As many of you know, portions of the 2014-2015 PARCC and SBAC assessments will require students to type their responses to questions. (You can take the SBAC practice test here.) Consequently, there is a renewed push to help students become more proficient with keyboarding so they have the requisite skills to be successful with the coming tests. There are two free online programs that any student can begin using to assist with this. The first is Dance Mat Typing from the BBC. Admittedly, students will have to contend with listening to a snake with a Scottish accent and theater spelled theatre; but, the program is systematic in its approach and reasonably engaging.
The second program, www.typingweb.com, requires free registration but might be more helpful for the classroom setting because teachers can create student rosters and monitor progress. Student reports can be exported and tests administered. The downside is that free comes with advertisements. Those ads can be removed but there is a fee.