It’s always struck me as amusing that the latest 21st-century technology is so dependent on a 19th-century skill – typing. No matter how fast your computer or internet connection, your productivity is often limited by how fast you can write or enter data using your keyboard.
Still hunting and pecking? You can still learn to type for real. For free. Courtesy of the internet, of course. Here are 5 programs that will teach your fingers to dance across the keys.
Typing.com — The practice mode allows you to identify your weaknesses, which can then be addressed in a targeted way. You can even focus on specific letter keys. As you exercise, the program shows which fingers should be hitting your problem keys. Typing.com also features some fun games, including one similar to the popular Fruit Ninja app.
Sense-Lang.org — In addition to lots of lessons and tutorials, this site offers some cool testing options. For example, you can set a words-per-minute goal and watch your progress towards that mark. The BBC News option allows you to test your speed by typing up actual news stories.
BBC Dance Mat Typing — This site is perfect for kids or even adult beginners. There are four levels of teaching games, starting with the home row. Each level builds on previous lessons adding new letters as you go. There’s a test (and a reward) at the end of each level.
10FastFingers.com – Start by taking a test to determine your skill level. When you feel ready, you can join a typing tournament that pits you against opponents around the world.
TypingKaraoke.com — Ready for a real keyboard challenge? This site tests and hones your skills by asking you to listen to pop songs and transcribe the lyrics. Songs like “Call Me, Maybe” play at a fast clip, making it quite the accomplishment to finish every line correctly. It’s difficult, but a fun change of pace from transcribing random letters and paragraphs.
My research consistently shows that the happiest retirees are always engaged in mastering new hobbies and abilities. And there is irrefutable proof that learning complex new skills as we age helps keep our minds nimble. So, if you didn’t learn to type in high school, maybe now is the time to set your fingertips dancing.