Traditional typing tutors might be a great thing for traditional keyboards, but for the iPad you need something completely different. iPad keyboards do not have physical “home keys,” the tactile and audible feedback of keys being pressed, and are smaller than most physical keyboards, making it awkward for large hands to do two-handed touch-typing. Ghost Type by Demografix is designed to help people of all ages to type on the iPad with two hands, and you’ll also find it might help single-handed typists also, such as those with a physical impairment. I often find myself typing with a single hand (either left or right) due to the other being occupied by small people, and I’ve found Ghost Type has helped me with speed and accuracy.
- Ghost Keyboard – The characters on the keyboard fade to encourage finding keys by memory and not the hunt-and-peck method. You can set the speed at which the letters fade, or you can turn the Ghost keyboard off, using the App’s settings, accessed from the main screen.
- Individual profiles – You can set any number of individual profiles and then be able to view each user’s progress. This is particularly valuable in school classrooms, and you’ll also find it useful in any situation where more than one person uses the iPad.
- Fonts – Ghost Type uses Beginner Handwriting fonts for all Australian States and Territories, New Zealand, the UK, and the USA. This is in addition to five standard fonts. You can select the desired font using the options in Settings.
- Sound – A “blip” noise sounds when you make a mistake. Personally, I find this helpful, but if it annoys you, you can turn it off.
- Lessons – Over thirty editable lessons are installed with the app. These include beginner levels covering different areas of the keyboard, and lessons to practice speed and accuracy, such as sight word lists, national anthems and other subject-specific lists. The lessons available are a great start, but the really serve as an example of what you can do with your own custom activities. You can quickly and easily create lessons with any content you wish. The very first lesson, Practice, shows correct finger positioning with a map of the keys. Each key in the image reacts when you type the corresponding key on the Ghost Type keyboard.
- Speed Test – 14 test activities are available, with text selected to include all keys. You can also create your own tests.
- Ghost Type – use this area to practice your typing skills. Text can be sent to Twitter or Facebook, or can be sent as an email. Social Networking is inappropriate for younger children, but it might be motivating for older children and adults already using Twitter and Facebook. Parents and teachers can restrict access to social networking sites or email by using the iPad’s Settings to restrict access to the Internet.
The YouTube video below takes you through Ghost Type and its activities and features.
Points of interest
- Special needs – Ghost Type would be a good resource for those learning to navigate the keyboard single-handed, such as people with a physical impairment. It would be best to consult with an Occupational Therapist, but once you have sorted out correct positioning of hand and iPad, it would be a simple matter to create some typing lessons to practice each finger’s position. See the Related Links section below for some more information on one-handed typing techniques.
- Audio feedback – Due to the lack of tactile feedback, some users may find it helpful to turn on the key clicks sound using the Settings App.
- Custom Activities – The lessons and speed tests that come with the Ghost Type stand on their own for quality, but the stand-out feature of this app is the ability to create your own custom lessons and tests to meet the needs of the individuals using the app. Creating practice activities is as simple as cutting and pasting text. You can create custom lessons and speed tests with text related to class or homework contents. If learning to use the keyboard with one hand, it would be relatively easy to make up some one-handed typing lessons.
- Importing and Exporting activities – Not only can you create lessons and speed tests, but you can share them with others by email, or via the Demografix website. I would encourage people to submit their lessons to Demografix for inclusion on their site. The more lessons we share, the better for everyone. Perhaps I’ll come up with some one-handed typing lessons to share.
- External Keyboard – if you use an external keyboard, you can still use Ghost Type to practice your typing when it is attached.
Demografix has once again delivered an excellent teaching resource that will be of interest to anyone of any age learning to type on an iPad. Even competent touch-typists such as myself will find it useful in transferring their traditional keyboarding skills to this new technology. The customisable nature of the app means that parents, teachers and therapists will be able to fine-tune it to the needs of their children, students or clients. Users of School Writing, School Fonts or Literacy (soon to be reviewed on this blog) will find it very similar in terms of settings and creating custom activities. This is definitely one schools will want to get, and I can imagine a few therapists wanting it in their “iPad toolkits.”
Disclaimer: Thank you to Demografix for providing me with Ghost Type to review. I am happy to receive codes for review purposes, however these gifts do not influence my reviews.
- School Writing – the Must-Have App for all schools (onsarahsipad.wordpress.com)
- 8 Typing Tips for iPad and iPhone That Everyone Should Know and Use (driprincipaltechtips.wordpress.com)
- One handed technique – (www.customtyping.com/tutorials/kb/one_handed_technique.htm)
- About one handed typing (http://www.aboutonehandtyping.com)