UltraKey 6 is innovative typing software that has been carefully developed and honed for nearly 30 years. This unique, success-based typing program helps children develop touch-typing fluency through proper ergonomics instruction, accuracy building and speed training. UltraKey is widely used in schools, libraries and universities across North America. The program earns our TopTenREVIEWS Silver Award among typing for kids software because it provides unmatched progress reporting, excellent usability and effective typing training for children of all ages.
UltraKey differs from most of the kids' typing programs on our lineup in that it is success based rather than game based. This means that the software uses encouragement, goal setting and praise instead of games or rewards to motivate new typists. While it may seem like this approach would be counterproductive with children, it's proven to be just as effective as a reward-based system. As children make their way through UltraKey, the program frequently celebrates their typing success (such as achieving a new accuracy percentage), which in turn can keep children energized and motivated while learning how to type.
UltraKey includes 14 typing lessons for kids. While this is not as many lessons as some other kids' typing software we reviewed, this program is no less comprehensive. Each lesson focuses on a specific group of keys and includes dozens of typing exercises. The lessons help children (and adults) build accurate keystroke memory so that they can graduate from conscious, single keystrokes to fluent touch-typing. The software does this by teaching your child to automatically process letter chains and words, rather than individual letters.
This application places a strong emphasis on learning proper typing technique and typing accuracy. This is notable because many typing programs for kids primarily focus on speed. UltraKey emphasizes that once a child masters correct typing posture and attains fluent keystroke memory, typing speed will come naturally and will improve with practice.
The program is adaptive and allows children to progress at their own pace. Every user takes an initial skills assessment when they first start the program to determine their current typing level. The software recommends lessons and performance goals based on those results.
Some potential users may view UltraKey's lack of typing games for kids as a serious drawback. However, our experience using the software illustrated that the program's lack of games does not hinder its effectiveness. UltraKey also offers instructions in the help section on how to make a typing game out of the program's practice typing forum.
UltraKey offers excellent progress reporting. In fact, the depth and extensiveness of its progress tracking outshines most of the comparable programs we reviewed. At the end of each typing exercise, the software highlights your child's typing errors. Not only does the program display the total number of errors, but it also lists the number of wrong keys, missed keys and incorrectly inserted keys. The software makes it easy for kids to see which types of errors they made by using a different color to highlight each type. This reporting feature is notable because it is unique to UltraKey and can help you better diagnose your child's trouble spots.
UltraKey also provides cumulative progress reports. The report details children's performance by key, as well their adjusted words-per-minute (WPM) rate and accuracy percentage. The reports aren't in a very easy-to-read format, so you may need to help your little one understand the results.
UltraKey allows up to eight individual logins under a single license, which is more than any other kids' typing program we reviewed. This makes the application ideal for use among families, homeschoolers or small school groups. There is also a network version that's apt for larger groups, such as school districts.
While UltraKey is designed for beginner typists of all ages, the application boasts a number of features that make it especially fitting for children who are learning how to touch-type. To begin with, the software has keystroke sounds for both correct and incorrect keystrokes. These can help children develop keystroke memory and improve their typing accuracy. The typing for kids software also has adjustable challenge levels, auto-save and guide hands that hover over a virtual keyboard. When a child makes a mistake during an exercise, the guide hands come to life and show them the proper finger movement for that particular key or set of keystrokes.
We particularly like the customization options of this children's typing program. UltraKey understands that children can vary greatly in terms of intelligence, maturity and learning style. Thus, the software offers a wide range of personalization options so that you can tailor the program for a particular child's needs. For example, UltraKey offers 12 different interface themes, which include some designed for special-needs kids. You can also input specific performance goals for your child to work toward and customize the font and size of the text used in the application. If you have a child who needs to work on specific typing skills, you can create your own custom typing lessons and tests.
Although UltraKey is not exclusively kids' typing software, it is remarkably easy to use and navigate; even young children will have no problem using the software. In fact, the manufacturer states that children as young as six can effectively use the program. The intuitive layout enables straightforward navigation, and the bright colors and virtual typing tutor (an animated character) will appeal to children. We also like that the program displays words of encouragement at the end of each typing exercise, which is an important component in the program's success-based methodology.
UltraKey comes with an abundance of support resources. Perhaps most notable is the application's built-in video tutorials. These cover important keyboarding essentials and add a fun, interactive element to your child's learning. There is also a user manual and a built-in help section where you can learn more about the various functions within the program. The program even includes a manager's guide for parents, teachers and school administrators.
Some people may mistakenly write off this typing software for kids simply because it doesn't have the breadth of typing games found in similar programs – much to their own detriment. UltraKey delivers effective yet engaging instruction that adapts to children's typing levels and learning styles.
UltraKey focuses on developing children's accuracy and keystroke memory through success-based instruction. The application distinguishes between types of typing errors to more accurately pinpoint trouble areas.
Some people may consider its lack of typing games to be a drawback, but it doesn't impede the program's effectiveness.
Outshining most of the competition in terms of program efficacy and reporting, UltraKey is fantastic kids' typing software for young typists of any age.