By Kristal Richard
I am the technology support specialist at Centerton Gamble Elementary in Centerton, Arkansas, where I teach computer science to kindergarten through 4th grade. This is our first year using TypeTastic. I use it in my classroom, and as part of my job I help support computer issues. I can say that we’ve had minimal issues with our implementation.
Honestly, I was a little hesitant at first about introducing new software, but it has been an excellent change. The rosters were prebuilt for us so the tech department was able to load those for us, and the implementation of it was super easy.
It’s self-paced, so the kids can go in without much help and complete the lessons on their own, which is beneficial when I’m teaching classes that range in size from 20 to 28 and I have early finishers. I also like that I have the ability to click on individual children and see how much time they’ve spent on the different levels and lessons.
With my kindergarteners, one of the main benefits is the games that help them improve mouse skills. In our world of touchscreen everything, I get kindergartners who have never even touched a mouse, and being able to build mouse skills in a fun way has been beneficial for them, and prepares them to use the desktop computers I have in my classroom.
Originally, I had only planned to use TypeTastic for my younger grades, but I found that my 3rd– and 4th-graders really like it as well. They like being able to master the home row without failing. It really boosts their confidence, and they actually ask to use the program. I even have some kids asking for it during their free time!
We’ve had a typing competition going on among the 3rd– and 4th-graders—not specifically with TypeTastic, but just to build that competence. During the competition, we’ve used TypeTastic a lot for warmup before we would do an actual typing test, and I did see more improvement when we did that than when we just went straight in for the harder task. Next year I plan to use the program pretty much the same way—it has worked really well for us.