When students are introduced to Typing Agent, one of the first things teachers should have students do is customize their interfaces. At the top right where their identifying marker is, they have a dropdown menu to the right of it. Should they click that, they get these options:
This simple action of adjusting these to meet their specification gives students ownership over their learning space, motivates them to do well and invites them to be engaged when using the program. Here's what they can do:
The theme is the background that students will see in their interface. K-2 students are given automatically given a few themes to choose from without having to work to activate them. The same applies for students in Grades 3 and above but should they want to have access to world-renowned landmarks as themes, they will have to successfully complete specific units in the Keyboarding Foundations 3+ Curriculum and attain certain points in the Targeted Practices Curriculum. Here's a guide to which curriculums and milestones unlock each theme:
Keyboarding Foundations Themes:
Lesson 1 Video: New York
World 2: London
World 3: Paris
World 4: Beijing
World 5: Cairo
World 6: Rome
World 7: Moscow
World 8: Kuwait
World 9: Sydney
World 10: Rio
Targeted Practices Themes:
Score over 1000: Dubai
Score over 5000: Berlin
Students decide if they want the instructions to be given to them in English or Spanish. This is an excellent tool for students for whom Spanish is their first language and are being introduced to English. Note that the lessons themselves are in English: this command is for instructions only.
Choose Avatar: Each student gets to an avatar to represent them as they go through Typing Agent. If they don't want a figure, initials from their names or whatever the administrator has placed as their username will be used instead.
This avatar remains at the top right of their interface no matter where they navigate. They begin with a generic-looking one and as they successfully complete lessons in the keyboarding curriculum, they earn Gritcoins that they may use to "purchase" additional items to customize their avatar or get game time. (Click here should you want to know more about Gritcoins.)
Voice Over: This feature is meant to be an aid for students who really need assistance. Should they be visually impaired or need help reading instructions, they may use the voiceover feature to help them. They won't have to bother you or a classmate. It looks like this:
Once Voice Over is enabled, students simply hover over a phrase or sentence and the voice will read what is there, using the accent selected. (It is best that students wear headphone should they enable this feature.
Minimize Layout: This sizing feature works wonders for students using devices with small screens or who get anxious seeing their statistics for lessons as they're typing.
Minimizing the layout turns this large green banner into a tiny sliver hence bringing the lessons higher up the screen. When students want to see the information on the banner for a few seconds, they roll over the sliver and the banner turns big again for about 3 seconds. Should they want to revert it to its original size, they click the dropdown menu at the top right and click to Maximize Layout.