The amount of time I spend in front of a computer screen is matched by the amount of time I spend typing on the keyboard. I am an active computer user . . . meaning I use my computer for both reading and daily/regular typing for work. It is a funny thing. I avoided keyboarding and typing in school, because I found no use for it. Now, most everything I do for work, school and other activities involves typing.
The opportunity to review the UltraKey Online Family Subscription came just at the right time. I have a freshman in high school, a middle school child, an elementary age child and me, and we all “hunt and peck” for and on the keyboard when we type. We manage to get our work done, but there is definitely room for improvement. Although I skipped taking a typing course in high school and college, I now realize the value of learning how to type.
Lily got to use UltraKey
Online. She, just like me, uses her computer a lot to write, but has far more typing experience than I did at her age. The UltraKey Online Family Subscription is one of the products offered through Bytes of Learning, which publishes educational, multi-media software tools. Most of its products are for students in the home or classroom, but adults could benefit from some of the products. We received access for up to seven users for one year, so I will be using the typing course with my youngest, Canyon, next month. River will start next week.
Getting started with registration and creating her student account was extremely easy. I just followed the instructions I received in my welcome e-mail. Before she got started, I watched the introduction video for the program. UltraKey is very user-friendly from the Manager dashboard (shown above) all the way to the lessons your child completes.
Lily took an assessment test to check her skill level, so a goal could be set. There was a timed or an error challenge test. She completed the one that was not timed, but had to type a paragraph without making any errors.
She did well. Lily had the choice of determining her own pacing goal or allowing the program to create one for her. We let the program determine a goal for Lily. Because she did well on the assessment test, her goal was set pretty high. After working through some of the lessons, we realized the goal that was set was too high. No problem! UltraKey gives you the control to make an adjustment to the goal determined by the program or to set your own that the child wants to achieve.
Students must pass the skill check in order to move on to the next lesson. That way, it is ensured the student comprehends the lesson before progressing through the program.
One of the perks of moving through the lessons is entering the Game Zone. Lesson completion unlocks the key to the Game Zone where students are able to play typing games. Yes, typing games can be fun too.
UltraKey is a typing program, but I believe the creators realize students need more than just a basic typing program. Most children today have experience typing on a keyboard, but it is to play games and not for learning proper typing skills. UltraKey makes learning how to type educational and fun.
From the small details like being able to choose the skin tone on the hand display to the user-friendly interface of the program and then to the “reward” Game Zone incentives, UltraKey is very appealing to children and engages them in learning how to type.
There are other features that benefit the student, like the voice instruction, which will be helpful for Canyon. He does not have to worry about reading the lessons to complete the work. Eight is the youngest suggested age to use UltraKey, so whether or not you have a reader, your child will be able to use the typing program. In some places, Lily preferred the video instruction and turned off the audio. She also challenged herself by turning off the option for backspacing to correct a typing error. That made it more challenging. Although going backwards allows you to make corrections, it also cuts into your typing time/speed. The way your child (or you choose for them) chooses to use typing program is unique to each student. Any intimidation a child may have learning to type should be eased by the self-pace and personalized instruction of the course.
Watch the UltraKey Stretch Break video that students are encouraged to do when completing a lesson. I also like that UltraKey has a video that shows how to properly sit and hold ones hands while typing. Just as there is a way to hold a writing utensil and sit, there is a proper way to hold ones hands at the keyboard and sit while typing. I am so glad posture is covered.
As Manager of the account, you are able to view the progress of your child as they work through the lessons. Although it is nice to see the student progress, we are not using UltraKey as a graded course. Learning how to type is a life skill for us. We will continue using our UltraKey Online Family Subscription. Once we complete the course, I will probably have my children work through the lessons, again, as suggested by the program, in another six months.
PRICE AND AVAILABILITY
UltraKey Online Family Subscription is available for $29.95 to $49.95. Each subscription from three to five to eight users comes with a free parent account.
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