|Submited By: Montgomery Scott on 01/03/2010|
I will admit I felt a little silly spending more than $10 on a keyboard that does not have multimedia keys or any special features. However, knowing how to type properly is priceless, so anything that helps teach the concepts to a child could be worth the money. I worried a bit that the color coded keys could be a crutch, but seeing it in action, I think they are well worth it as I will explain.
First, the keyboard has a nice, sturdy construction, quite suited for teaching typing. I like that it does not have the typical "pop-out" legs that most keyboards have. I already have 2 keyboards where the legs required to tilt the keyboard have broken off, likely due to my kids moving it around too much and catching them on the end of the keyboard tray. Since the keyboard is intended for kids, I appreciate this thought towards durability.
The keys have a nice click---not too hard, but also not so soft that it makes typing tough. I would not teach a child on my Logitech Illuminated Ultra-Thin keyboard---the keys are too easy to press and they could break it too easily. Thus, for durability, the chester-creek is great. It also lack the superfluous media keys that could confuse a young kid.
Equally important, the Chester Creek keyboard is a full keyboard with normal adult layout. Be careful when buying kids keyboards, even from Chester Creek. Some kids keyboards are laid out with one key directly above another, in a perfect rectangular layout (not staggered like a real keyboard). Some lack the F1-F12 keys needed to do many future Windows Tasks. Another color coded keyboard just colors the consonants and vowels differently, but the colors do not help in teaching to type.
The Chester Creek LessonBoard does a nice job of coloring the keys so it is easy to see where the fingers must go. The "F" and "J" keys have a nice bump on them for learning to feel the home keys, and the separate colors enable a child to see what finger is supposed to go on what key, especially when they start having to leave the home row for other letters. As I watch my child learn to type (we use Typical Instructor for Kids), I see that the color codes help in keeping the fingers on the proper keys. The goal is to teach touch typing, and I do not believe that this keyboard will be a crutch. My kid should be fine on other keyboards---if anything, the color coding prevents the learning of bad habits which is all too easy.
Even better, the attractive colors make it more exciting for the kid, without making it cutesy or unrealistic. A kid who learns with this keyboard can use any keyboard. On a technical note, it is a USB keyboard, but comes with a PS/2 adapter for older computers.
Overall, this is the best learning keyboard I have found, and I highly recommend it for the new typer.