How I Use It
Dance Mat is popular with my students, but their enthusiasm wanes quickly if it is overused. I assign different Dance Mat lessons at intervals and allow students to progress as far as they can within the given time frame. The students have shown a marked improvement in their typing skills and familiarity with key locations on the keyboard since I began using Dance Mat. Dance Mat is from the BBC so all prompts are in British English which can be difficult to understand, particularly for ELL students. Students should be forewarned that the letter z is pronounced zed. Some of the characters play on stereotypes which bothers me, but the students do not seem to notice. The site can be a bit glitchy and freeze. There are audio directions, prompts, and noises, so the classroom can get quite loud. I recommend using headphones to keep the noise level down. Overall, my students enjoy it in small doses, but I wouldn't use it more than once each week.
Dance Mat Typing is a keyboarding practice website. The typing lessons are broken down into 12 levels and stages presented with animated characters introducing each lesson. After learning the home row, each stage adds two more keys to practice while reinforcing keys they have already learned. Students can work through the lessons at their own pace. Within each lesson, students can check their progress, but Dance Mat does not test overall typing speed. Visual and audio prompts and support are given throughout each lesson. My elementary age students find the commentary on the website amusing.