Ainsworth Keyboard Trainer helps people learn to type automatically without looking at their hands or the keyboard. When people don't have to think about keys, they can think about what they want to communicate.
Being able to type without making errors or thinking about the process of typing allows people to write easily and well. This skill transforms a person's computer into a useful tool when previously it was a pain in the neck.
The best guide to using our software is to try the demo programs yourself. To see how a student might approach the lessons, select either the keyboard numbers or symbols and try a few lessons yourself. Note that lessons for the keys you know will go by quickly, while lessons for any keys you don't type automatically will expand just enough to improve your skills. When you try a few Prescription Drills, you will see how the software detects your slower keys and improves your typing speed and accuracy after several of these focused practice sessions.
There is no preset sequence for using the several components in our software. If you begin with Alphabet Keys Lessons, you will automatically create a quick refresher, or a complete course, depending on your familiarity with the keyboard. You can then move on to the Prescription Drills and other components to improve speed and accuracy. With this process, you will see how the program customizes itself, depending on each individual's unique capabilities.
Ten finger typing with computer-generated lessons
Select Lessons and Alphabet Keys to begin. The lessons are individually adjusted for each person. If someone already knows how to type, the lessons will go by very quickly, as the software verifies that he is typing each key correctly, and, in this case, Ainsworth Keyboard Trainer serves as a refresher course. In a more usual situation, the program simply continues creating lessons for each key until that key is learned, and then introduces a new key automatically. There is no set speed that is required to move through the lessons. People with special needs, arthritis, etc. will progress more slowly, but at a pace that is completely comfortable for them.
Evaluating the Progress Graph
The bars in the Progress Graph show the relative efficiency of each key. The height of each bar reflects a calculation that combines both speed and accuracy, and is adjusted to compensate for each key's position on the keyboard. The height of each bar indicates how closely the student's typing approximates the typing skills of an experienced writer for each of the keys. A reading of 100% on all keys, for example, would show that this student is typing very fast, with absolutely no hesitation on any key, and is not looking at the keyboard or visualizing any of the keys. A graph that is relatively "flat" would show that all keys are being typed with the same relative efficiency, and the overall height would indicate the speed. When one or more bars in the graph are significantly lower than the others, the student is hesitating when typing these particular keys. In the Prescription Drills, these slower keys are detected and emphasized automatically.
Burst typing with Type-Oh!
Select Type-Oh! and Alphabet Words. If any lessons have been completed, select Lesson keys to practice the keys that have been learned so far. The Type-Oh! game is specifically designed to promote burst typing, or typing at highest speed with rest intervals. This is precisely the pattern a person will use when composing text. The games may be used as an option at any time in the lessons for additional practice or just for fun. Although Type-Oh! may be limited to keys already learned by selecting Lesson keys only as soon as even one lesson is completed, it is more fun to use the game after the "E" and "I" keys have been learned because there are enough letters to create many real words.
Focused practice with Prescription Drills
After the alphabet keys have been mastered by completing all of the Alphabet Keys Lessons, select Prescription Drills to eliminate hesitations and the tendency to glance at the keyboard while typing. Standard drill and practice sessions are boring and inefficient. Our focused learning with the Prescription Drills is very different and will quickly improve both speed and accuracy by detecting and eliminating problem keys.
Typing sentences with punctuation and shift keys
Select Lessons and Punctuation to move from typing the alphabet to creating complete sentences. Your students will only have to master the first few lessons in the Punctuation section before they will be able to actually use the keyboard effectively. You can alternate lessons and games in all of the four lesson categories for additional practice.
Composing at the keyboard with the Ainsworth Conversation Piece
Select Conversation Piece when your students are able to type complete sentences, including capital letters and punctuation. The real payoff for learning to type is finding out that writing is much easier, faster, and considerably more focused. Conversation Piece makes it easy to shift from simply copying to creating original text.
