Knowledge Adventure's: Kid Keys 2.0

Article excerpt

Kid Keys strives to improve computer literacy and keyboarding skills for children ages 4-7. I also considered some of its games to be helpful in language development and beginning writing skills.

Activities are designed on four progressive levels, so the program is developmentally appropriate for new keyboarders as well as beginning keyboarders who need a challenge. After mastery of each level there is an opportunity to print a colorful, personalized certificate. The incorporation of music, color and animation addresses a variety of learning styles. I have used the program in my class for physically and mentally handicapped students, using the Intellikeys keyboard by Intelli-tools for easier access and visual discrimination. It has been very successful in helping students learn-the location of the letters on the keyboard.

Five doors in an onscreen castle offer various activities. Keystone Keyboard can be considered the introductory level. The letters, varied animation, and reinforcing procedures keep students interested and on task. Magic Mirrors introduces correct two-handed keyboarding, and reinforces correct key responses while encouraging correct form using a colorful, animated system. The music that is used in Dragon Tunes is quite entertaining and appropriate. One of my favorite activities was Mouse Chase, which teaches mouse skills. This activity was very challenging by the fourth level.

Kid Keys' format is easy to follow. Letters are presented in colorful, easy-to-see text. Animation varies to keep the interest of each individual learner. Because instructions are verbalized, it's ideal for nonreaders, letting them work independently and still understand what is expected. …

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