Review by Jenny Bristol, Common Sense Education | Updated September 2017

Typing Quest

Gorgeous, customizable set of typing lessons for all ages

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1-12 This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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Pros: Attractive interface, comprehensive lesson range, and controls for teachers.

Cons: Limited content per lesson and the games are sometimes unintuitive.

Bottom Line: Typing Quest turns beginner keyboarding students into fluent touch typists, with a little extra effort from teachers.

Typing Quest is designed for entire classes or schools and has SSO and LDAP integration. When teachers or administrators are logged in, the site is broken up into a Manager side and a Study Area side, where teachers can adjust the settings or see the lesson modules, respectively.

Students can be organized into special groups relating to classes, age groups, and language proficiency. Teachers can adjust the course to accommodate each group's needs (such as WPM targets, length of lesson, and use of backspace key), track and assess student progress, and add special texts for the typing tests, covering topics studied in other classes or adding in foreign language support. Additionally, versatile reporting tools help teachers track their students from a number of perspectives, including evaluating whether struggling students are likely to pass the final course tests. If teachers get stuck, the site includes thorough files for both user and manager manuals in several of the languages.

If your classroom has tablets but not computers, Typing Quest can also be used in tablet form, with or without an external keyboard. For younger or beginner students who have access to tablets, there are also some games available to familiarize them with the keyboard layout.

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Typing Quest is a full typing curriculum for grades 1-12, beginning with keyboard configuration layout and typing the Home Row, and ending with the typing of information-rich multi-paragraph documents, special characters, and 10-key. The course includes up to 20 hours of exercises, customizable typing tests, and five typing games. A collection of teacher tools lets teachers set requirements for different student groups, along with multiple language support. In addition, there's a pre-test and a long list of self-assessment tests to gauge learning along the way. Custom text for tests can also be added. 

The curriculum's three main modules start with introductions and initial tests and then move into the Home Row study before covering other parts of the keyboard. Keyboarding Kickstart gets young kids to use both hands and all 10 fingers individually. There's a color-coded keyboard for students to follow, and fun games keep young kids interested. Many of the instructions are read aloud and students can follow along on the screen. Typing Quest Junior is for mid to late elementary and covers the entire alphabet and common punctuation. Typing Quest is for middle school and up and includes longer and trickier words. Lessons include warm-up exercises and an exam. Keyboarding Kickstart and Typing Quest Junior also have visual guidance slides that cover proper touch typing technique and ergonomics. The curriculum's four more specialized modules focus on increasing typing speed, the number row, special symbols, and the 10-key numpad.

Following each exercise, students get to see a visual scorecard that shows them their speed and accuracy scores, and trouble words are tracked for later practice. At any time, typing tests can be taken to evaluate typing skills. Fast typists may find a slight delay when they finish typing one page of text before the next appears, which may affect their overall typing speed score. Unlike in the lesson exercises, typing mistakes don't stop students from progressing through the text; errors are merely reflected in the student's final score.

 

 

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As with most typing programs available, Typing Quest will teach students proper keyboarding form and habits, while giving them extensive practice, starting with the Home Row and adding other sections of the keyboard slowly. The lessons have color-coded and connected on-screen keyboard keys that demonstrate which keys are to be pressed by which fingers. This helps students of all ages visualize just how the keyboard real estate is covered by their hands. The colorful interface makes for a pleasant learning environment, and its games extend the learning and add to the fun while taking the pressure off; the games lack a bit of polish and aren't all intuitive, but they are a nice break from the straight typing. Since Typing Quest is designed to allow teachers to adjust courses, threshold requirements, and more, it's easy for lesson modules to be tailored for students as needed.

Struggling students can review words they have more trouble typing, while fast and accurate typists can be challenged with teacher-created text at higher reading levels. While the whole keyboard is covered on the site, it could be improved with more variations on the lessons. As it's currently set up, exercises don't offer a lot of variety, and faster typists will find that exercise content repeats itself. Teachers can create original testing material, but there seems to be only one lesson or a few exercises per focused topic. Additionally, in some places, it's particularly difficult to differentiate between a capital letter I and a lower case l. A different typeface would alleviate this confusion.

 

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Overall Rating
4

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?
4

Colorful screens, large graphics, and clear instructions pull students into the learning. As a break from the lessons, students can play typing games, trying to beat their previous scores.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?
4

The site's gentle and gradual difficulty increase helps beginner typists and younger students ease into their lessons while still challenging older students. Repetition and practice with weaker words solidifies learning.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?
4

Lessons and options are fairly self-explanatory, so only basic guidance is given for students. But there are two detailed manuals in text form for teachers, one each for using and managing the lessons on the site.


Common Sense Reviewer
Jenny Bristol Homeschooling parent

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