Four great posts came across my reader this week that I thought I’d share. The first is an Albert Einstein archive that houses over 81,000 Einstein and Einstein-related archival items: writings, professional & personal correspondence. Second is a great post written by fellow Singapore Tech Specialist, Colin Gallagher, all about implementing Minecraft in the elementary school. The third item is a great new keyboarding resource for kids and adult learners. Lastly, a new infographic tool from Intel that allows you to create a personal infographic about yourself highlighting your social media uses (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube).
I’ve written a lot about keyboarding sites for kids, and here is another great resource to add to that list. Typing Club is one of the best and most robust free programs to come along in a while. There is a teacher portal(beta) which lets you manage multiple classes, students, and keep track of progress.
A while back, I wrote about a website called Virtual Piano, a site that allows you to play a virtual piano using key-combinations on your computer keyboard. The beta version was fairly limited and I hoped that when they rolled out of Beta, some changes would occur that would focus more on some computer keyboarding skills.
The new version Virtual Piano is here and there are some nice changes that have taken place. There are a lot more song choices that guide you on songs such as Für Elise, Imagine, The Godfather, and more. The keyboard now has a key assist feature that places the corresponding letter/number on the piano keyboard. This allows the user to create songs much easier.
While obviously not a typing program, Virtual Piano is a nice site for students to use occasionally to practice their keyboarding skills. Music teachers may want to use Virtual Piano to teach rhythm, patterns, melody, etc. Virtual Piano also has an on-going competition. Below is the winner from March, 2010:
Looking for something fun for the kids, yet educational – not just a time killer? I recently had some students test out Typershark. Each of my students did a search for Typer Shark and located the site: www.popcapgames.com. I then instructed them how to download the free trial version which took less than 5 minutes and they were off.
The free download gives you 60 minutes of trial time and then it costs $6.95 to purchase the full version. One thing I can’t figure out is why did they create the letters that you are supposed to type with all caps? This doesn’t really help the user with the shift key.
The students really got into the game and it held their interest quite readily. With its ocean diving theme and constant threat of sharks coming at the diver, the user must type the letters on the screen quickly and accurately in order to progress to deeper levels. While not as robust as Mavis Beacon and not as flexible as Custom Typing, Typershark is a solid program that will help students become more proficient keyboarders.