Our TopTenREVIEWS Bronze Award recipient is Typing Instructor Platinum, an entertaining typing program that has a unique travel theme. As you learn to type, you travel virtually through different countries and eras, receiving stamps in your virtual passport as you complete lessons. While the software is feature packed and its travel concept makes for an interesting experience, this version of Typing Instructor is not as intuitive as other applications on our lineup. However, if engaging and interactive activities are what you need to stay motivated and focused, this may be the best typing software for you.
Typing Instructor Platinum contains several different typing plans, for students ranging from beginner to expert typist. The plans contain a combination of lessons, drills, typing tests and game challenges. Each lesson focuses on building keystroke memory, which is a fundamental component of proper touch-typing. This means that the software uses repetitive keystrokes and keystroke sequences to help you learn to automatically associate each finger with specific keys. As you develop proper finger-to-key memory, your typing speed and accuracy will improve.
To begin the program, you select a typing plan and then choose a virtual destination. The software offers three unique travel themes with 36 different destinations. Once you've selected a plan, the software displays which keys you will learn in the upcoming lesson. You then complete a drill, a speed-building and accuracy exercise, and a game based on those keys. Each lesson ends with a timed random-words test and a stamp in your virtual passport for the selected destination. The lessons are cumulative, which means that the skills taught build on previous lessons and become more difficult as you progress through the program.
This application also offers an arcade section with more than 30 typing games, which is more than any other application on our lineup of typing software. These are not only colorful and enjoyable, but they also provide beneficial keyboarding practice. Much like the software's lessons, these typing games are designed to further hone specific typing skills, including accuracy, speed, dexterity and rhythm.
Typing Instructor Platinum's training module is highly effective, but the software is missing a key element that could make it even more so: video instruction. When it comes to learning how to touch-type, video instruction can supplement computer activities and boost the overall effectiveness of the application, especially if you are a visual, interactive learner. That said, the lack of video instruction is hardly detrimental to this typing software, and we find its training curriculum to be excellent nonetheless.
Typing Instructor Platinum offers a number of worthwhile features that can make your typing instruction more effective and efficient. You can import or create your own practice text to use in the program. The software also has built-in music that helps you develop typing rhythm and speed, and your progress is always saved automatically so you don't ever risk losing your results.
One of the most impressive attributes of this typing software is its dynamic learning feature. As the software tracks your progress, it pinpoints any weak typing skill areas. Once identified, the program suggests lessons and exercises that will help you improve in those areas. This is valuable because it allows you to focus your efforts on the areas of your typing that need improvement the most.
This application is suitable for all ages and allows up to five separate users. The maximum number of users is not as many as other typing programs we reviewed allow, but it should be enough for families or other small user groups who want to collectively learn how to type. Typing Instructor Platinum is also available in multi-license versions that are ideal for schools and corporations.
In terms of usability, Typing Instructor Platinum isn't difficult to use per se, but we found that it lacks the intuitiveness and seamless navigation of other typing programs we reviewed. When you first launch this version of Typing Instructor, how to proceed isn't readily apparent. While the travel concept adds an engaging element to the application, it also slightly hinders the application's usability. Additionally, once you start a lesson, there is no way to pause it or navigate back to the main menu; you must stop the lesson and view the results before proceeding back to the main menu. This navigational design is cumbersome and inconvenient.
We suggest taking the product tour of the software. Once you spend a few minutes familiarizing yourself with the program and learning how it works, you should be able to navigate it without much difficulty.
Typing Instructor Platinum boasts versatile reporting capabilities, including accuracy and words-per-minute (WPM) results. Your progression through the program is tracked in six different ways, including by hand, finger and key. If you are performing poorly in one of these areas, you can repeat specific lessons that target that particular aspect of typing.
Typing Instructor Platinum offers flexible goal-setting options. Before you begin the program, you take an assessment test to ascertain your current WPM level. Once completed, the software will suggest typing goals based on your current skills, or you can simply input your own goals.
Typing Instructor Platinum offers most of the support resources we looked for in typing software, including an online FAQs section and product knowledgebase. You can reference both of these if you have a general question regarding the program. For more specific or technical inquiries, the software's manufacturer provides email and telephone support. The only support option it doesn't offer is tutorials, but the aforementioned product tour adequately demonstrates how the software works.
Its minor usability issues notwithstanding, Typing Instructor Platinum is great typing software. Its vast array of features will enhance your learning experience, and its comprehensive reporting options will help you get the most out of each lesson. Most notably, the program's distinct travel themes and typing games not only allow children to stay motivated and entertained while they learn how to type, but can be engaging for adults as well.
Typing Instructor Platinum offers dozens of fun typing games, an engaging travel theme and several progress reports that detail your advancement through the program.
You may need to spend a few minutes learning how the program is set up.
With its unique travel concept and more typing games than competing programs, Typing Instructor Platinum delivers motivation and unparalleled entertainment while you learn how to type.