BusyFingers - A typing tutor for all ages

 
Version 5 is now available
 
Users of BusyFingers v4 or earlier should contact Grape County for information on how they can upgrade to this latest version.
 
Download the trial version today!
Upgrade your v4 site licence for just 50.
Upgrade your v3 site licence for just 120.
Upgrade your v1 or v2 site licence for just 175.
Find out what's New in this release.
 

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BusyFingers has been designed specifically for young children but it can still be used by adults. The novel user interface really does appeal to children and once they've started, they want to keep on practising.

Novel User Interface
The novel user interface makes children want to learn and is designed so that even the youngest child can use it unsupervised. All the characters that are used during a lesson are displayed clearly on or next to the finger that is used when typing, keeping the interface clear and easy to use.

The character to be typed is highlighted so the user can see which finger to use. When a capital letter or special character is to be typed, the appropriate shift key is also highlighted.

National Literacy Strategy
The words used in the lessons are split into those suitable for Key Stage 1 & 2 and for Key Stage 3. The words used in the Key Stage 1 & 2 lessons are based on those specified in the National Literacy Strategy. BusyFingers is suitable for users of all abilities, including those with visual impairment, because BusyFingers has five screen sizes and a choice of font and font size.

Starting BusyFingers
The login dialog for BusyFingers can now be configured to allow users to add themselves to the database or to only select their name from the list of names presented by the dialog. This latter login dialog therefore prevents user from adding any name that they wish. The login dialog can also be configured to require a password before the user can access their lesson and this ensures that only the user has access to their account and prevents others users accidentally (or otherwise) using a different users account.

Using BusyFingers with the youngest of users
Introducing children to a computer keyboard can be difficult. BusyFingers helps to make this easier by displaying a picture and getting the user to type the words associated with that picture. This combination of image and words, helps the user to learn to associate words with objects and how to spell those words at the same time as introducing them to the keyboard.

The images and the words associated with the images used by BusyFingers are completely customisable by the administrator.

Feedback to the User
BusyFingers can also provide visual and audio feedback throughout the lesson and statistics can be displayed at the end of each lesson to help the user identify their strengths and weaknesses. The green bars show the average speed; i.e. how quickly or slowly, each character was typed. This allows the user or supervisor to identify any characters that the user is having difficulty in reaching. The red bars show which characters were pressed incorrectly and again helps to identify any potential difficulties.

When the same lesson has been completed at least twice, a line graph is displayed showing the users progress; i.e. their word per minute rate (solid green line) and their error rate (solid red line). If the user has to achieve a certain criteria before they can progress to the next lesson, the line graph will also show the criteria that they have to achieve as a dotted green or red line.


The BusyFingers exam
BusyFingers now includes an exam that users can take at anytime.

When the user passes the exam they are presented with a gold, silver or bronze certificate, dependent on the grade that they achieved. To obtain a bronze pass, a user must have an accuracy of at least 90% and a speed of 20 words per minute or better. The reason for such an apparently high level of accuracy is because even when a typist is 90% accurate, they will type one wrong character in 10, which equates to a spelling mistake approximately every second word!

Even with an accuracy of 99%, which by anyone's standard is excellent, the typist will be making one mistake every 100 characters, which is about one spelling mistake every sentence, which is not really very good! That is why, in the exam, as throughout all of BusyFingers, accuracy has a greater bias than speed.

The Jungle Game
The user can practice the characters they have learnt in the lessons at any time, using the Jungle game. The game is challenging but ease to use and only uses words from the lessons that the user has completed. During the game the words to be typed appear on the screen, along with some animals and the user has to type the words to stop the volcano from erupting. The faster the words are typed the more points that the user scores.

User Configuration
BusyFingers now allows a user to configure how they want the application to look when they use it and to set the criteria that must be achieved before being allowed to progress to the next lesson. These settings are saved to the database and are retrieved each time the user opens the BusyFingers application. In the settings dialog the user can select the size of the application's window, the size of the font used by the application, whether to play the audio associated with certain actions and dialogs, which database to use to select the lessons from and many others options. Note, that all of these settings are only available if the administrator has set the appropriate permission level for the user in the user's preferences in the Teacher application.

Administrative Tools
BusyFingers comes complete with an administration utility called Teacher (password protected) that allows the administrator to manage groups of users, what settings those groups and users have, export the user's data to a text file for advanced data analysis (in a different program) and complete control over the words used in the lessons allowing lessons to be crafted to the specific needs of individual children. The administrator also has control over which characters are used in which lessons allowing them to craft completely the lessons that are taught within the BusyFingers application.The Teacher application also allows groups and users to be imported to the database from a text file, making it easy to configure the software each year for a new group of children. The Teacher application also shows, in numerical and graphical form, the statistics for each user so that a administrator can, at any time, evaluate the progress of any of the users. In addition, the graphs that are displayed can be printed allowing the administrator or user to include a graphical summary of the users progress for each lesson.

Using BusyFingers on a Network
The site licence version of BusyFingers can be configured to be used on a network making it easier for the administrator to manage the databases and keep up to date on the progress of the users. BusyFingers can also be used on a single computer. In either configuration, there is no limit to the number of groups or users that can be entered in the database.



Free Trial
If you would like to try BusyFingers, download the trial version of the software.


What's new in Version 5

What was new in Version 4.2

What was new in Version 4.1

What was new in Version 4.0

What was new in Version 3

The Secret of Learning to Touch Type
To find out the secret of learning to touch type, click here.


Free Trial Version
If you would like to try BusyFingers, download the trial version of the software.



System requirements for BusyFingers v5
BusyFingers runs on both Macintosh and Windows operating systems.
 
Macintosh   Windows
Intel Core 2 Duo processor or later   Pentium 3 (or equivalent) or faster
macOS X v10.7 or later   Windows 8.1, Windows 7, Windows 2000 (SP4) or Windows XP (SP3)
50 Mb of free disc space   120 Mb of free disc space


Data Sheets Price List


What do teachers and parents have to say about BusyFingers?

The children are really enjoying BusyFingers. They use it every day and look forward each day to having their turn and practising their touch typing skills. I've even started to learn to touch type using it!
Margaret Guest - Headteacher - Coton Primary School, Cambridgeshire

Our 9 year old daughter prefers BusyFingers to the program they use at school. Every child should learn to touch type and it's our experience that BusyFingers really helps. Isabel will practice without any prompting from us.
Ian Wilson - Parent

One of our special needs pupils started to use BusyFingers having tried two other software programs, and he says that it is much better than the others. Having the MyKids keyboard has really helped too because he can reach the keys more easily.
Dennis Marshall - ICT co-ordinator - Milton Road Primary School, Cambridge

We've been using the BusyFingers software with our 7 year old son and even after only 6 weeks of practice he is considerably more confident when using the computer. BusyFingers has definitely helped!
Margaret Siddle - Parent