Type Kids is a new subscription website that contains a great assortment of activities to encourage children to improve their typing.
It’s got a lot of good ideas but is ultimately let down by it’s over the top enthusiasm to engage and to teach.
As a primary school teacher I am very aware of the difficulty that many children have with typing. We frequently set them work to do using the computers in school and it is often frustrating to watch a group of children who write well and quickly on paper become bogged down by a keyboard.
Typing games provide a great way of improving children’s writing speed and accuracy.
Type Kids tries to incentivise children’s typing lessons by rewarding them for completing ever increasingly difficult typing activities. Children can opt to try individual exercises or can follow a story mode to progress through typing activities.
The first time you play one of the games it teaches you where to place your fingers on the keyboard and challenges you with typing that focuses on keeping your fingers in the correct positions. This is wonderful, it stands out from many other typing games as it teaches rather than just provides a typing game.
The activities task you with copying a string of letter combinations in the correct order and this is where I have my first problem with Type Kids.
The problem is that the typing task is too long and that you have to type out bizarre strings of letters. In my experience, of working with children of the age that I’d expect this to be aimed at, the typing tasks should all be very quick and reward the user often. By quick I’d prefer to have to type either sentences, words of even just letters to begin with. I also think that it would be better to have to type real words. This would be more helpful to children, they’d be practising common letter combinations and learn spelling whilst typing.
Upon completing a task the player is rewarded with coins and can unlock extra games as they play. This is great but, at least initially, it would be better to be rewarded with coins faster, this would capture children’s attention far quicker and encourage them to play more.
The story mode is a fantastic idea to again keep people playing. Unfortunately this too is flawed. To tell the story Type Kids makes use of still images with a voice-over telling the tale. Again in my opinion these story seemed take too long. The images and voice over took several minutes of listening before you were given any typing at all, it would be much better at keeping children’s attention if these were far shorter or animated.
To get more children interested it good to have short story sections with short and snappy games frequently churning out rewards by getting children to practice typing real words.
Visit Type Kids yourself and have a free trial at http://www.typekids.com/