When Typing Master Inc.’s U.S. Sales Manager Ruth Marasco and Marketing Communication Coordinator from Typing Master’s Finnish headquarters, Sini Taskinen, traveled to South Carolina in October 2015 to visit schools and districts that are participating in Virtual SC’s Elementary Keyboarding Program, they ended up having more of an adventure than they had expected. Historic floods and reports of escaped hippos and alligators from the zoo reminded them of the colorful scenes and adventurous spirit of the company’s keyboarding program, Typing Quest. In fact, the pair was in Columbia to meet with Sharon Dublin, coordinator for the Elementary Keyboarding Program, to visit a number of school districts and to streamline the use of Typing Quest in South Carolina schools.
South Carolina Department of Education (SCDE) Office of Virtual Learning (OVE) uses Typing Quest as its online resource for the Elementary Keyboarding Program. This program offers students in grades K-6 instruction and practice in navigating through online educational resources and provides opportunities for students to practice responding to writing prompts in a timely manner.
Dublin, who took over the Keyboarding Program in 2014, works closely with South Carolina school districts to implement the program. Currently, there are more than 30 school districts using Typing Quest as their online resource for the Elementary Keyboarding Program. The biggest challenge she has overcome as program coordinator has been monitoring district usage of Typing Quest, as the service was originally designed for individual school use.
Handy District Management Tool
South Carolina adds a new twist to Typing Quest usage as the keyboarding program was purchased with a statewide license with a state administrator facilitating the use of licenses. Schools access Typing Quest via their own school district login link so that all the schools in a particular district use the same account. Individual schools are easily separated by name and groups can be arranged by a teacher as well.
Typing Quest developers worked to provide tailor-made solutions for South Carolina to allow an individual person to oversee the service without having to log in separately to each account. The development team created a special district report that displays all the districts and their license information on the same page, making it easy to switch between accounts. This way, the state administrator can quickly and easily view license usage and availability by each district.
South Carolina is a good example of how administrators at the state, district, and school level can come together to facilitate keyboarding education in schools using Typing Quest. Surveys of users demonstrate that teachers and students give Typing Quest high marks as a fun, effective way to teach keyboarding skills that will last a lifetime.
Oh, and the hippo and alligator escape? Although the escape provided a lot of excitement and stories, it turned out to be an urban legend, most likely inspired by the actual escape of a hippo and alligator in June from a zoo in the European state of Georgia.