Authentic Motivation


QwertyTown is the first keyboarding application to tap into one of the biggest reasons keyboarding is an essential skill for young people: communicating online. Keyboarding has become a fundamental component of literacy in the 21st century, whether it is to collaborate with peers, publish projects to the web, or simply chat with friends.

Current brain research tells us that learners are much more likely to remember newly acquired information and skills if that information is personally relevant. According to Dr. David Sousa, author of How the Brain Learns, to increase the likelihood that new information will pass into a learner’s long-term memory, not only should new information be delivered in a way that makes sense to the learner, but it must also be personally relevant and meaningful to that learner.

By progressing through QwertyTown’s keyboarding lessons, students unlock features that enable them to communicate with friends. They can share their customizable avatars, send Qmail messages, and chat. Students are socially motivated to progress through QwertyTown because we help students see how meaningful keyboarding skills are to their lives in and out of school.

 

Curriculum


Our keyboarding curriculum follows standard QWERTY fingering. The keys are taught as follows:

Level Keys
1: Home Row ASDF JKL; and spacebar
2: Upper Row and Shift QWER UIOP and the Shift keys
3: Lower Row ZXCV NM , . / ?
4: Reach Keys TYGHBN : ‘ “ and tab, enter, backspace
5: Number Keys 1234567890
6: Punctuation and Symbols ! @ # $ % & * ( ) _ -

 

Achievement Levels


We measure students’ performance using two criteria: Speed (Words Per Minute) and Accuracy (% correct). At the end of each lesson, QwertyTown assesses how quickly and accurately students can type the keys they’ve learned. Students may earn a Bronze, Silver, or Gold Medal. By default, the Achievement Levels are as follows:

Medal Speed Benchmark
Accuracy Benchmark
Bronze 20 WPM 92%
Silver 30 WPM 95%
Gold 40 WPM 95%

 

Performance-Based Reward System


QwertyCoins

There are two reward systems that help drive students to succeed in QwertyTown. The first if QwertyCoins. Students are awarded QwertyCoins when they earn medals. These QwertyCoins can be used to purchase new items for their Avatars. QwertyTown students are highly motivated to earn QwertyCoins and customize their Avatars. The quest for QwertyCoins drives students to replay lessons many times in pursuit of Silver and Gold medals.

Unlockables

The second reward system in QwertyTown is the ability to unlock new features of the site. At the completion of each level, students unlock a different component of the Chatterbox. The ability to Features are unlocked as follows:

Level Unlockable Feature
1: Home Row Friends List (seeing friends’ avatars and profiles)
2: Upper Row QwertyCoins bonus
3: Lower Row Sending Qmail
4: Reach Keys Chat Feature
5: Number Keys Multi-Chat
6: Punctuation and Symbols QwertyCoins bonus