Monday, November 14, 2011

Review: Keyboard Town Pals

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I wasn’t planning to start Esmé on typing lessons this soon.  I figured I’d wait until she was at least five, you know? :)

However, I saw these quirky lil’ Keyboard Town critters and knew immediately she’d love them.

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And maybe I could quit my blog transcription job sooner rather than later? 

Synopsis:

The Keyboard Town PALS Learn to Type program teaches your child to type in one hour.

Today, typing properly is a lifelong, necessary skill for success in school and at work.

  • Our Mission: Our mission is to teach young children to type on a Qwerty computer keyboard in the fastest, easiest, and least stressful way. In only one hour Keyboard Town PALS’ “Learn To Type”software is able to achieve that goal.
  • Stress-Free: We have eliminated the stress normally associated with learning to type and replaced it with adorable puppets who sing songs and tell stories in a relaxed learning environment. Our system has no boring drills or exercises. No mindless games. No nerve-wracking timed-speed tests. We have even deactivated the delete and backspace buttons since mistakes are never counted and scroll right off the screen.
  • Wholesome: We are dedicated to developing educational software that you can depend on; wholesome products that will help you do your job as a parent – the most important and rewarding job anyone can have.
  • Self Motivated: Your child will become an eager participant in the learning process and will be self-motivated to learn and complete the program.
  • 6 and Up: Keyboard Town PALS is best for the beginner audience of kids ages 6-12 and those with learning differences.  All you need is a kid, a computer and an hour.

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Recommended Age:  6-12 years of age 
Price:  The web-based bundle is currently on sale for $30.  Other options are also available.
To Purchase: http://www.keyboardtownpals.com/
For More Reviews: TOS Crew

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Esmé’s Synopsis:

Keyboard Town Pals is about typing words.

I like Exercise and Zebra, the Cs, and Dora!

I don’t like typing all the letters they tell me to type.  I just want to write my own words and my own thoughts.

What Mom Liked:

  • Quirky characters. Take the Q guy:  “Questions, questions…  Are zebras black with white stripes, or white with black stripes?”  Seriously, that is perfect K-level humor!  That would have to be Esmé’s favorite part.
  • Methodology.  This program has been perfect in acquainting Esmé with the locations of all the letters.  As a fairly new keyboard user, now she has a picture in her mind of all these bizarre characters on a keyboard, and she can mentally visualize where a letter will be.  She still hunt-and-pecks, but it’s definitely easier.  Also, the idea of introducing keys one finger at a time makes perfect sense at this age.  She may not always use the right fingers, but she knows there is a correct finger position, and that will come with time.
  • No Correction.  The program has a typing box where the student types as instructed by the video.  The student doesn’t have a backspace or delete option, which can be a little frustrating for ME.  However, I must say the fact that there is no big X/REDO when something is typed incorrectly is a bonus for Esmé.  She’s accidentally mis-hit keys, and that can be really frustrating to a new computer user.  For her, the program gives her all the feedback she needs in the form of letters and words showing up in her typing box.
  • Tie-in to letters, sounds, direction.  Esmé knows her letters and sounds and left- and right-hands already, but this definitely reinforces that knowledge.  Admittedly, she keeps getting confused with which hand is supposed to be typing – it’s a bit funny to see her reach for the “q” with her right hand.  It’s nice to have a tie-in from keyboarding to other basic skills.
  • Language Options.  I’ve thought of switching this to Spanish to give Esmé a little twist when she gets tired of the English… It’s also available in French.
  • Technical Ease. The web-based version was incredibly easy to start using – once I updated Adobe Flash player.  Our pathetic internet speeds didn’t slow it down.  It works with Mac or PC.

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What Mom Didn’t Like:

  • The Claim.  This is supposed to teach your child to type in an hour.  Yes – it covers the basic keys in an hour, and if you read past the tagline, that’s really all it’s claiming to do.  It took me a good year to learn to type in high school.   There is a lot more to typing proficiently than having an idea of where the main letter keys are.  Just be realistic in your expectations.
  • The Price.  Along the same lines, this feels more like a video with an added typing box than it does a full software program.  I think $20 would be a fair price for a DVD of this caliber.

Overall:

Though she is on the young side of the recommended age range, this has been a great introduction to keyboarding for Esmé.  If it were priced lower, I’d definitely recommend it as an introduction for kids just beginning to use the keyboard. 

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Thanks to Keyboard Town Pals for providing a free subscription and to TOS Crew for coordinating the review.  We are not being paid for this review, and all opinions are our own.

2 comments:

JDaniel4's Mom said...

It sounds like fun for older kids!

Sweetpeas said...

I have to giggle at your daughter's synopsis, too cute!