Typing has become an even more important life skill since I was in high school and learned on the old clunkers. When the opportunity came up, I wanted to review The Typing Coach Online Typing Course provided by The Typing Coach.
What is The Typing Coach?
The typing coach is an online, yet old-school approach to learning how to use a keyboard with touch-typing. We were granted a one-year subscription; if you already have been using a keyboard and have a little experience, it should take you about 10 weeks to complete the 10 lessons that are included. However, completion times will vary greatly depending on the user.
The lessons are:
- Having Good Posture
- Home Row
- Top Row
- Bottom Row
- Shift Keys
- Typing Practices
- Number Row
- Serious Practicing
- Final Assessment
There is also an option for slower-paced lessons for younger and special ed students. Tristan tried these a couple of times but preferred the ‘regular’ lessons.
How it works
As I’ve said, this is a more back-to-basics approach to touch typing; there aren’t any bells and whistles. The lessons are given via audio recordings while you follow along at your keyboard with your monitor turned off or covered so you aren’t tempted to backspace or delete.
- You listen to the audio.
- Open a blank Word Document.
- Turn off or cover your PC or laptop monitor.
- Listen and type.
- Turn on your monitor and check your own results.
When you have completed a lesson without any errors, then and only then, is it time to move on to a test (this is corrected for you online). You will pass if you are error free. If you don’t pass, then you will be blocked from retaking the test for 2 days to give you more time to practice some more.
This course focuses on both accuracy and speed.
I do not expect perfection … just no errors
How The Typing Coach has worked for us
Tristan (9) has been the main user of this program. Although we’ve had guests staying with us for the past four weeks, he’s been very good at logging on five days a week for his lessons. Lessons are about 20 minutes long and they don’t have cartoons, games, or any other ‘fluff.’ However, within the lesson there is a designated time to stretch…which is hilarious because Tristan will get up from the desk, run around the house in and out of every room with his hands waving about, quite reminiscent of the iconic scene from Home Alone!
Living in the UK, our keyboard is standard for over here and thus the kids have to make ajustments when learning to type as the keyboards here are slightly different from North America (I should have remembered ahead of our guests arriving to see if they had a spare NA keyboard they could have brought for us…maybe next time). But we’re flexible so we adjust.
I liked how the first lesson was about posture and explained it well how to seat yourself to have good posture for typing. It’s hard to get Tristan to sit properly…but now he has very good posture…but mainly just for this class and then it’s back to the usual. But it’s a good start. I’ve also noted how Tristan is now holding his wrists up to type rather than letting them fall down onto the desk, which is good to see. I don’t want him having trouble with his joints.
It has taken Tristan about 4-5 weeks to get through the home row lesson, which is more than the goal. However, this course stresses accuracy and perfection before moving to the next lesson. Which is important. And I’m Tristan has been so used to looking at both his fingers and the screen when he types that it’s taken him some time to break this habit.
One thing I think could be improved with this course is to break down the lessons a little more like those ‘olden days’ of high school in the 80s where we learned only two keys at a time. I know this seemed quite silly to us at the time, but now I see that learning 10-11 keys at a time can be a bit much to take in and remember all at once.
Tristan was soooo happy when he passed his home row test last week! After putting in so much work, it was a real accomplishment for him.
Tristan says that he likes The Typing Coach because it doesn’t have any games, cartoons, etc., with it (this from a 9-year old boy!). I think that because it’s only audio it may make him feel more ‘grown up’ as he has seen me transcribe podcasts and listen to webinars. But it goes to show that you don’t have to make things ‘fun’ for kids to find them useful!
I think perhaps, also, that the audio may make him concentrate more on what he’s doing and he can’t use visual clues to help him figure out what he should be doing.
I’m still a little undecided, however. I found this program very awkward to find my way around at the beginning, and I still haven’t quite come to grips with it entirely. Perhaps that will come after a few more lessons and we get into a rhythm. I can’t quite place my finger on it, but maybe if the lessons and instructions were laid out just a little differently it might help.
I will be honest and say that I had intended to take this class as a refresher to improve my transcribing speed, but between having guests and an old wrist injury acting up, it hasn’t been comfortable for me to spend additional time a the keyboard just now. But I have every intention of getting in some practice just as soon as I can (more speed and accuracy for me will equal more virtual assistant work done in a shorter length of time – a win for both me and my clients).
Touch typing is a life skill and the better one is at it, the more efficient they will be while at a keyboard. The Typing Coach is a basic course, just as typing is a basic skill. It goes back to the basics and focuses on what needs to be learned rather than on extraneous ‘stuff.’
To take this course, the student will likely do better if they are self-motivated and don’t rely on external motivators (although there is a progress chart, an incentive chart, and typing tickets that can be exchanged for rewards that you can print off).
I think this is a solid course overall, and although there are a couple of things I wouldn’t mind seeing tweaked, my son is enjoying feeling like an adult, and even my 7-year-old daughter has begun the Home Row lesson, by her own request after seeing her big brother improve with it.
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