7/15/12

Crew Review: Keyboarding for the Christian School Elementary Version

When I was growing up, keyboarding meant the typewriter.  And in college we advanced to “word processors” and then computers with “word processing software.”  Thankfully QWERTY** has stayed the same through the years.  In this age of technology it is even more important that our students have solid keyboarding or typing skills.  We might live in an era of “copy and paste” but not everything can just be copied and pasted.  Sometimes we still have to “type it in” or “type it out.”

Keyboarding For the Christian Home Cover

As a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, Christian Keyboarding gave me a choice of E-Book Versions: Keyboarding for the Christian Home (grade 6 and up) or Keyboarding for the Christian Home Elementary Version Large Font Edition (grades K-5).  I chose the Elementary version.  I planned to use this primarily with Supergirl who is developmentally at a 1st grade level.  I noticed though that Turtlegirl really doesn’t touch type and though this is geared for younger students, I asked her to give it a try. 

Let’s talk about the program first:

**  From the book:  “We will be using the QWERTY keyboard. There are only two types of keyboards: QWERTY and Dvorak. Most people use
QWERTY. It has a funny name but QWERTY is just what people call it
since the first six letters shown spell out QWERTY.” (p. 7)

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There are 32 lessons.  Since this program is intended for younger students this is a perfect pace for 1 lesson a week spread out over a typical 36 week school year.  This would still allow for an additional review and practice time.  Lessons 1-20 cover the alphabetic keys starting with the home row letters, then the top row, followed by the bottom row and finishing with the apostrophe and quotation marks. Lessons 21-25 introduce the numbers and symbols followed by lessons 26-29 which cover the number pad.  The last three lessons cover: Centering, Enumerated Lists, Timed Writing. The book also includes: a table of contents, an introduction, a section on typing technique, an index, and  a timing scale.

Cute cartoon ladybug

Mabel, the adorable lady bug, introduces each lesson with a bible verse, detailed instructions and for lessons 1-25 a colorful graphic of the row.  For lessons 26-29 there are photos of the number pad.  

Using it with Supergirl: First a little background.  Supergirl is developmentally delayed.  She functions (and looks) very much like a 6 year old.  Developmentally, a program for K-5 is a good fit for her.  In addition to cognitive developmental delays, she also has physical impairments.  Touch typing is a physical impossibility.  So why would I even try this program with her? Well, I want her to be comfortable using the computer.  I want her to be familiar with and know the locations of the keys.  We are working using her right index finger for typing the key and using her right thumb for the space bar.  We’re focusing on the first 29 lessons but we’re going at very slow pace.

Lesson 7: bible verse, and images

Using it with Turtlegirl (age 14 1/2):  She used this independently.  I handed her the Nook and she worked for 15-20 minutes daily.  She has had some experience with typing instruction but did not have the proper technique.  At first she completed 1 to 2 lessons per day because those keys were review letters.  Though I think she would benefit from using the regular program, this Elementary version was not “too babyish”.  When I compared samples between the two versions, the lessons are identical except for two things: 1) the elementary edition has Mabel and 2) the regular version introduces topics such as the tab key and some MLA formatting.

Thoughts from Turtlegirl (age 14 1/2):  “I like it. It is taken in small bursts: two keys at a time. I like that they don’t just have review lessons. The normal lessons include a section that reviews 3 of the most recently learned keys and the keys you just learned. When you’ve learned enough keys to make words, practice words are added to the review section, and then phrases and sentences. I like the practice it gives you. I also like the fact that it is easy to do 2 or more lessons in one sitting. “

Some things to consider:

  • Bible verses appear at the end of each lesson (lessons 10-20) That’s great except that it is hard to tell if the student is supposed to type those verses as part of the practice or not.  Sometimes the verses contain letters that have not yet been taught.  Turtlegirl found this annoying.  “Mom, how can I type this for practice if I haven’t learned those letters yet.”  Lesson 10 has a great bible verse but the letters v and n have not yet been taught.  N is not taught until lesson 13.
  • I reviewed the PDF or electronic version: I uploaded the PDF version of the book to my Nook Simple Touch.  I didn’t want to print out the book but I didn’t want to lose the opportunity to have Turtlegirl practice typing by reading the page off a non computer source.   For Supergirl I adjusted the window size and had the PDF version on the computer with Word Document open.  The letters to practice were on the top half and the space to type on the bottom half.
  • Students who are older or reading fluently and well can do this program independently.  I love this!  Turtlegirl is completely independent and working at her own pace.  The text is written to the student and is very easy to understand and follow.
  • There are no games or characters or bells and whistles to distract the student.  I’ve been so frustrated with other typing programs that are more entertaining than educational.  Turtlegirl isn’t tempted to go play games that do not improve her skills.  She stays focused on typing.  And Supergirl?  The colorful graphics and the ladybug keep it from being boring. 

My Bottom line: This is a great program.  I am pleased with how much Turtlegirl has improved with her typing.  I’m please enough that I am going to have my 13 year old daughter work through the program to improve her typing skills. If you are looking for a non-software program to teach typing skills, I recommend checking out the different programs available from Christian Keyboarding.

The e-book version of Keyboarding for the Christian School, Elementary Version is $12.95.  A hardcopy is also available for $45 which includes the full color book plus shipping and handling.  I am pleased to be able to offer my readers a 20% off coupon code.  This code expires 8-29-2012.  The code: SUMMER2012

Click on the banner below to read what other Crew Members had to say about these two e-books from Christian Keyboarding.

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All information is correct and accurate as of the date of this review.

Disclaimer: As a TOS Crew member, I received this product free of charge to review. I am required to write a review but I am not required to write a positive review. This review contains my and/or my daughters’ honest opinion with, hopefully, enough detail as to why I/ we liked or did not like a product so that my readers can make an informed decision. I received no compensation.

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