Lay the groundwork for a new school year with this crucial 21st-century skill.
It might not be the most exciting classroom activity, but touch typing is a foundational skill for every digital citizen. Back-to-school is a great time to introduce (or reintroduce) students to typing games. And what better way to sustain kids' interest than with leaderboards, badging, and themes? With detailed real-time feedback, students (and teachers) will know when they're ready to level up to more advanced lessons, from letters to punctuation to difficult key patterns.
Although it takes time to develop the muscle memory necessary for keyboarding, kids will see a payoff in other academic areas. These standout games are far from rote or simplistic -- they're engaging, encouraging, and a great investment of classroom time.
Price: Free; premium account is $7.99 for five students
Free and fun, this website is colorful, lively, and customizable. Just as important, robust performance data helps teachers track students' progress. Lessons range from beginner to intermediate, advanced, and specialty levels; the site also customizes lessons based on students' problem letters. Kids can choose a "skin" or theme to personalize their experience, and there are plenty of motivational touches like badges, completion certificates, and a class scoreboard. Keep in mind that the free version displays ads; you'll need a premium account to turn them off.
Price: Free teacher version; paid version offers extended features (starting at $2.66 per student per year for five students)
While Typing.com is geared more toward individual use, TypingClub allows for whole-class and district-wide instruction. This tool shines at the individual level, too, with customizable lessons and settings. As students progress through increasingly difficult levels, they receive instant feedback while typing, as well as speed and accuracy assessments after each lesson. The badge rewards, gold-star ratings, and leveled gameplay keep students engaged and motivated to master all 100 lessons.
Price: Free speed test; all other material available via in-app purchases ($0.99-$3.99); full version available as a separate app for $3.99
Platforms: iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
With a colorful heat map feedback method that helps kids visualize their progress in red (incorrect) and green (correct) keystrokes, this app is a standout tool for touch-screen typing practice. As with similar tools, students get ample performance data as they progress through the lessons, from letters to punctuation to more difficult key patterns. Interesting typing content (such as inspirational quotations and works of literature) and a motivational leaderboard keep students engaged.