TL; DR: Typing Master puts engaging keyboarding courses within reach with TypeTastic and TypeTastic School Edition, which have helped more than 2 million children kick-start their typing education. The company, founded in 1992, provides more than 700 fun and inspiring activities that empower users to build essential skills for a tech-based world. With exciting upcoming collaborations and plans for bilingual support, TypeTastic is poised to help an even greater population of students excel for decades to come.
As public schools phase cursive handwriting out of curricula and children opt to email their Christmas lists to Santa, it’s evident that the keyboard has become mightier than the pen.
Still, the fact that today’s youth are digital natives doesn’t mean they’ll pick up typing skills naturally — like anyone, they have to be taught. Guidelines specifying developmental readiness for typing lessons don’t yet exist, but many consider it appropriate to introduce these skills in kindergarten when young hands fit comfortably on a keyboard.
And since many schools aren’t teaching kids to type as part of a standard curriculum, a growing number of teachers and parents are turning to third-party tools — such as Typing Master’s TypeTastic and TypeTastic School Edition — to get the job done.
“We realized that there weren’t any companies providing material to K-3 students that would get them acquainted with a keyboard, especially with a pedagogical approach,” said Sini Taskinen, Marketing Coordinator at Typing Master. “So we started with tools for the lower levels and then began incorporating keyboarding curriculum for all grade levels.”
Today, the company offers engaging online courses that model proper typing techniques so children can practice lessons until they have mastered their skills. But these typing lessons aren’t boring exercises in repetition. Instead, they’re designed to help kids discover the fun in typing through gamification, with more than 700 entertaining activities in alternating landscapes.
Moving forward, Typing Master has plans to put its keyboarding courses in the hands of an even broader student population via integrations with popular e-learning tools and the addition of bilingual support.
A Rich History: Helping Students Learn to Type Since 1992
Sini told us that Typing Master, based in Finland, has been developing computer education tools for nearly three decades. The company initially built its software for MS-DOS before moving on to Windows in step with industry trends. Then, about 15 years ago, the company began providing software-as-a-service solutions for schools.
As technology advanced and children began interacting with computers at an increasingly early age, Typing Master started to develop tools like TypeTastic for early childhood education. The company’s portfolio also includes a wide variety of keyboard skill-enhancing products, including Typing Games Zone, TypingTest.com, and TypingTrainer.com.
TypeTastic was released in June 2017 to serve children in kindergarten through third grade and has since helped more than 2 million users learn to type. In 2019, the Typing Master released TypeTastic School Edition, which includes more than 700 activities on topics such as touch-typing, fluency, numbers, and symbols for the entire K-12 keyboarding curriculum.
“In today’s tech-based world, keyboarding is a language that everyone should know,” said Petteri Väliaho, the co-founder of TypingMaster, in a Facebook announcement. “Now, students in all grades have a fun and inspiring way to learn to type, and their teachers have the tools to keep them on track.”
With TypeTastic School Edition, teachers can easily save detailed scores for each student, making it easier than ever to track progress. They can also proctor customized typing tests designed to assess progress or serve as extra credit.
The program is extremely user-friendly, functioning without apps or plugs and featuring compatibility with Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android devices.
An Engaging, Step-by-Step Approach for K-12 Students
Gamification has found its place in both educational spaces over the past decade — and for good reason.
A whopping 97% of teens ages 12-17 tapped in a recent study by the Pew Research Center said they play computer, web, portable, or console games, with nearly half of all teens surveyed reporting that they played a video game the previous day.
In another study, nearly 80% of the learners said they would be more productive if their university, institution, or workplace was more game-like.
TypeTastic and TypeTastic School Edition tap into the emerging gamification trend with fun and engaging lessons featuring Roxy the Red Panda and breezy island adventures for elementary students, as well as colorful but streamlined modules for children in middle and high school.
Through gamification, Typing Master aims to help students build a positive, rewarding, and encouraging relationship with typing. The approach helps keep them engaged for long periods of time as they pick up new skills.
In addition to the engagement benefits of gamification, Sini told us educators and learners value the software for its straightforward, step-by-step approach.
“You just take small steps that are duplicated in every single lesson you go through,” she said. “You always start with learning a key, then you start adding words, then sentences. It feels familiar but not repetitive.”
Sini said schools appreciate that lessons provide opportunities to fail and try again without repercussions and that they include real words and sentences. “We don’t just do these exercises to type letters in a row,” she said. “You’re learning how to type words as you would in the real world — not just general letter sequences.”
Management Solutions for Entire Schools and Districts
Sini said the TypeTastic School Edition was designed for the needs of educators at multiple levels, including teachers, schools, and districts. The completely ad-free technology makes it easy to do everything from customizing study material and setting up tests to managing the online software as a district-wide solution.
Typing Master released a major update to TypeTastic School Edition in April 2019, introducing more than 280 new activities for middle and high school students with specific themes based on grade level.
The software now supports single sign-on functionality and can be integrated into school directories using Active Directory Federation Services, a solution created by Microsoft.
“You can just login with one user ID and password, and then you can manage all of the schools from the same place,” Sini said. “It’s the most significant update we’ve released in a while.”
The upgrade was based largely on feedback from teachers who use the technology. Typing Master regularly has in-depth conversations with its customers and even included some of them in a five-month pilot program before officially releasing the update.
The company’s most recent update, released January 7, 2020, features administrative dashboard that enables district and organization leaders to manage multiple schools via one intuitive interface (keep an eye out for new reporting features that will make the software even more powerful.)
Up Next: Integrations and Bilingual Support
Sini told us that Typing Master recently partnered with Clever, an educational software service that empowers districts to bring all of their digital resources into one secure portal, to provide single sign-ons and simplified rostering.
To provide even more sign-on options, the company will partner with Google SSO, Google Classroom, and ClassLink.
Users can also expect a Spanish version of TypeTastic in the near future.
“We have so much coming up this year,” Sini said.
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