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Reviews of Learn to Type Software

Typing Instructor Deluxe
from Individual Software

For Ages 10 and up

See also the Summary Rating Table for comparisons with other Typing software titles, and the SuperKids Buyers Guide for current market prices of the PC and Mac versions.



Reviewed on:
Typing Instructor Software Screen Shot Pentium166 with 32MB and a 12XCD

Description
Set in an airport terminal, Typing Instructor Deluxe offers everything from lessons and practice sessions to tests and progress reports. It allows the user to enter at any level, from beginner, lacking any previous typing experience or skill, to skilled touch typist. The program works with the user, finding his or her weaknesses and suggesting lessons, drills and games to strengthen and improve typing ability.

Lessons feature visuals of a computer keyboard and screen. Users view a brief video-tutorial, and are then asked to practice what has been taught. After each lesson the user is given the option of repeating the lesson, taking a typing test based on that lesson, trying one of the games or "Adventures" offered in the program, or moving on to the next section. Any lesson can be accessed at any time, however the program does suggest the appropriate next step. Results of each lesson, test or adventure are computed in words per minute, and easily viewed along with in-depth analyses identifying the user's strengths and weakness.

Five adventures are offered, varying from Cliffhanger, where speedy and accurate typing allows a rock climber to scale a cliff ahead of his or her opponent, to Tomb Typer, a more intricate game in which the user explores a tomb, typing words to navigate and to blast mummies and other unsavory creatures along the way, to Gone Fishin', in which the user rapidly types the numbers that appear under each fish to hook it, developing 10 key (numeric keypad) skills.

Ease of Install / Use
Although Typing Instructor Deluxe installed easily enough on Windows 95, it required the additional installation of a 'small fonts driver' that was not included on the disk, nor was it mentioned in the manual. A call to tech support and a simple display-setting change quickly circumvented the problem.

Typing Instructor Deluxe's User's Guide is a gold mine of information, not only for the user of the program, but for any interested typist. It includes extensive instructions detailing the program and how to achieve the best results from its use, as well as sections describing the creation of personal and business letters, the history of the typewriter, and typing trivia.

Educational Value
This program is well-organized and complete, taking the user from the basics of proper posture and positioning of hands, through mastery of the entire keyboard. The Magazine Rack section is an educational bonus, with a vast array of practice articles that are both interesting and informative. Another thoughtful addition is a section with relaxation and stress reduction exercises to do while working at the typewriter or computer.

One SuperKids parent reviewer commented that she was especially pleased with the vocabulary used in the programs' adventures. She found that her son "...was exposed to many unusual terms that he might not normally have encountered."

Kid Appeal
Although Typing Instructor Deluxe is not necessarily aimed at children, it can be used and enjoyed by Intermediate and High School students wanting to learn to type. The lessons themselves are easily completed, and the adventures, although simple in design, provide the user with an entertaining way to practice newfound skills.

Younger reviewers did find parts of the program distracting, however. Throughout the lessons section, hands appear to the left and right of the text screen demonstrating proper finger placements. Although this was helpful for beginning keyboarders, it drew users' attention away from the text, causing fumbling, mistakes, and subsequent frustration.

Best for... / Bottom-Line
This pleasant program is best for those who want to learn to type or to improve their typing skills without the frenetic pace or high-pressure of some typing programs.

Educational Value= 4.5/5, Kid Appeal = 3.5/5, Ease of Use = 4/5

See also the Summary Rating Table for comparisons with other Typing software titles, and the SuperKids Buyers Guide for current market prices of the PC and Mac versions.



Children's Software System Requirements


PC

Macintosh
Operating System Windows 3.1, Win95 not available
CPU Type and Speed 486 or faster
Hard Drive Space 5 MB
Memory (RAM) 8 MB
Graphics 256 color VGA or higher display
CD-ROM Speed 2X
Audio Sound card
Other Needs mouse; optional - modem

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