Type by the Colors
There’s no doubt that learning to type is one of the hardest – and most valuable – skills a child can learn at school these days. And, with keyboards everywhere, the earlier they learn to master tapping out words, sentences and essays, the better. An innovative approach to letting your fingers to the walking comes from KeyRight with its Look & Learn color-coded keyboard that can speed up the process of learning to type.
The keyboard is a standard 101-key QWERTY device that connects to any recent PC or notebook via a USB cable. It’s like no other keyboard because it is like a rainbow with keys marked with eight different colors. This makes the keyboard so unique that it has a patent on its design.
Contrary to the way many teach typing, Key Right ignores the home row concept and creates groups of keys that are color-coded and associate those keys to their letters. It’s called the Direct Reach Method and it requires lees reaching. Research shows that it can speed up how quickly kids can learn to type.
The key (no pun intended) to its success is the included CD that walks kids through the process of associating the colors with certain keys and fingers. The software works with PCs and Macs, but not Linux computers. All the tasks are friendly and non-intimidating, with plenty of positive feedback for hitting the correct keys and encouragement after mistakes.
Repetition is central to teaching typing and there are games and tests of accuracy and speed. There are also sections on the ergonomics of safe typing and a tabulation of the student’s progress for the teacher to look over.
With a 11-year old who was a dedicated two-finger typist as an example, in two weeks of use he was able to type faster and more accurately after completing only half of the course. At that point, he had doubled his typing speed and his accuracy was much higher. KeyRight says that four to six hours is what it takes to learn touch typing, but I’d say that twice that time – or more – is the minimum needed to learn this skill.
Unlike keyboards with blank keys, the Look & Learn keyboard has all its characters boldly marked, so when it’s not being used to teach typing, the keyboard and computer can be used as a lab in its off hours. With USB keyboards selling for $10, Look & Learn costs four-times that, which can be a tough sell in a time of tight budgets. On the other hand, the Look & Learn keyboard is a complete system that can teach a generation of kids how to type without the pain.
KeyRight Look & Learn Keyboard
+ Painless way to learn typing
+ Standard keyboard with letters
+ PC or Macs
- Requires longer time to master skill than claim
- More expensive than standard keyboards
- No Linux version