Monday, November 14, 2011

Review: Keyboard Town Pals


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.


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


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.


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:
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.


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.


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. 


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.


JDaniel4's Mom said...

It sounds like fun for older kids!

Sweetpeas said...

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