Single handed typing tutor and instruction – for free.
Doorwayonline.org.uk is a website from a Scottish charity called the Doorway Accessible Software Trust. It consists of a number of free software programs designed for literacy and numeracy development and also, an online typing tutor designed specifically for individuals who would like to learn to touch type on a Full Qwerty keyboard (Upper case, UK layout) with either their left or right hand.
A number of other programs such as the Lilly Walter’s program (www.aboutonehandtyping.com/downloads.html) and Five Finger Typist (www.typeonehand.com) also do this but this website has a significant difference in that the software is provided free of charge for users.
It has a number of features which should be noted before beginning to use this program;
1. It can be customised for individuals with a visual impairment with options to increase the keyboard size to full screen, increase the individual font size, add voice feedback for key hits and use alternative highlighting options for keys.
2. It offers two different home row locations for both Left and Right hand users. This can be useful if one position was more comfortable over the other but it can present some challenging positions for smaller hands
3. There’s no option to save or record your progress – a feature in most typing tutors. The program is split into 56 lessons which requires the user to remember their previous point when returning to their work.
4. Mouse control is required to activate a number of the options and also when setting it up – every time.
5. It has a simple clean look to it consisting of a white background and various coloured keys.
6. It contains no information on safe access to keyboarding for typists and offers no detail about available posture supports or alternative keyboards.
To begin with your typing programme;
• Navigate to www.doorwayonline.org.uk in your web Browser
• Select Typing and Touch Typing from the list.
• Select Single Handed Typing. Note that this area also contains instruction for a two handed touch-handed typing tutor as well!
• Click on the Enter option to start and customise your preferred layout
There’s a little instruction on how to work with the program available from www.doorwayonline.org.uk/docs/single_handed_typing/shtyping_notes.pdf and the program itself contains instruction on how to activate Sticky Keys support for both Windows and Mac users.
The program consists of 56 lessons divided into core areas of work such as;
• Home Row (4 levels)
• Letters (16 levels)
• Symbols, words and then sentences.
Lessons vary in length/duration .
Finally, it is important to note that this software does not provide any extra information on what alternative keyboards are available or on the appropriate posture related supports for single handed typists. These are crucial areas which can significantly enhance a user’s keyboard access in a safe manner and should be explored before beginning any journey in learning to touch-type.