How I Use It
I have been using QwertyTown for 3 years with K-4. We enjoyed the program initially, but quickly ran into major issues with on boarding - it's slow and not intuitive, as well as support - it's very spotty. It would be awesome to see this small company win in the edtech world, but the resources devoted to gamification could be better spent on adding support staff and streamlining the onboarding process. As of now, there is little protection for account overwriting, meaning it is easy for sibling accounts to collide. The report system and the admin dashboard leave much to be desired.
The typing practice itself is great, though the engineering has some obvious flaws like losing focus on the window by accidentally touching the trackpad. The typing tutors provide voice feedback which is helpful to students. The visuals are colorful and attention grabbing. The coins and tokens add motivation to the student experience. In my opinion, they go to far with the social components. There is simply no need for an internal chat and email program. In addition, the only way to spend the coins is on customizing your avatar - a task with no learning value. This thin use of gamification distracts the students from the inherent value of the skills they are learning and the lack of diverse bodies and looks in the avatar creation has drawn complaints from my students. (the bodies are meant to be gender neutral, but they default to a 'boy'). While lack of diversity in avatars is just a nuisance, lack of ability to differentiate student instruction or start students at different levels is concerning and frustrating considering other typing apps offer these features.