Writing for real with the Ainsworth Writer
Select Ainsworth Writer to let your students create and print their own original text. The built-in instructions make it easy to create personal documents without having to learn "word processing" and all the complexities of a full-featured word processing program. The brief writing course (included under Help) actually does help people learn the value of quickly expressing ideas on screen, editing and polishing their work, and other advantages of using a computer as an effective writing tool.
Evaluating skills with Typing Tester
Select either Word Processing Tests or Basic Skills Tests with the Keyboard Trainer to get automatic and accurate skills assessment. Don't overlook the incredible flexibility you can achieve with the Word Processing Tests if you choose to replace the standard test materials with your own text. For details on the process for doing this, see Custom tests - Keyboard. The Basic Skills Tests are generated by the program and create an endless source of tests or practice sessions that never repeat.
The Best Performance Index is a valuable tool you can use to help students focus on how well they are performing -- instead of just counting mistakes. We created this special performance evaluation method to give you an additional means for assessing and documenting progress. Most of our industrial clients use the Best Performance Index exclusively in evaluating skills. If you wish, you many no use this measurement technology in your classrooms as well. Best Performance Index scores are included in all our evaluations and test reports.
Testing is actually a continuous process within the program itself. The current state of each on-screen speed and accuracy display shows each student's progress at a glance. The more formal testing with the Basic Skills Tests may be added as soon as the alphabet keys are learned. The Word Processing Tests can be used as soon as the student types both the alphabet and the Shift and beginning punctuation keys.
Improving speed and accuracy
Both Prescription Drills and Type-Oh! games are valuable assets for improving keyboarding performance. We carefully monitor individual keys in both the drills and the games to detect slow keys or slow key combinations and other problems. Whenever the Prescription Drills are selected, this performance data from both drills and games is used to create focused practice sessions. You can add practice sessions with the games at any point in the lessons. The Prescription Drills can provide focused practice on the slower keys as soon as the alphabet keys have been learned.
We consider Number Keys Lessons and Symbols Lessons options because they are not essential to the primary keyboarding goal of effective writing. These additional lessons may be introduced as enrichment, or included in the course requirements, as you wish. The full spectrum of game options, using all keys and not limited to the lesson keys alone, also offers a powerful incentive -- especially if you collect and post the highest game scores.
Special considerations, instructor overrides, and options
The most useful option is your ability to introduce your own testing materials in the Word Processing Tests section. Up to eight custom tests or practice sessions may be displayed automatically on the student menus, using this technique. You can override the lesson selections with the F2 and F3 keys which automatically adjust the current lessons. You can also eliminate this feature, if necessary, using the Ainsworth Keyboard Options.exe program to adjust system variables. Other variables you can adjust with this program are the game sound effects and the inclusion of the Ainsworth Writer, Conversation Piece, and documentation on the student menus. See Custom configurations - Keyboard for details.
The Keyboard Manager a very effective tool for observing both individual and class performance.If you wish to create a permanent record or archive class or individual reports, you can save the appropriate history files in a separate location for viewing at a later date. The Keyboard Manager program will then allow you to review these reports at any time.
Sooner or later you will want to delete the individual history files of students who have finished the course. Our program does not delete files, so you have complete control over this removal process. You can even remove or update our programs without changing the status of this report information. Before deleting files at the conclusion of a class, you may wish to save these history files in a separate location for viewing or analysis at a later date.
Our software eliminates the six major reasons students look at their hands while typing. If you haven't seen our section on Features, be sure to check this carefully to see how we address and solve the major problems that affect people who are learning to type. These exclusive innovations are our latest contributions to the technology of typing instruction.
The Kid's Guide to Social Action by Barbara A. Lewis is an excellent resource for developing class projects designed to improve communication skills by writing letters, typing reports, and preparing work for other classes. Cross-discipline projects with English, history, science, business, or social studies classes can be developed to help people learn to research, interview, develop social skills, and write clearly.
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