Tag Archives: keyboarding practice

UltraKey Online Review

We are currently reviewing UltraKey Online Family Subscripton from Bytes of Learning in our homeschool.  My kids love it!  This program really makes learning to type fun.

UltraKey Online Family Subscription

UltraKey Online

Typing Course

Easy To Use

Self Paced

Family Subscription for up to 8 people

Ages 5+ – Adult

(8+ independent, and ages 5-7 with parental involvement)

Engineered for all Mac OS X and Windows computers

UltraKey is a self paced typing program, and likely the only typing training program you’ll ever need.  All you need is a subscription, a computer with a keyboard, and internet service.  You can set personal goals and proceed to achieve them at your own pace.   It is adaptable to various ages and skill levels.

Lessons:

UltraKey Online lessons are self paced and accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  There are 12 main lessons and you can use the program at your convenience and take as long as you need to master each lesson.  UltraKey Online uses voice supported instruction, and the lesson format includes audio voice, video, and graphic animation.  Lessons appeal to a wide range of learning styles and skill levels.

Dashboard:

Each student has their own dashboard.  From your dashboard, it is easy to access lessons, set goals, see progress, print awards, and generate and print reports too.

The parent / family administrator also has a dashboard and can view and access the records, goals, reports, etc of all of their students at the same time or view each student individually.

Goals and Reports:

UltraKey has a great record keeping system.  It is easy to access everything you need and helps parents review and keep up with their students progress.  Parents can adjust program settings to guide the students as they operation the program, or leave it in default mode and the student can control their own settings.  You can easily print progress reports for individual students to keep in their portfolio and also reports for the entire class of students if you are teaching more than one.

Parents and students can also create or import their own content for further practice or customized practice if desired.  The program is flexible and allows you the option to import occupation-related, religious, or topics of your choice for practice and testing.

UltraKey is individualized learning and practice.  You can choose from several different levels from beginner to very advanced.  Many different options are available for challenge levels and the amount of practice can be tweaked to your individual preferences.  It helps identify remedial problems and offers help if needed.  Other ways UltraKey encourages progress is that it praises the student as typing improves and congratulates students when goals are achieved.

Game Zone

Game Zone is a lot of extra fun for the kids if they want to use it.  It helps build typing knowledge and fluency.

There are different categories to choose from such as:

  • Mixed Up Words
  • Spelling’s Important
  • What’s Missing
  • To The Finish
  • Rhymin
  • Capitals Capitols

International Typing Performance Standard

With UltraKey Online, you can also generate certifiable typing performance reports based on International typing assessment standards.  Below are the key International standards set for typing performance:

  • 5 keystrokes is a typing word.
  • The gross speed is the number of typed words per minute.
  • A typing word error is any typing word with one or more errors in it.
  • The net speed score is the gross speed less a penalty of 2 typing words per typing word error, per minute.
  • The best speed is the highest net typing speed.
  • The accuracy score is the number of correct keystrokes, divided by the overall number of keystrokes completed.

Video

Here is a video that explains more about how UltraKey Online works.

Our Experience

I am very pleased with our Family Subscription to UltraKey Online.  Before using it with our kids, I spent some time exploring the instructional interface, and the management dashboard to familiarize myself with the program.

In the “Dashboard” section, I can set goals and choose various settings.  I can also let my older kids set their own goals and give them more freedom to create their own unique experience with the program.

All three of my older boys (ages 17, 15, 13) have used this program for 20 to 30 minutes almost every day.  They all love using it.  Two of the three boys are audio visual learners.  One of the three boys can easily learn from just about any kind of program regardless if it is audio visual or not.  This program has met the needs of all three of them.

Two of my younger kids have also used it a few times a week though they are proceeding much slower than the older kids.

The fact that the kids can play the video lessons, and listen to the instructions, and then follow the examples has been a great help to them.  They started out completing the introductory videos, setting up his dashboard preferences, and set their typing level to beginner and practice level to heavy.  At the end of practice each day they do skills checks and typing tests.  Each day they practice, they make more and more gains in this program.

The 13 year old has improved from typing 7 words per minute to 27 words per minute with 99% to 100% accuracy consistently.

He just finished the program two days ago, got his diploma, and asked me to wipe the program clean so he can start over and improve his score.

After he started over and rewached everything from the beginning, his first few lessons and skill checks he was already mastering 34 words per minute.  We will see if he maintains that and continues to improve.  He is highly motivated to master this program.

My 15 year old really loves this program too.    He has improved from typing 10 words per minute to typing 24 words per minute with 100% accuracy.

Here is an example of the progress the 15 year old made during three of the lessons and skill tests.  Each day he worked through the program, I could see that he put in his best effort.

Skills test 1: 10 words in 1 minute 96%

Skills test 2: 20 words in 2 minutes 99%

Skills test 3:  22 words in 2 minutes with 99% accuracy.

and so on.

Every day when he is finished, he prints out a report of his skills check.   It records what he typed, for how long, how many wrong keys, missed keys, additional keys, etc and generates a score of words per minute/accuracy percentage/result of passing or not.  This has been great feedback for him.

My 17 year old is an independent learner.  He has taken a typing class before, but did not have this kind of instant feedback to his efforts and see these kind of results.  He is really enjoying this program and has improved from typing 15 words per minute to currently typing 30 words per minute with 99% to 100% accuracy.

UltraKey Online Family Subscription is great for a wide range of ages in the family.  My kids are enjoying using it.  The younger kids need more time and practice than the older ones to grasp the concept, but they too are doing really well with the program.  I hope to start my youngest son as well as my husband and myself as students on it soon since we have the large family subscription with space for up to 8 people of any age from the same family.  I can’t wait to see my own typing skills improve as much as I have watched my kids skills improve.  The results from this program are very impressive!

Social Media

Be sure to check out Bytes of Learning and the UltraKey Online Family Subscription on their social media links for all the latest news, updates, and product information.

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/bytesoflearning/

YouTube https://www.youtube.com/user/BytesofLearning

Blog https://www.bytesoflearning.com/blog

Homeschool Review Crew

Be sure to check out what other families on the Homeschool Review Crew had to say about using this product in their homes.

Please share.

The Typing Coach Review

Need help with Typing? Then you might want to give The Typing Coach a try.

The goal of The Typing Coach is to help you become “independent” instead of relying on “watching” the keys (and constantly correcting mistakes) while you learn to type 10 to 45 words per minute with no typing errors. This course uses a combination of written, audio, and videos lessons, and timed typing tests to help you reach this goal. With continued practice using The Typing Coach methods, you learn how to train your brain and fingers to master typing challenges and attain even more words per minute.

The Typing Coach Online Typing Course offers a touch typing program with two levels to meet your needs.

Regular Course (for students 12 to Adult)

Slower Course (for students 8 – 11)

Benefits of Using The Typing Coach:

Easy to use.
24/7 Online Access.
Self Paced (go at a pace that works for you).
Created by an Experienced Typing Teacher.
Successes are Progressive and Systematic.
Develop Good Typing Habits.
Become independent from observing keyboard or monitor.
Improve Speed With Fewer Errors.
Online Testing Center.
Teacher Resource Center with printables, videos, and support.
Yearly Subscription

Check out this short video about The Typing Coach:

Lessons

Lessons in this course are offered at two levels.  The regular lessons move at a faster reading and typing pace for students 12 and older.  This course is difficult to do for those under 12 years old and will require more teacher time, more practice time so a less rigorous schedule is offered for those under the age of 12.   You can decide if you want your student to take the regular lessons or the slower paced lessons.

Lessons Include:

Having Good Posture
Home Row
Top Row
Bottom Row
Shift Keys
Evaluating Your Skills
Typing Practices
Number Row
Serious Practicing
Final Assessment
Conclusion

Each lesson varies from a few days to 1 week to master the skills.  It is recommended to do a lesson a week and spend time practicing your skills you have learned.  At a pace of 1 lesson per week, you can accomplish this course in a span of 10 weeks.

Each lesson has a written and an audio component and lots of practice.   Each lesson builds upon the skills of the previous one.  You can choose to either have the program keep track of your quiz / test scores and email them to you or you can keep track of them yourself.

The course is set up for you to practice the skills learned in the lessons for approximately 20 minutes a day/week and master the larger goal in small segments.  The first goal is 10 words without mistakes, then 25 words, then with more practice 45 words per minute without mistakes can be attained. The eventual goal is to type 45 words per minute with 1 or 0 mistakes.

How we used this course:

The course is online and it requires a computer with a keyboard, internet, and audio video capabilities and a printer for the PDF files.  My oldest son and I both used this course.  After reading through all of the materials, I didn’t think I had the time in my schedule to help the younger children right now as they go at a slower pace.  But I hope the younger kids can take this course again in the future.

I wanted to take this class myself to test and improve my typing skills too.  I took a typing course in highschool (ages ago) and learned to type about 30 words per minute with one mistake.   When I was younger, I worked for a short time as a secretary through a temporary staffing agency and they were looking for people with 60 words per minute experience for the better paid positions, but required a minimum of 30 words a minute to be hired for some of the positions.  The Typing Coach says that most office positions require a minimum of 45 words per minute.  I am not looking for typing job, but I enjoy writing stories.  I would like for my family and myself to improve our typing skills.

