The Typing Coach is an online self-paced typing course that includes primary audio instruction with a bit of video, and written instruction. The regular program is geared towards ages 12 and up. Also included with the subscription are slower paced lessons and suggested modifications (such as allowing more errors or focusing on setting the foundation rather than being error free) for students 8 – 11 years old and special needs students.
Since this is an online course, you will need a reliable internet connection to listen to the audio instruction and download the student packets. You will also need a desktop computer or laptop (something with an actual keyboard – not a tablet) and a word processing program. Recommendations for alternatives to Microsoft Word are included in the course introduction.
This course focuses on being error free and practicing to the point of mastery. Once mastery has been accomplished, speed should come naturally. Because of this focus on mastery, the student is instructed to not move on until they can complete the lessons and learning checks with ZERO errors. In fact, this point is so important to the successful completion of the course, if the student has more than one error during a learning check, they are unable to take the learning check again for two days. During this time, the student is supposed to complete the lesson again and practice, practice, practice.
How I Used The Typing Coach
When I worked out of the home, I sat at a desk in front of a computer all day. I had an ergonomic set up and maintained pretty good posture. Since I’ve been home with the kids, I tend to do all of my computer work from the couch, bed, or floor. Needless to say, my posture at the computer definitely has fallen out of anything even resembling “good typing posture.” With The Typing Coach online course, the first lesson is focused solely on having good posture while typing. Each subsequent lesson has multiple reminders to check your posture and make adjustments as necessary. These reminders were helpful for breaking my bad habits and encouraging good ones to form.
While working through this course, I definitely had a major case of old dog, new trick… I am a pretty fast typist, but I do rely heavily on looking at the keys and/or screen and the backspace key is my best friend. The Typing Coach requires that you turn off or cover your screen during lessons so that you can not see anything you are typing. This, coupled with the fact that you are learning to type row by row (so much of what you type is gibberish), slowed me WAY down. I realized that rather than knowing where the keys are, my fingers had the muscle memory of how frequently typed words were “patterned” on the keyboard. While it is a bit frustrating to see my speed drop so drastically, I have definitely seen an improvement to my accuracy.
Speaking of the gibberish that the lessons have you type initially, make sure you turn off auto correct before attempting the lessons or learning checks! I had been remembering to turn off auto correct for the lessons, but forgot before taking my first learning check. I couldn’t figure out why I had so many errors, until I realized that the auto correct was trying to turn some of the random groupings of letters into actual words.
While this program wasn’t my favorite, I can definitely see the advantages to learning to type with this method. If you have a student who is an auditory learner and is just learning how to type (and therefore, doesn’t have as many bad habits to break!), then this course would be a great way to get them started. Monkey is still a bit young for even the modified version of this course, but in a couple of years I will definitely consider The Typing Coach for his introduction to typing!
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