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Homeschool Crew Review: Web Design for Kids (…and Curious Adults)

 

Before I began blogging in April, the workings of the online world were a total mystery to me.  In the process of setting up my blog, I accidentally bumped into some HTML code.  It scared me. 

 

 

 (An aside for my fellow non-expert computer users: HTML is the language of web site design.  If you want to see some, go to ‘view’ at the top of the page and click on ‘source’.  That’s the HTML for this page, and, no, I didn’t write it, and, yes, I now know what some of it means. Yippee!)

 

 

  

Therefore, I was excited when the TOS Homeschool Crew  was asked to review Web Design for Kids (…and Curious Grown-Ups).   Here was our family’s chance to break into the world behind all those web pages.  I had been hoping to teach my older ones some sort of programming, but since I had neither the time nor the resources it seemed an idle dream…until this opportunity came along. 

 

 

Summary 

This DVD teaches kids (…and curious grown-ups) simple web design using three programs that are available on all Windows operating systems.  Believe it or not, these three, Notepad, Internet Explorer, and Paint are all you need to make your own web pages.  (If you are sceptical, look here for a discussion.)  No internet connection is needed to make these web pages.

   

Details

Brian Richardson of Click Drag Solutions is a middle school computer literacy teacher.  He asked himself, “What ONE valuable thing could I teach kids in my classroom that would have the potential of staying with them for the rest of their lives?”  The answer led to exciting classes for his students and the classes, in turn, led to the DVD Web Design for Kids (…and Curious Grown Ups).

  

This innovative resource features Brian Richardson explaining basic HTML to two kids using very simple language.  He proceeds slowly, step by step, starting with how to manage files and folders.  Every step is detailed, and the kids on the DVD ask logical questions any kid would be wondering about.  Topics he covers include

  • The 10 Basic Lines of Code
  • Coloring the Background and Letters
  • Making Letters Move Across the Screen
  • Designer Backgrounds
  • Changing Fonts
  • Adding Pictures

The kids do actually end up making web pages.  They adjust colors, fonts, and backgrounds and are even shown how to make the letters move across the screen.

 

Community and Charity

I just looked at the web pages created by some kids in Baltimore and am all teary-eyed.  You see, Brian Richardson’s Click Drag Foundation–the community side of Click Drag Solutions– provides these DVD’s as well as HTML instruction to select at-risk youth programs in urban neighborhoods.  Learning about web design empowers these kids, giving them something to do that’s both beneficial and cool.  As well, Richardson gives a portion of the proceeds from Click Drag Solutions to several charities.  

  

How We Used It

 

One child started with “How do I put the DVD into the computer?”  (OK, so we’ve only had a ