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The Typing Coach Subscription Review by Jennifer HarrisonDavid Kimball
The Typing Coach
The Typing Coach shares a unique approach to typing lessons at home. Rather than interact with a computer program, students listen to audio instructions and type both from those verbal instructions and off of worksheets that they print out and prop up beside the computer. Families can access the program through yearly subscriptions. A one-year subscription costs $17. This subscription gives families access to downloadable PDF files, audio instructions, and the testing center. Students need access to a computer, a printer, and a word processing application.
The program includes 6 different files for parents to read to fully understand the program before starting. It also includes 3 printable packets. The student packet contains practice pages and tests that students will prop up next to them before typing.
The goal behind this self-paced audio method is to keep students from developing bad habits of looking at the monitor or keyboard as they type. If your student is planning a career that requires them to type things copied from a physical text, then this is a useful skill. The program is considered self-paced because students can stop typing, open the window in which the audio is playing, and then hit pause on that audio file. This can be a bit awkward, but there are many long moments within each audio lesson that are filled with background music, providing ample opportunities to transition from one page to the other without losing one’s place.
The program begins with a before and after snapshot. While listening to fifteen minutes of audio instructions, students type from a printed page for 3 minutes and then stop. Once finished with the program, they can go back and do this again, comparing the difference in their skills.
The next lesson focuses on posture. Students listen to a two minute audio clip about posture, watch a YouTube video that demonstrates good typing posture, and then listen to a three minute video about good posture. Once they have successfully tested well in the posture lesson, they move on to typing on the keyboard.
The first typing lesson is on the Home Row. This includes an 18-minute audio lesson that includes verbal typing instruction and guidance in using the printed packet for typing. There are similar lessons for the Top Row, the Bottom Row, the Shift Keys, and the Number Row. There are also lessons on practicing and a section for testing.
The audio instructions include plenty of encouragement, reminders for personal discipline, good posture and hand placement, as well as jazzy instrumental music. Students listen to verbal instructions for about 5 minutes and then the music plays for one minute while students read the packet page instructions. More instructions are given and students type from the packet while listening to more music. After a couple minutes, the music is interrupted with a verbal reminder to focus on posture and to be certain students are on the correct page in their packet. The music returns and students type for a few more minutes. Verbal instructions tell students that it is “stretch break time” for 30 seconds, which are marked with more music. Once the break is over, students return to typing with audio instructions and reminders for proper posture and hand positioning. Music plays while students look over their work. Students are sent again to print from their packet. Once the lesson is mastered, students are encouraged to go to the testing center.
Testing includes a box in which students are to type from a printed packet. They can choose how many minutes they are timed for the test. They are then encouraged to get some ice cream or some other treat.
Pros: The instructor has a great sense of humor, responds quickly to questions, and truly seems to care about customers. It is obvious that he wants to help students succeed. Another thing I appreciate is that you can sample some elements of the program for free to see if it is a good fit for your family.
Cons: The instructor has a slight lisp, which can be distracting for an audio program. The music was nice when we started, but I was sad to see it slowly destroy my love of jazz.
Admittedly, my students “before” snapshot was pretty terrible. They averaged 20 words per minute. By the end of the course, they were able to reach the promised 45 words per minute mark.
-Product review by Jennifer Harrison, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, May, 2017