Monday, November 14, 2011

TOS Review: Keyboard Town PALS

Keyboard Town PALS is a program designed to teach children to type in one hour.  A series of eight very short videos (only a few minutes each) feature Sunny and a host of puppets, the inhabitants of Keyboard Town.  The program is designed for children ages 6 to 12.  It is also designed to be non-stressful and easily used by children with learning differences.

From the Keyboard Town PALS website:
"Keyboard Town PALS is a unique method that is equally successful for the gifted child, mainstream child and children with learning differences. By  associating two unrelated items and linking them  in the mind, through story format, your child will easily be able to recall  the location of the placement of keys and  letters on the QWERTY keyboard. In our revolutionary approach, the keyboard is taught “vertically,” one finger at-a-time, and not “horizontally” across the keyboard. Within minutes your child is typing real words and his/her self-esteem soars as success is experienced. Self-motivated to continue, your child quickly and easily masters the rest of the keyboard!"

I like the idea of many of the features of this program.  The delete and backspace keys are disabled and attention is not brought to mistakes.  The font and background colors can be changed to accommodate children with dyslexia.  The program is quick and easy, rather than multiple, repetitive drills.  Keyboard Town PALS was designed and produced by people with many years experience in childrens education, including some who worked on "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood".

However, we had a really hard time getting past the "Sunny" character.  We thought it was a bit freaky looking.  The other issue was that Wonder Boy, at age 11, thought the puppets were kind of babyish.  I would say that this program would be best used by children 8 years old and younger.  I definitely think a child younger than 6 could use this if they are reading already.

Keyboard Town PALS can be purchased as either a web-based program for $30 or in disc format for $35.  It is available in English, Spanish, or French.  There are also keyboard stickers, finger puppets, and other optional items to use with the program.

***Note:  I received access to the web version of Keyboard Town PALS in exchange for my review through TOS Homeshool Crew.  All opinions are my own.

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