Ratatype

Free drills and games offer typing basics on varied keyboard layouts

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Expert evaluation by Common Sense

Grades

3–12

Subjects & Skills

Character & SEL, English Language Arts

Great for

Productivity

Price: Free
Platforms: Web

Pros: Free access to lessons and the inclusion of other keyboards offer value.

Cons: Limited number of drills; no option to jump to more advanced levels; some text in the tests may not be quite right for younger students.

Bottom Line: This set of free typing drills does a decent job of covering the basics from the beginning but doesn't offer much depth or flexibility.

How Can I Teach with This Tool?

To access the lessons, teachers need to sign up for a free account. Once in, teachers can use Ratatype for students who have little to no experience with touch-typing. The simple, straightforward drills will cover the basics of finger placement and give students some practice toward the goal of creating motor memories. Teachers can create a "class" to group students together, and create an account for each student using their name and email address. There's also integration with Google Classroom. Students will then receive an email inviting them to log in and get started. In this way, both students and teachers can see data on drills completed, speed, and accuracy. Typing tests are a fun way to see how students have progressed or to introduce a bit of competition, and the game mode includes a Pac-Man-style character. The variety of keyboards is a cool addition, though there doesn't seem to be a way to actually see lessons in other languages. It's good to note that the sentences are random and, though they may not be clearly inappropriate, aren't always exactly kid friendly. Teachers should be aware that the free version has ads, including the occasional intrusive ad to buy the ad-free version of Ratatype for $5.

Learning Rating

Overall Rating
Engagement

Drills build in complexity to introduce new challenges, and a game mode adds a bit of whimsy. Certificates and speed and accuracy challenges encourage students to keep improving.

Pedagogy

Simple typing drills start with the basics on home row. Advancing to the next level requires accuracy rather than speed. A color-coded keyboard helps remind students which fingers should tap which keys.

Support

Teachers and students see basic data on speed, accuracy, and levels completed. A number of keyboard layouts are available, though the site text stays in English.

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