4/24/2014 By: Rebecca André
http://qwertytown.com • Retail Price: sliding scale $3-$5 per student, based on school and district size
QwertyTown is a Web-based keyboarding app that
teaches typing and online communication skills to
elementary and middle school students.
Quality and Effectiveness: QwertyTown
software effectively uses motivational gaming
elements, such as bronze, silver, and gold
awards, to encourage students to learn keyboarding skills.
Each student (and teacher) has an avatar that can be embellished
when earned awards are traded for avatar upgrades. The highly
structured lessons keep students focused and working toward mastery
a few keys at a time. QwertyTown includes a safe, teacher-controlled
environment for students to communicate via email and chat with
each other and the teacher during and outside of typing time.
Ease of Use: Teachers will find QwertyTown very easy to navigate.
Instructions and supporting materials are thorough enough to jump
right into using the software. Students will also find QwertyTown easy to
navigate; once begun, the highly structured lessons only allow one or two
choices, such as Try Again or Next. The software maintains records and
reports, allowing students to return to where they left off and allowing
teachers to get detailed data to monitor all facets of student progress.
Creative Use of Technology: I
appreciate QwertyTown’s diverse
avatars and the main guide’s
female voice. The somewhat slow
pace would be especially helpful for ESL
audiences. I like that a keyboard outline
is visible on the screen and shows correct
finger placement. The keyboard outline
disappears when the student begins to type, though, which
would also help fingers stay in correct position. Teachers can review
records easily and adjust WPM and accuracy levels.
Suitability for Use in a School Environment: The software can be
integrated into current curriculum with the introduction of keyboard
skills to first graders. Students must reach a certain level of WPM
and accuracy one step at a time, with no option to jump to the Level
Challenge, which may annoy more advanced students. Other caveats:
although teachers can disable Chat, Qmail, and Friends
functions, the Chatterbox, Friends, and Qmail icons remain
visible so students may request that they be turned on.
QwertyTown also uses Flash, so it is not available for iPads.
QwertyTown is customizable for grades 1-8 so teachers can
increase or decrease standards at every lesson and level.
• Teaches keyboarding and essential digital communication and
• Allows for differentiation through customizable performance
• Encourages students to retry short lessons to increase speed and
unique gaming elements
will motivate students to
increase their typing speed
and accuracy. Teachers will
appreciate the easy navigation,
customizable standards for
each level, and detailed
reports on students’