Ultrakey Online – A Typing Tutor for Students and Teachers
Ultrakey is a comprehensive typing tutor for everyone: students, teachers, individuals, adults and companies. Eight year olds and eighty year olds will all benefit.
When you are looking for special software to use with your literacy students, there are a few well-recognized programs that you can choose from. One product that often stands out is Ultrakey Online, a comprehensive tutor created by Bytes of Learning.
Learning Disabilities Online highly recommends this program as it was built with learning disabled students in mind. The following post is a review of Ultrakey Online and its features, various versions, pros and cons.
Ultrakey – Overview
Long history – Ultrakey is certainly one of the most top-rated typing tutors on the market. For almost 30 years, this program has been developed with literacy students in mind, providing the best of the best when it comes to typing education.
Educational – Children can develop and hone their typing skills and abilities through this success based typing tutor. Students can work on their skills through the program various lessons on building typing accuracy, increasing the speed of their typing, and instructions on proper ergonomics.
Ultrakey Online – Standard FeaturesThe success of Ultrakey Online has prompted Bytes of Learning to customize the software in order to cater for the unique needs and budgets of a wide variety of users. Each of the different versions offer unique features that are specifically designed for individual users, for families, for businesses and for schools respectively.
This does not means that some users do not have access to all the main features of Ultrakey. Most of the features that related to learning how to type fast and accurately are standard to all the various versions. Important features of Ultrakey Online are:
Sound Instructional Design
Ultrakey was designed by educational experts and they sued the very latest techniques in learning technology. This is why it is so successful and popular: You may start of by making conscious and isolated keystrokes but before you know it you will find yourself typing fluidly, almost without thinking about the keys. The way in which Ultrakey will help you to advance from a complete novice to an accomplished typist is almost magical, but this is what excellent instructional design is all about.
When you first start using Ultrakey you will be asked to agree to a skills assessment. This will allow the program to personalize the lessons and exercises to suit your current level of skill and to lead you forward from there. This assessment will also help you to set realistic goals for yourself.
Back to Basics
Before you progress to the lessons, you will learn how to maintain the correct posture and how to place your fingers on the keyboard. This will help you to type comfortably and without injury for longer periods of time. This is an important part of the training. You will be surprised how many wrist and back injuries are directly ascribed to adopting the wrong posture when typing for long periods!
Clear, Precise Instructions
Every lesson start with a set of videos that clearly explain the objectives of the lesson and exactly how you will be achieving those objectives. As you tackle the exercises you can even have the content read out aloud to you.
Self-Paced and Personalized
Ultrakey Online lets you progress at your own pace. If you want to repeat a lesson or exercise, you can do so as many times as you wish. After each exercise or drill, you will receive feedback and recommendations on how to proceed. This means that you will never be out of your depth.
Additional Exercises and the Game Zone
If you feel that you need extra practice, you can access additional drills and exercises at any time. There is even a game zone specifically designed to encourage younger users to practice and hone their new skills in a fun and interactive way.
Highly Effective Interface
Ultrakey’s user interface is perhaps one of its strongest features. It is intuitive and no user, regardless of age or skill, should ever feel lost or unsure about how to proceed. You can change the interface in many ways and these changes are not just a matter of aesthetics. You can change the interface to suit your specific style of learning and your personal preferences. There are even interfaces specifically designed for users with disabilities, such as visual impairments.
Efficient use of Multimedia
Far too many educational programs use multimedia without any real purpose. In such cases the video, sound or animation actually becomes a distraction, not a teaching aid. Ultrakey’s use of graphics, video, sound and animation is purposeful and sensible. The media best suited to every specific task, lesson or exercise is used consistently and effectively.
Superior Management and Reporting Features
Every student and teacher / manager has access to Dashboard where they can keep track of the progress they or their students are making. (More about this in the discussion of the various versions.) Managers have access to the records and accounts of all the users but every individual user will only be able to see his or her own records and progress.
You will never be left in the lurch with Ultrakey. If you have questions or if you need help, support is always available. The Ultrakey website is a valuable source of information with an extensive FAQ section where you will most probably find the answer to your question. You can also contact them directly from their website. They have pledge to answer queries promptly and fully.
Ultrakey Online and PC Versions
1. Ultrakey Online Personal
This version is accessed online and meant for individuals that want to learn how to type. It boasts all the standard features listed above. The price is quite affordable and you will get full access to Ultrakey Online for one year.
There is no limit to the number of times you are allowed to take a specific lesson or tackle specific exercises. You can renew your license after a year. The software operates in any browser and on any operating system.
Since it is meant for a single user, you will only be able to open one single user account. If your needs change, you can always upgrade to a multi-user version. All upgrades to Ultrakey Online are also included and will be instantly available.
2. Ultrakey Online Family Subscription
If more than one member of your family wants to learn, then the Family version is for you. You can purchase a license for use by three, five or eight different users. Of course, each user can still access Ultrakey Online from a variety of different devices.
Subscriptions are valid for one year but you can always renew your subscription. With this version, one user can act as manager. This manager will have access to the records and accounts of all the other users for monitoring and reporting purposes. This benefit makes this version an excellent choice for those into home schooling.
