them to move on without a clown shaking it's head at them after only a short period of time!
The TEEM evaluationof 2Type said this:
2Type is a well presented and high quality piece of software that has been designed to familiarise children with a keyboard, encourage them to establish the correct finger positions and increase their typing speed. read more here