How I Use It
We have a charge to explore then teach efficient keyboard use over the course of the grades, k-6. http://www.typing.com/ (formerly typing web) is a terrific free tool that allows individualization, record keeping, achievement 'awards,' earned game time that is NOT dedicated to hammer and smash keyboard games. It does require the usual constant monitoring of posture, position and placement. Pulling reports is a breeze and they are effective assessment tools for the children. We post the class best numbers, no names, and each student is encouraged to assign her/his own goal, based on the class numbers. They can choose to meet or exceed, their OWN class number of a number in another grade. They are able to view their own stats as well.
The setup is simple and easy. BEST point: NO EMAIL ACCOUNT is required. Importing enrollment list from a spreadsheet can be done by class, grade or as one unit. PW are assigned but can be changed very easily. We have a very strict policy regarding usernames on accounts so could only use first names. I named every child with their first name and the school initials, all one word, no caps or spaces. Duplicates were distinguished by use of classroom number. (Children are assigned a number order that reflects the class alpha order. We use THAT number in their username and have, so far not had a lot of duplication. I think one, last year in the entire enrollment.
One issue that I see is that they can, at any time access the arcade, and I cannot always see, whether they were awarded that game time for achievement or they (self assigned and) got into the arcade instead of the lessons, on their own. Luckily, most of my students will tell the truth if I ask and I can confirm when they say they spent 7 minutes on an exercise, by checking a report for time on task.
On the days when the network was down we were able to continue practice using the old, previously installed hard drive keyboarding program, but they did prefer the more modern typing.com.