Thursday, January 21, 2010

Improve your typing skills

I teach a weekly Internet course at the Warrenton and John Marshall branch libraries (a colleague teaches the courses at the Bealeton branch), and one thing that bogs down my students is a lack of any keyboarding skills. For some of the students (usually those of an older persuasion), they've had some basic experience using a typewriter, but a lot of the folks just never had to type/keyboard much in their job (or past jobs), had a "secretary who did all of that," etc.

One site that I ask people to go to for practice is Goodtyping.com. (The library system does not have typing software, i.e., Mavis Beacon, loaded on the public computers). While you have to register to use their online course, it's free and at least gets my students somewhat familiar with the keyboard. If you're not sure you want to sign up, they do offer you the ability to try it without registering. Once you try it, though, you'll probably want to go ahead and register to build your typing skills and keep track of your progress.

A few things to bear in mind are that (1) while the site is free, there are some advertisements and they do solicit donations and (2) there is no information on the company (or person) behind Goodtyping. While they say they only record data for statistical purposes, there is no privacy policy. You CAN create a "user name," what they call an "identifier" instead of your e-mail address if you want to sign in that way (you'll still need to create/remember a password). Because of some of the terminology used (i.e., "identifier" versus "user name,"), I suspect the site is run/programmed by an entity that's NOT based in the United States. So yes, the site is free, does the basics, but you get what you pay for.

Anyway, if you want to get more out of your Internet surfing, work on/practice your keyboarding skills with this free online course.

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