UltraKey is innovative typing software that has been carefully developed and honed for nearly 30 years. This unique, success-based typing for kids software 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 application 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 applications 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 is proven to be just as effective as a reward-based system.
As children make their way through UltraKey, the application 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. If your child really wants to play a typing game, UltraKey offers instructions in the help section on how to make a typing game out of the application's practice typing form.
UltraKey includes 14 typing lessons for kids. While this is not as many lessons as some other kids' typing software, this software 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 applications 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 application is adaptive and allows children to progress at their own pace. Every user takes an initial skills assessment when they first start the application to determine their current typing level. The software recommends lessons and performance goals based on those results.
UltraKey allows up to eight individual logins under a single license. This makes the application ideal for use by families, homeschoolers or small school groups. There is also a network version that is useful 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 start, the software has keystroke sounds for both correct and incorrect keystrokes. These can help children develop keystroke memory and improve their typing accuracy. This 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.
You get several options to customize this children's typing application. 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 application 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 lessons and typing tests.
Although UltraKey is not exclusively typing software for kids, 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 this application. The intuitive layout enables straightforward navigation, and the bright colors and virtual typing tutor (an animated character) will appeal to children.
The software displays words of encouragement at the end of each typing exercise, which is an important component in the application's success-based methodology.
UltraKey offers excellent progress reporting. In fact, the depth and extensiveness of its progress tracking outshines most of the comparable applications we reviewed. At the end of each typing exercise, the software highlights your child's typing errors. Not only does the application 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 are not in a very easy-to-read format, so you may need to help your youngster understand the results.
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 application. The application 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 does not have the breadth of typing games found in similar applications – 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 kinds of typing errors, which helps to correctly pinpoint trouble areas.
It lacks typing games that would add an element of fun for kids.
Outshining most of the competition in terms of application efficacy and reporting, UltraKey is fantastic kids' typing software for typists of any age.