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UltraKey 6: The Ultimate Keyboarding Tutor for Macintosh and Windows Review by Cassandra HoldemanArt Willer
Bytes of Learning
266 Elmwood Ave. #256
Buffalo, NY 14222
Teaching my kids to type properly has been a goal of mine since we decided to homeschool especially since my background is in Business Education. It seems like all the programs I have looked at in the past were either geared towards very young kids or they were geared towards older students. I have been searching for one product that I could use with both of my students even though I have one in third grade and one in eighth grade. I really wanted a program that they both could use but it would teach them at their own level and pace. This is exactly what we found when we received a subscription for multiple family members to UltraKey 6: The Ultimate Keyboarding Tutor for Macintosh and Windows to review.
UltraKey begins each student with an introduction to the program with a video that explains what they will learn. This program is recommended for ages eight and up, but it does say that with practice even students as young as six can use the program. After viewing the introduction video, students are given a typing assessment test that is used to set their individualized ability. The individual goal of each student is designed to increase their typing speed also known as words per minute (wpm) and accuracy. Once the assessment is completed and the goals are set, the student can begin working in the Lessons area. The lessons are very thorough and clear. They use voice instruction and animated instructions to teach the lessons. Once the student has worked on a lesson, they can practice what they learned in the Skill Check section of the program. Each skill check can be repeated until the student's personal goals of accuracy and speed are attained. The skill checks also offer different options for length of passage to check. After the student passes a skill check, the next lesson is unlocked. UltraKey also features a typing forum and games for the student to gain extra practice and work on their typing. This program tracks your student's performance for you. The company recommends using this program for at least 20 minutes each day.
Since we could use this subscription for multiple family members, I set up an account for each of my kids and myself. The accounts were easy to set up and once I showed my kids what they needed to do to access their account they were able to log themselves in each day. My third grader was thrilled to work on this program as she has been wanting to learn to type. She watched the introduction video and went through the section on proper posture and couldn't wait to start her first lesson. She found the lessons to be very easy to understand and worked through them quickly. The skill checks were harder for her and she had to repeat them several times because she had to hit her goal of both accuracy and speed to pass. At first this frustrated her because she was able to hit one or the other, but after more practice she finally passed on both goals. She also liked to practice her typing in the forum. She consistently asked to get on the computer and do more of this program on her own and I was happy to let her keep working on it. My eighth grader was not as excited to learn to type. He didn't see anything wrong with his “hunt and peck” method which was driving me nuts. He very obediently worked on this program for the required 20 minutes a day and asked to work more a time or two. He did very well at the lessons, but tended to struggle with the skill checks and meeting both speed and accuracy goals. He did end up passing some of the skill checks which made him happy.
I made my own account to use this program because I wanted to be able to check it out completely. I also wanted to practice my typing skills as I know I have lost some of them since my days of consistently teaching typing before I had kids. I was extremely impressed with this program and all it has to offer. It is very thorough while being very user friendly. I appreciated how this program would not let you move on until you had passed the skill check which meant that you mastered the lesson. It even took me a few times to pass the first skill check until I really concentrated. I liked how the lessons featured both audio and visual learning to reinforce the concepts. This program was a lot of fun but very educational at the same time. This is a program that I fully intend to purchase for use in our homeschool because it is exactly what I have been looking for to teach my children typing and I highly recommend this typing program.
Bytes of Learning offers many different options when it comes to purchasing UltraKey 6: The Ultimate Keyboarding Tutor for Macintosh and Windows. The subscription we received is just $39.95 and allows up to three installations. While the version we received is not licensed for large schools to use, they do have products available for larger groups and schools at very reasonable prices.
-Product review by Cassandra Holdeman, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, March, 2017