How I Use It
In my 4th grade classroom, I used Dance Mat Typing as a literacy center during my reading block for students to rotate to. Students were always able to access the webpage easily from our classroom set of laptops, and very excited and enthusiastic to use the program. Since its a free game with no log ins, it didn't save the students progress. Students had to remember what level they were on and be honest not to skip ahead. Also, I often had to remind students that in order to learn the correct way, they could not look at the keyboard. Without walking around monitoring that, students were unable to sustain that posture on their own throughout their time on the website.
I love this tool for students in elementary school who have to learn how to type. Since typing as a formal content area is not taught in my school, and instructional time is extremely limited, it was really helpful to incorporate this as a center. I like that it is self-paced and guided. The program talks to the students and shows them visually with pictures and animations how to set up their fingers correctly and type. It has fun music and games throughout, formal lessons and instructions, and each lesson is followed by interactive activities and practice. Each level progresses in the correct way that allows for students to feel successful throughout the program. The only upgrade would be for the teacher or students to keep a chart or a record of where they are since the program doesn't save their progress. The other problem is ensuring students don't skip ahead since the lessons must be completed in sequential order. Overall it is a fun, engaging, free, easy way for students to learn a vital 21st century life skill!