CyberSlate provides you the best introduction to keyboarding, because our exclusive Finger Guides nudge your fingers into using the correct keys. For instructions on how to attach the Guides, click Finger Guide Installation. There are four beginning Keyboarding exercises, Keyboard Finger Trainer, Typing Words, Home Stretch, and Typing Sentences.
Keyboard Finger Trainer teaches you the correct fingers to use to touch type the alphabet. Touch typing is the fastest and most efficient typing method on QWERTY keyboards. All of your fingers are used, and no two fingers do the same job. By learning this method, your fingers will remember spellings and tell you when you make mistakes!!
Trainer begins with just 6 keys: abc on the left hand, and jkl on the right hand. Finger trainer color codes the finger and letters for your help. You type these letters with the correct fingers over and over in i minute fluencies until CyberSlate decides you know them and passes you to the next level, in which one more letter is introduced to each hand. Always use the correct fingering! Here are the first lines of a “poem” that will help you remember those fingers:
Stretch Index down for the b!
Middle finger c!
All in a row, index finger j,
middle finger k,
and ring finger l.
Type these six keys over and over with the correct fingers. If you wish to practice before you try a one-minute session, click the Practice button that is above the grid on the right. When you are ready to time yourself for a minute, click “Time Me!” You will hear a “charge” tune, and the clock will start to count down the seconds. Begin typing “a ,b, c, j, k, l.” over and over.
At the end of the minute, a tone will sound, and the “Finished” Panel will tell you your Rank (Novice) and Skill Level, your correct keystrokes, and your Learning Opportunities. It will also report the number of Sessions, whether you passed a Skill Level, and how many points you earned. (You must pass each Skill Level twice to move to a more advanced Skill). The panel also reports your Passing speed in keystrokes per minute, and your aim (how many correct keystrokes per minute, and how few learning opportunities.) You have a choice of three buttons which allow you to view the updated chart, repeat the exercises, or return to the menu.
Keyboard Finger Trainer will not let you put an incorrect letter in a box, so you must type each correct letter in order, and if you make a mistake, fix it before you go on. As you advance through the levels, ask a helper to say this poem out loud (or memorize it and say it yourself.) Always use the finger guides and the correct fingers when you practice any of the keyboarding exercises. This may slow you down at first, but it will prevent your developing bad habits. In learning, bad habits are very difficult to break – they slow down progress more than anything except practicing!!
Typing Words: This fluency presents you two words separated by a space. Type the first word and check it, then press the space bar with your thumb. You may correct a word as long as the cursor is flashing inside the word – so do not press the space bar until you have checked that your newly-typed word is correct. Type the words as many times as you can in a minute, using the correct fingers. The first levels are all home keys. In more advanced levels, you apply the stretches you have learned to use for each finger. Always bring your fingers back to the home keys. There are 25 levels in Typing Words. When you pass all the levels as Novice, you graduate to the rank of “User.” CyberSlate returns you to the first level and you must pass each level at a higher rate.
Home Stretch: In touch-typing, every finger is responsible for pressing several keys. Your middle fingers move up and down, while your Index and Pinkie also move out to the side to press several keys. Home Stretch presents you three letter combinations that let you practice stretching each finger to its “other” keys.
Home Stretch has 20 levels, and like all of the other exercises, you pass into the next Rank, and review all of the combinations at a higher passing rate.
Typing Sentences presents sentences on the screen just above your typing area. The sentences gradually become more complex, until the final level is the sentence that contain every letter of the alphabet: “A quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.“ This exercise is the best indicator of typing progress, since it includes all of the letters. Once you have passed two ranks to become a “Pro”, you are ready to try the more advanced Typing Fluencies.
Most students who practice these four exercises twice daily for five months achieve a level of more than 25 words per minute with fewer than 4 errors. Longer daily practice sessions accelerate acquisition, but only when daily practice is maintained.