We had a bit of a setback during this review due to a computer hard drive failure not long after we got started with the lessons. When it failed it also took out our operating system and files.  It took some time to purchase a new hard drive and install it, then search a store for a new operating system to purchase and install, install a new word processing program, and reinstall all our classes one at a time, etc.  My son lost most of his coursework he had saved to his computer and this event was somewhat discouraging to say the least.  But we are getting back on track and he is looking forward to working more on this course and improving his speed and accuracy as he learns how to type correctly from The Typing Coach.

After setting up the subscription, you can use the program 24/7 as it best fits your schedule.   When you log in and it brings you to your dashboard with an overview page of instructions and links to the lessons, videos, and tests.   Here is a picture of my dashboard with the general course overview. This page is the page you come to each time you log in.

The items on the list open up when you click on them.  In each item there are many more things linked such as videos, PDF’s, audio’s, and instructions. The first item on the list is the Course Introduction and the next item is the optional Slower Paced Lessons.  The next section is called The Practice and Testing Center (practice and test skills learned) this section is used almost daily.  The next section is the Before & After Snapshot (Pretest and Post test) section we used at the beginning and will use again at the end of the course. Then the next items listed are the actual lessons and they are numbered. The next item is help with practicing.  Finally there is a final test, conclusion and course evaluation.

The first thing we did to get started was read the Course Introduction and watched an introductory video (takes about 4 minutes).  Next, I printed out the PDF version of the course which takes about 24 sheets of paper altogether (Lessons 16 sheets of paper, Learning Checks 7 sheets of paper, and the Progress Chart  is 1 sheet of paper) and I put these printouts in a binder to keep them organized.

There are several audios and videos, but the two most important to mention here when getting started are the “How to Use the Practice and Testing Center” (takes about 3 minutes); and “The Typing Coach Method Explained” (takes about 30 minutes) and these videos demonstrate how to use the course.   In The Typing Coach Method Explained video the creator of the program models for the parent / teacher the course being taught to students in a class setting.

Next I viewed the Teacher Resource Center.  This section has a “Guidance for Teachers” instruction sheet, a list of all the printable PDF’s and all of the links to videos for the course.  It also has a section of resources for working with slower or younger students (8-11 year olds) that require more intervention and time from the parent/teacher.

The next step is the the “Before Snapshot” which is a pretest of your typing skills before you get started with the actual lessons.  It takes about 3 minutes to take the test.  You are to type the Gettysburg Address from the provided printout onto a word processing program on your computer without looking at the keys or your monitor while listening to the provided music.  When the music stops, the test time is finished.  This snapshot helps you see where you are at currently in your typing skills and where you need improvement.  When the course is completed, you take an “After Snapshot” and can compare how far you have grown in your typing skills.

After you have completed your snapshot quiz and found out your current number of errors in a 3 minute span of time, then it is time to begin the lessons.   The lessons teach the proper skills and typing techniques.  After listening to the new lesson, you go to the Practice and Testing section and complete the assignment.

Another section of the program is called the Learning Checks.  In this section you take speed typing tests from the printable packet without looking at your fingers.  When you have completed the challenges you (or your parent/teacher) fill out a learning check on your printed copy of the progress chart.

Each lesson has instruction, practice, and quizzes and a few of the lessons have the Learning Checks quizzes too.  The Typing Coach method helps you reach your goals of typing correctly without looking and without errors at a rapid pace.

When figuring out how much time you need to pace yourself for lessons, plan to spend at least 20-30 minutes or so per audio lesson plus practice time.  Also you are only aloud to take one quiz per two day time span.  A beginning student should work on this course at a pace of 1 lesson per week and add in daily practice time before taking their Practice Quiz and Learning Checks. However if you desire to go faster, remember you are still limited to completing a lesson no faster than every two days because of the restriction on the frequency of the quizzes.   Be sure to leave yourself plenty of practice time and go at a pace that feels good for you.

We would recommend this course to other homeschool families who desire to learn to speed type without looking and without errors.  If repetition, and being 99%+ accurate, or working under pressure for speed stresses you out, then this might not be the best fit for you.   I would recommend planning to go a little slower than you might expect, because the program won’t let you progress to the next level if you have errors.  So it is better to master your errors first and then master your speed. The goal is to be error free, which isn’t a common requirement in home education where the goals are usually not set at that strict of a standard and for that fact, this attribute of the program make take some getting used to.  The program is affordable and I would encourage folks to give The Typing Coach a try.

Social Media

Be sure to check out The Typing Coach social media links for all the latest news and product updates.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/thetypingcoach

Homeschool Review Crew

Be sure to check out what others on the Homeschool Review Crew had to say about using The Typing Coach with their families.

Please share.