With more and more work in class being done on electronic devices, typing is becoming a key skill. Left to their own devices, children can develop an idiosyncratic style which slows them down. Just like teaching an efficient handwriting method, teaching basic keyboard skills allows children to concentrate on content as typing becomes automatic. There are plenty of free resources on the web, and we have rounded up some of the best!
These sites fall into two types; those that teach keyboard skills and those that provide games for the children to practice. A useful approach is to use the teaching sites initially, then use the games sites for the children to consolidate and build speed.
Please note that some of these sites are flash based, so will not run on mobile devices.
Keyboard Skills sites
These sites all use a structured approach to teach skills in a logical sequence.
- Dance Mat Typing – This site is exactly the kind of quality you would expect to find on the BBC site. Perfect for Year 2 (6 years old) upwards, although upper KS2 (9-11 years old) might find it a little young for them, it walks the children through each stage with clear instructions. A great site to get them started before moving onto something a little more complex. There is no option to save progress. Best used with headphones. This site uses Adobe Flash.
- Typing.com – This site is great for complete beginners, with the keys broken down into small steps, allowing a good grounding and rapid movement through the exercises. The interface is clean and attractive and the graphics make it very clear where the fingers need to be placed. Suitable for use from Year 3 (7 years old) upwards. This site does not use Adobe Flash.
- Typing Class – There are no options to save progress here, but this simple site does have lots of lessons and the colour coded keyboard helps children to identify which finger goes where. Suitable for use with KS2 (7-11 years old). This site does not use Adobe Flash.
- Typing Club – A very attractively designed site that starts with very simple exercises. It is perfect for complete beginners, as it gives plenty of exercises for consolidation and introduces new keys slowly. Suitable for use with KS2 (7-11 years old). This site does not use Adobe Flash.
- Typing School – This very comprehensive site allows you to set up classes, track progress and set lessons, as well as giving feedback on accuracy. The interface is however clearly more aimed at adults than children and even the simple exercises are quite complex. A good choice for confident upper Key Stage 2 (9-11 years old) typists who are ready for something a little more formal. This site does not use Adobe Flash.
Schools with a subscription to Purple Mash can also access 2Type. This gives information about posture, a range of typing activities and games, instructional videos and a printable keyboard.
Typing Games sites
These sites are perfect for practising skills once children have become familiar with the correct finger placement. Unsurprisingly, they tend to feature sound effects so headphones are strongly recommended!
- Keyboard climber – A fun game for KS1 (5-7 years old) children to practice using individual keys. This site uses Adobe Flash.
- Free Typing games – Fun games for use with KS2 (7-11) including ghost, space and racing themed games to practice typing individual letters and words. This site does not use Adobe Flash.
- Nitro Type – This site allows your pupils to race as a guest or enter the typing competition. Good practice and very motivating for children who have good keyboard skills.Suitable for use in Key Stage 2 (9-11 years old).This site does not use Adobe Flash.
- Typing games – A huge site with over 50 typing games, suitable right across the primary age range. The site is also searchable, meaning you can find exactly what you need your pupils to practice! This site does not use Adobe Flash.
Have we missed any great typing tools? Let us know your favourites in the comments below.