On the very first day that we started our review of UltraKey Online Family Subscription by Bytes of Learning my daughter Elizabeth said, ” I really like this program mom. I think I’m going to learn more than I did with the other typing program we used.” This kind of positive first impression and almost instant feedback is an encouraging start to a new program. We had used a couple of different typing programs in the past and both of my older children knew the basics of typing, but they struggled with speed and accuracy. Despite the other programs and practice they both started UltraKey typing at about nine words per minute.
My initial thoughts on the program were that it was fairly simple to set up and I liked how well the reports recorded their progress. I also really liked that instead of doing a lesson and moving on to the next one without mastery; they had to pass a skill check at the end of each lesson. My daughter had a little bit of confusion when she took the original placement assessment, but it was very simple for her to repeat it and get a more accurate result. As they went through they could see the improvement easily on the reports that were shown after each skill check. This was very motivational for them.
They also found that after a few weeks they could tell a difference in their typing for other schoolwork. Seeing how it made their other typing more efficient was great reinforcement for them to keep working hard and progressing through the program.As we have been working on research papers and magazine articles for their Junior Historians program this month they have been able to tell a difference in their typing and it has made that work much more enjoyable. While I still occasionally have to remind them about proper keyboarding technique, I have noticed that they do a much better job of transferring the technique over to other computer activities than they have when we worked on keyboarding in the past.
There are twelve lessons that break the keyboard down into portions and build onto each other. Starting with the home row keys they progress through the letters and then the last three lessons incorporate numbers.
Another feature that made this program stick out above some of the other keyboarding programs that we have tried in the past is that after you master the letters it goes on to incorporate numbers and basic symbols. These are an important part of keyboarding skills but are often left out of programs. Both of my children that tried this program have finished up one round and earned their ‘diploma’. My daughter went from nine words per minute to fifteen words per minute and 94% accuracy. My son also went from nine to fifteen and his accuracy was 90%.
They are excited to go through the program again with a higher speed goal. We are hoping that by going through the program once or twice more they can get to a comfortable 25 or 30 words per minute. This extra speed and comfort combined with high accuracy rates will be very beneficial as they do other computer work including research papers and projects.
During our time working through this program we had one small computer glitch that caused a problem with my daughter being able to finish one of her lessons. I was very impressed with how quickly their customer service responded to my question. It ended up just being a random computer glitch that was solved by logging out and back in but they responded to my email very quickly and were quite helpful.
Overall, I was really impressed with this program. It is reasonably priced at only $29.95 per year for three students (they also have five and eight student packages). The customer service was excellent, the reports were informative and easy to read, and with-in the month that we used it I was able to see significant progress in both of my students. This program is beneficial both to students new to keyboarding skills and to those who just want to increase speed and accuracy. If you have any questions about the program I encourage you to ask me in the comments or contact their customer support team.
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