3. Ultrakey Online School Subscription
This is the version most suitable for schools and companies. It is an extremely cost effective way in which to allow larger numbers of users to receive professional typing instruction.
The price is based upon the number of user accounts needed and the number of years for which these accounts must be valid. If the needs of your school or company changes, you can always purchase additional accounts. There is no limit to the number of users that can be licensed.
Dashboard – The Dashboard allows more than one manager account to be created. This makes things very easy for schools where different teachers will be supervision their classes. Each manager has access only to those student accounts registered under him / her.
Administration – Managers can generate a wide variety of reports on either individual users or even groups of users. Administrators can even import additional content for practice purposes. This is an extremely useful feature in learning environments where very specific terminology must be mastered.
A Multi-School adaptation is also available, where any number of schools can register as a group in order to ease administration and to save costs.
4. Ultrakey 6.0 Cloud (Desktop)
The Ultrakey 6.0 software can be downloaded but offers cloud features (see cloud concept below). Similar to the online editions, it does a very good job at separating the typing instruction into different sections.
- Finger positions
- Skill Quizzes and Tests
- Typing Forum
Posture – The first two sections, Posture and finger positions, serve as an introduction to the whole typing process, especially if the student is learning how to type for the first time. This section includes a special video of a person using the correct typing form and executing the correct posture for typing.
Lessons – The next session is the “Lessons” sections. This section is your typical set of training drills, except Ultrakey has found a fun twist to put on them. Ultrakey 6.0 actually will introduce the use of the ‘Enter’ or ‘Return’ key at the same instance that it introduces the keys on the home row. By doing this, Ultrakey 6.0 will have students get used to using the Enter key while they are practicing the other typing techniques that are currently learning.
Quizzes – After this section of the program is complete, students will then move on to “Skill Quizzes and Tests”. It is here that students will be able to check and solidify everything that they have learned in the Lessons section.
5. Ultrakey Offline (Desktop)
This is the ideal version for those that do not have constant or reliable access to the internet. The software is installed on a single device. You may want to keep the following in mind:
- This version will not give you access to automatic upgrades or online support.
- You will need at least limited internet access to initially download the software.
- There is also a family version available. This will allow you to install the software on up to three different machines for use by three different users.
- Please note: This version is not available for use by schools or companies.
6. Ultrakey Cloud Concept
There are still many schools and companies that use desktop versions of Ultrakey. The main drawback of the desktop version is that users cannot access their records when they are not on site.
This is where the Ultrakey Cloud Concept comes in. It allows users of desktop versions to store their records in the cloud and to access it from anywhere.
The Ultrakey Cloud Concept should not be confused with the normal Ultrakey Cloud. All the records of users that subscribe to any of the online versions are stored in the cloud anyway. The Cloud Concept is specifically meant for users of desktop versions that cannot upgrade to online versions.
Pros and Cons of Ultrakey Online
Pro 1: Affordable. Ultrakey Online offers all users, young and old, individuals, families, businesses and schools the opportunity to learn how to type at a surprising low price.
Pro 2: Highly Effective. User feedback and reviewers agree that Ultrakey does exactly what it promises to do: it will teach you how to type faster and more accurately for longer periods. It works.
Pro 3: Reputable Vendor. Bytes of Learning is a reputable developer that has earned its enviable reputation on the back of a number of award winning educational products. They do not take shortcuts.
Con: Not Enough Fun. Many educators argue that learning should be fun because it increases the motivation of the student. One or two reviewers have noted that the games in Ultrakey are very basic and really only suitable for young users.
Good to know: Also, the quality of the instructions and the user-face are not as high quality as in Typesy 2018. As a result, it could be difficult at times for students or teacher to navigate from screen to screen.
Suitable alternatives: It is always good to suggest some alternatives of similar quality. Apart from Typesy, this would be KAZ Typing and Mavis Beacon.
Ultrakey Online Review: The Verdict
General – If you need to learn how to type faster and more accurately, Ultrakey Online is for you. Yes, there are other typing programs that are also effective. For this reviewer, the sound educational approach taken in the design of Ultrakey is an impressive plus. Educational programs need to be based on sound educational principles and sadly, so many simply do not make the grade. Do I recommend Ultrakey: definitely.
For teachers – If you are a teacher looking for a smart solution for your students, we can recommended to put this tutor on your short list. Ultrakey Online is a pretty good solution for typing education, particularly because it can be used by students of all ages. The efficiency and education progress the program offers competes well with many free and premium programs available on the market.
Ultrakey 6.0 supports Mac and Windows operating systems. It ships with a license for 3 computers and up to 8 users. An interesting feature is still the Typing Forum. After a lesson, students will be directed to a “Typing Forum”, where they will be able to type whatever they would like in a Free Typing area. This section also includes some extra tests that the students can use to hone their typing skills and abilities.
Final Grade: ★★★★★☆ 5 stars (out of 6)
Further Reading: Keyboarding Online Activities
Website: View website.
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