|★ APPLICATIONS ★ BUREAUTIQUE ★ TYPING TUTOR|8000PLUS) ★|
|Typing Tutor||Applications Bureautique|
Typing fast is a very valuable skill that's well worth developing, Quite apart from budding secretaries, as more and more jobs involve the use of computers you will find that quoting a typing speed on your curriculum vitae can be a useful fillip. There are several typing tutor packages already on the market - two programs from lansyst (a beginners course and an improvers course) and Touch 'n' Go from Caxton - so what can a new one offer?
Computer One s tutor is aimed at the typing novice rather than the amateur who can already ‘*get by” and wants to improve. Where this tutor scores is that it has been written specially for the Amstrad PCW machines. This means that it is able to use the PCW's screen size and graphics capabilities to the full, and it certainly does.
Unusually for a typing tutor. Computer One's comes with a decent sized (f 4-page) user guide that actually provides useful information. Read it before you start typing, and it talks about the correct typing position, like seat height and lighting conditions. It's good to see the importance of these factors recognised, since getting them wrong will be a severe barrier to typing proficiency.
When you do start, after several screens of introductory blurb you are introduced to the "home keys" where your fingers normally rest. Subsequent lessons take you through the keyboard in pairs of keys and go through traditional exercises to reinforce each key pair before moving on to the next fingerwork.
The exercise screen is informative but not cluttered. There is a full keyboard diagram to get you out of the habit of looking down at the keys as you type - it includes an overlayed diagram showing which fingers you ought to be using to get to the keys. The practice phrases appear on a single line at the bottom of the screen .and the top of the screen shows your performance and targets in words per minute and your error rate.
Although the Computer One tutor has a regimented series of lessons introducing keys in a set order, you can override the ordinary sequence and dot around as you want. This is necessary as you get better and want to concentrate on particular weaknesses. You select the lesson you want by a menu and the cursor up/down and [ENTER] keys beloved of LocoScript users.
Letter drills can get pretty boring after a while, but it's not all work and no play. An addictive hangman game comes as an extra package, which provides light relief and sharpens up your speed.
You choose a typing skill level in words per minute. A sentence appears on the right of the screen and works its way over to the left, at a speed dependent on the skill level you chose. If the challenge sentence reaches the “lose” mark, or you make too many errors, another piece of the gallows goes up. If you type fast enough to get to the "win” markt youVe saved your man, It's a nice extra to the typing tutor, but purists would say that there is no attempt in it to encourage good habits.
Overall I was very impressed with the Computer One Typing Tutor It makes an effort to be interesting as well as instructive. There are, however, a few negative points:
First, the grapical presentation might not be everyone s cup of tea - some people find it distracting.
Second, there is a lot of explanatory text and "press space bar to continue” jive, which gets annoying after the first time around - there ought to be a way of speeding up the blurb for experienced users.
Finally, by its nature it is a beginners program designed to teach typing from very basics - if you are a competent two finger typist wanting to improve, you won't want your speed to drop while you relearn. In this case you might prefer lansyst's Two Fingers to Touch Typing Conversion Course, even though its name sounds like an incitement to breach the peace.