Ratatype offers free lessons to practice your keyboarding skills
These days, most of us type far more often than we write. Saying that, it is only in our best interest to type efficiently and more accurately in order to get more done in the time available. The easiest way in which to achieve this goal is to use a recognized keyboarding program.
There are quite a number of them, but Ratatype Online is not only free and coming with a modern looking interface, it also works. We have tried it out and tested features. Read our review here to see if it will suit you.
Ratatype – Overview Concept
Ratatype Online is a free typing tutor and unique in several ways. It effectively uses proven techniques to teach you how to touch type and how to maintain the correct posture.
What perhaps sets Ratatype apart from all the others is that it uses the concept of groups. Students are all part of specific groups that can interact with each other.
Lessons are bite size and include many practice sessions. You can test your typing speed at any time and compare your results against those of others.
Ratatype – Features and Highlights
It is free
It really is! There are no strings attached and no in-app purchases. (So many free educational programs are nothing but samples that require you to pay at some point to continue the training or to get access to advanced features.) You DO need to register, however. This is accomplished quickly and without fuss and you will not be asked to provide potentially sensitive private information.
It is clear that Ratatype has been designed by a team that understands the principles of modern curriculum design. The lessons are logical and they seamlessly flow from one lesson to the next. The exercises and typing tests are sensible, testing only those skills that you should have mastered at that stage. Immediate feedback allows you to identify areas that may need more practice.
Friendly, intuitive interface
Ratatype does not employ advanced graphics, video or animations in its lessons, but the layout is clear and easily understandable. You will never get lost. There are fifteen lessons and you can repeat any lesson as many times as you wish. The same is true for the exercises and you can even take the same typing test several times in order to improve on your previous score.
Ratatype is most certainly suitable for use by almost anybody, but it does not offer separate versions for schools, individuals or businesses. It is also only available online, which means that you need reliable access to the internet in order to use it. Because it is online and because all your records are stored in the cloud, you can use Ratatype anywhere and on any device. Surely a big plus for most users.
The Groups concept
Ratatype allows you as an individual, as a teacher or as a HR manager to create groups that learn to touch type together. This is how it works:
a. Quick and easy – It cannot be easier: you simply create the group, get a unique URL, send that URL to your friends, students or co-workers and ask them to join. That is it! You can now start to learn together. Note: you do not HAVE to be a member of a group in order to use Ratatype. You are perfectly entitled to use it on your own.
b. Interactive – This concept is significant because all members of a specific group can communicate with each other, thus providing mutual support and encouragement. It goes a long way towards helping students to avoid the isolation that they so often experience with online learning.
c. Benefits for schools – This concept is of particular importance to schools that cannot afford premium programs that require each student to be registered at a fee. Ratatype may not have all the bells and whistles offered by to-be paid-for tutors, but it is remarkably efficient in teaching you to touch type and this is really all that matters.
d. Limitless. – There is no limit to the number of groups that you can create. This means that different teachers at a specific school can each create and manage a group and it is even possible for a single teacher to create many separate groups. In businesses, different groups can be created for employees at different levels of skill.
e. Management – The creator of a group has access to all the records of the members of that group. They can monitor progress and view statistics on test results. Group managers can also communicate with individual students or the group as a whole.
No pressure here. Each student progresses at his own pace and only proceed when he is comfortable that he has achieved his goals with the previous lesson. He can learn and practice at any time and where ever he wants to. This does not mean that teachers, for example, cannot set goals for their classes, requiring members of the group to progress to a certain point within a specified time limit.
Each student has a separate record where statistics regarding progress, test results and log-in activities are kept. These statistics are available to each student privately but group managers have access to the records of every member of the group. Students can also share their statistics with others through Facebook, however. Records are kept in the cloud and can be accessed from anywhere.
Ratatype offers an email address through which you can ask any question or report a problem. They generally respond within 24 hours, often much quicker. If you are not a member of a group you can still interact with other students on Facebook. This is where you can share results, pose questions or ask for advice.
The typing test section is an important component of Ratatype. It allows you to test your level of proficiency at any time and to identify those areas that needs more practice. It works like this:
a. Short and sweet – Each test lasts only two to three minutes.
b. Uncomplicated – Tests consist of ordinary text with no complicated words or technical terminology included.
c. No limits – You can take a test whenever you want and even use the tests as practice sessions.
d. Results recorded – You will get immediate feedback after each test and your best score will be recorded. If you take a test and fail to improve on your previous score, it will not be recorded. Your feedback will tell you both your typing speed and your accuracy percentage.
e. Methodology – The text that you have to type is displayed on the screen and you have to copy it correctly. If you make an error, you have to correct it before you can continue to the next word.
f. Rewards. – When you achieve certain goals, you will be rewarded with a certificate that can be used as part of your CV. For a silver certificate you need to type 40 words per minute with an accuracy level of at least 96%. A speed of 50 words per minute and an accuracy of 97.8% will earn you a gold certificate and if you can achieve 70 words per minute with a 99.5% accuracy, you will get a platinum certificate. You can be earn as many certificates as you wish.
There is no pressure upon you to progress at a certain pace or to achieve specific goals within certain time limits, but you may wonder how you are doing when compared to other students. The High Scores section allows you to do just that.
Here you can see exactly what the top scores were today, during the past month, overall, or just in your own group. If you are competitive, you may strive towards featuring on this list. Teachers may use this feature to organize competitions and rewards, thereby motivating their learners to try harder.
Ratatype – Pros & Cons
Pro: It is free and it works very well.
Pro: The concept of Groups makes this one of the most versatile free typing tutors suitable for almost any environment and target group.
Pro: Extraordinarily easy to use.
Con: The simplified practice texts and the very basic language contained in the tests are not suitable to those working in an environment where more complicated language is used. The very short duration of tests is also a drawback: it hardly tests the ability of the student to type faster and more accurately over a prolonged period.
Alternatives – If you look for free alternatives to Ratatype you may want to consider Typing Master, All the Right Type, 10 Fast Fingers or Typing Cat. Those had also been proven to be updated consistently over the last few years.
Ratatype Review – The Verdict
Ratatype has received consistently favorable reviews from professionals in the educational field and users alike. There are more sophisticated typing tutors available, but they cost money.
However, it would be wrong to think that Ratatype is used only by those unable to buy other software packages. It is a highly efficient training program that has helped many thousands of people to learn how to type faster and more accurately.
Final verdict: recommended.
Have you used Ratatype? What is your experience? Please share your insights in the comments below.