In the past, if you were able to type fast, people would often look at you funny and think of you as someone who spends too much time in front of a PC. However, things have changed, and now, if you are able to type at speeds of over 80 words per minute, without looking at the keyboard, you will see that people look at you with admiration.
Most people now understand the amount of work needed to reach that level of typing. They are trying their best to reach such a high level too, often using educational software. The following is a review of Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing that offers customizable and educational training instructions for everyone.
Mavis Beacon – Overview
Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing still offers a unique option: customizable training. Unlike many other popular typing software, Mavis Beacon allows users to create a customized training plan that focuses on the areas where they need the most help.
Besides this, options present in Typesy or KAZ are also present here. Things such as goal setting, adaptive learning, and games, make an appearance here as well.
|Info & Rating|
|Success-based teaching instructions. GameZone. Videos tutorials. Family & Kids Versions. Mac OS | Windows.|
Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing – Versions & Features
Mavis Beacon is available in three different versions, all of them powered by Ultrakey v2. Each version makes provision for the unique needs of different target groups. They were designed by professional educational experts, using a success-based approach.
Progress is made step-by-step, with constant feedback and positive reinforcement. You set your own goals and achieve them one by one. Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing is suitable for users from age eight and upwards.
1. Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing – Personal Edition
This version is meant for a single user. It can be used with Windows or Mac operating systems. You can get the program as a download version or in DVD format. The software can be used on only one specific computer.
Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing believes that you will make significant progress in just 8 hours of training and practice. In order to achieve this, they follow a seven-step approach:
Set your personal goals – The success-based approach in Mavis Beacon requires you to actively pursue very specific goals. You will, therefore, start off your training by setting the level of achievement regarding speed and accuracy that you wish to attain. Once you have defined your goals, you can create a personalized training program that will guide you towards the achievement of those goals. You can even make changes to your training as you go along.
Learn good posture habits – You will be surprised to learn just how many people frequently suffer from sprains, back pain and aches related to long periods at a keyboard. It is therefore important to learn how to maintain a proper posture and how to place the hands accurately.
Practice your technique – Each lesson in Mavis Beacon uses video and interactive graphics to teach you how to touch type. Initially, the focus is on learning the finger names and the placement of the fingers on the home row. There is a total of 12 videos that provide clear and easy-to-understand instructions.
Learn new keys one stage at a time – A step-by-step approach is followed whereby you are gradually introduced to new keystrokes. You will also progress from typing single characters to pairs, to chains and then to words and complete sentences. Students quickly progress from studied, conscious keystrokes to a fluid style where they no longer consider each individual keystroke.
Build your skill by using it – Each lesson is concluded with a skills assessment in order to ensure that you are ready for the next step. Each assessment session is followed by comprehensive feedback and suggestions on those areas that may need some additional work.
Practice excellent typing – As you progress, you can use numerous tests and the Game Zone to practice and increase your skills. The importance of drills and practicing when learning to touch type cannot be overemphasized and Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing certainly does not skimp in this regard.
Celebrate your success – You will find that you have made definite progress with each lesson and each exercise. This will help to motivate you as you tackle the next challenge.
Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing boasts some unique features:
1. Self-paced. You decide how fast or how long you wish to train. You can repeat lessons at any time and you can take on the drills and exercises as many times as you want. You will always receive feedback after each exercise or drill.
2. User friendly. Mavis Beacon boasts an intuitive user interface that will ensure that you are never at a loss. You can make numerous changes to the interface to make provision for your personal preferences, age and learning style. There are 12 interface themes to choose from and each theme can be adapted separately.
3. Numerous skill checks. More than a hindered different skill checks will make sure that you have mastered your goals and that you are ready to move on. There are also numerous tests that can be used to hone your skills and techniques.
4. Six fun games. Younger users will especially enjoy the interactive games (Game Zone) that are specifically designed to help them practice newly acquired skills.
5. Support. The Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing website has an entire page dedicated to supporting on all issues related to the program. There is an extensive FAQ section where you most probably will find the answer to your question. Alternatively, you can enter your query on the website and they will get back to you as quick as they can.
2. Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing – Family Subscription
This version of Mavis Beacon offers the same teaching approach and it boasts the same features as the Personal Edition, with three notable exceptions:
Three Licenses – Regardless of whether you download the software or purchase it in DVD format, you can install the program on three different computers. Each installation can support only one user.
Management Tools – Family subscriptions include a management function that allows parents administer all the user accounts. You can manage up to eight different accounts, making this version ideal for those conducting homeschooling. It also comes with a parent guide.
Add Your Own Content – You can add additional content (up to 10 000 keystrokes) to create additional exercises. This is an excellent feature when users need to master terminology unique to a specific subject or field of study.
3. Mavis Beacon Keyboarding Kidz (Desktop Version)
Mavis Beacon for Kids is primarily aimed at younger users that wants to learn how to touch type or that simply want to improve their keyboard skills. It features two fun characters, Mavis and Dex.
They man a concession stand, but they struggle to cope. They need your help, but you will have to learn all the keys on the keyboard before you can do so. As you learn the keys, Mavis and Dex are there to help you along.
Here are the main features:
- More than 250 short keyboard lessons
- More than 200 practice topics
- 10 Fun games
- A detailed curriculum map
- Comprehensive progress tracking by individual keys
- Awards that can be printed
Mavis Beacon – What else? Good to Know
The only extra that Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing provides, is the customizable training plan. However, that is a very important extra, as it allows any user to tailor the program to specific needs. Weak points can easily be addressed this way, as users can add the exact exercises they want to work on, to a specific training program, and then start working on that without fear of getting sidetracked with other exercises.
No hardware compatibility issues have been reported so far with Mavis Beacon Typing, but this does not mean that they do not exist. It is compatible with Windows 10, 8, 7 and Macs as well, so whatever you have at home seems to be fine for this software. Unfortunately, there is no support for Linux systems yet.
Mavis Beacon Support
Support seems still to be a weak point with Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing, as there is no customized technical support via phone being offered by the producing company. There is a hotline on the website that can be used for pre-sales questions.
However, advanced users on forums are usually able to answer any question that is not answered in the FAQ.
C. Giguere has this to say: “I thought it was a fairly good product. It was easy and fun to use.”
A. Stein has this to say: “I recommend it as long as you’re willing to take your own responsibility in the ‘thinking’ part.”
Mavis Beacon – Pros and Cons
Pro: Reputable Vendor. Mavis Beacon has been around for more than 30 years and they have won many awards over this time. Many thousands of people have used this software and have learned to touch type. This is a testimony to the effectiveness of this training software in itself.
Pro: Solid Educational Design. The teaching method used is success-based and all the principles of modern educational design have been used properly. Media is used sensibly and it is easy to follow the flow of training. Constant feedback helps to keep students motivated and the step-by-step approach ensures that students will never feel as if they are not making progress.
Con: Not suitable for multiple users. Perhaps the biggest drawback is the fact that Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing is not truly suitable for use by companies or schools. This is purely due to the fact that managers or teachers cannot coordinate more than eight users.
Con: Single Computer Installation. It is a pity that registered users can use this software on only one dedicated computer. This means that learning can take place only at a single location and only at a specific computer. This may be a serious drawback for people that want to learn whenever and wherever they have the time.
Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing – Review Verdict
Despite all the pros and cons mentioned in this review, keep in mind that Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing does offer the interesting and unique option of customizing a training program to suit your needs! This makes it perfect for those with problems in specific areas, looking to improve one area at a time.
Over the years there has been made a lot of improvements as well, with new Mavis Beacon versions coming up. The software has also become an alternative option for kids and children learning.
Furthermore, keep in mind that support for Mavis Beacon Typing is still not extremely fast, and it does not come via telephone, so if you think support will be needed constantly, it is probably best to look at other options.
If you don’t think you’ll be needing a lot of extra support, and if you’re looking forward to seeing your colleagues at working staring at your fingers as you type at blazing speeds, then it’s time to get to work. Start practicing often and hard, and you will not be disappointed with the results.