5 Tools to Incorporate Coding into Keyboarding Practice


Two Birds, One Stone!

With so much emphasis being placed on computer science and STEM courses in schools, it makes sense that today’s students will benefit from developing coding keystroke skills as part of their touch typing mastery.

As you know, most typing tutors are aimed at general English and may not prioritize practice for special characters used frequently in computer programming.  Programming languages use a much higher frequency of special characters, like the semicolon ";", curly brackets "{}", parenthesis "()", equal sign ("="), and more.  Here are 5 online resources that implement those special characters and keywords while giving students an introduction to text-based coding.

  1. SpeedCoder.net is a free resource that allows students to practice typing source code of a chosen language with a finger guiding system. While practicing, students should not look at the keyboard but the screen which shows where the fingers should be placed. After completing each lesson they can see their WPM, accuracy, and keys with most mistakes.  It also has a custom code feature that allows users to compete for speed in a multiplayer race game, SpeedCoder Race.

  2. In addition to their traditional keyboarding lessons, Typing.com has a Coding Essentials course that includes practice lessons in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.  Users can create a free account that will save their progress. 

  3. CodingSpeedTest.com is a free typing test that can test code typing speed in JavaScript, Python, C, Go, Assembly (16-bit x86), Machine Code, and Java.  The best way to improve programming typing speed is to practice typing code. Code uses a higher frequency of special characters than natural language, so normal typing practice tests aren't as effective. CodingSpeedTest.com helps to address this difference.

  4. As a supplemental activity for students who finish their regular daily keyboarding lessons, KhanAcademy.org offers a beginner's course that introduces young learners to basic HTML and CSS.  In their computer programming unit titled Intro to HTML/CSS:  Making Webpages, students learn how to use HTML and CSS to make simple webpages right inside an online text editor.

  5. If you’d really like to give your students some high level coding practice of languages such as Javascript, CSS, and C++, you might want to check out typing.io.  It is a web-based typing tutor/trainer for programmers and has a free to use option.  It allows the user to practice typing key sequences that appear in real code.  “Most typing tutors sidestep symbol keys and skip the most frequently typed key, backspace/delete. Typing.io includes these keys, resulting in uninflated WPMs and realistic practice.”  (Source:  typing.io)
After students have had some time to practice coding keystrokes and gain some proficiency, use the Learning Lights Keyboard to black out the coding special characters to promote key by touch mastery.

Download this Lesson Plan as a PDF here:  Two Birds, One Stone!  5 Tools to Incorporate Coding into Keyboarding Practice

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