How I Use It
In my classroom Typing Club became an almost daily practice for students to hone their typing skills. After the initial introduction to the website, students became independent with it pretty quickly. They knew that at some point during their seat work they would be required to get in 10-15 minutes of Typing Club each day. Our county had just provided Chromebooks to our grade level and with all of the work they were expected to do through Google Docs and Slides, I knew they would need to become more proficient with typing on a computer. It also provided them with some practice in preparing for taking a computerized state test towards the end of the school year, giving them a comfort level with an otherwise new and for some, scary endeavor. By the end of the year, many students were typing much faster than they had been at the beginning, giving them a sense of pride and accomplishment.
I remember back to when I was in fourth grade and our teacher had provided each student with a laminated copy of a computer keyboard. We were expected to practice our typing skills at home on a 2-dimensional piece of paper. Needless to say, it was the opposite of engaging and the last thing I wanted to spend time doing. One reason why I like Typing Club is that I am able to provide a website that I know will be engaging. I received a lot of positive feedback from students, saying how much they enjoyed practicing their typing. They were very motivated by seeing their speed in words per minute and by earning (up to 3) stars for each level completed. I would have students excitedly come up to me and say they had received "3 stars" for a level or that they only received 2 and wanted to go back and try for 3. Sometimes we would have friendly competitions where students would challenge each other (or me!) on a specific level to test their proficiency against others. Another reason why I like Typing Club, is that it's a terrific way for students to monitor their own progress, repeating lessons if necessary and moving up through the levels at their own pace.
As far as critiques for the website, I do have a few. One downside would be the fact that students can jump to a higher level, even if they have not mastered the more basic levels. I would prefer for students to need a certain score in order to move on to higher levels, and I would like for each level to be mandatory. Another issue I ran into was the fact that some students would become so engrossed with the speed of their typing, they would stop paying attention to accuracy. While the program does provide "phantom fingers" on the screen to remind students of which finger goes with each key, I realized that if I did not monitor and offer feedback to students on keeping the correct fingering, they would revert to just using their index fingers.
Overall, I have found Typing Club to be a very useful tool in the classroom and would recommend it to both colleagues and students with little reservation.