Thanks to a post by Christopher Dawson I found this typing tutor program for younger children at the BBC web site. It looks like something students would have some fun with. Few schools seem to teach touch typing anymore. When I was a student it was mostly a high school course but my Dad sent my brother and I to secretarial school while we were still in middle school. Dad thought that typing was an essential skill for students and while he was (and is) a pretty quick hunt and peck typeset he wanted us to have an advantage in speed and accuracy. So for a month we two little middle school boys were in a class with a bunch of “older women” who were probably no more than 19-20 but were intimidating to us. :-) But I have to say that time paid off in spades for both of us. We’ve used that skill though school up through the graduate level and in work far more than we ever anticipated back in the late 1960s.
Clearly typing is an important skill in today’s world. It’s important in work and important in school. Since we expect students to use computers more and more at younger and younger ages it makes sense for them to learn to touch type early. I’ve read several articles that say that third grade is about the youngest for touch typing though. Before that hands are just too small and bad habits will be learned to adapt for that. But I have seen third and fourth graders (and up) really have a good time learning to touch type in the right environments. Making it a game and using cute, colorful characters as this tutorial does seems like the way to go. There is no reason in the world that learning shouldn’t also be fun.
BTW the BBC site also has some worksheets and the like that can be printed out and used offline.
[Edit: Late breaking news. Hilary has an example of a Popfly typing game called Type Type Revolution on her blog. ]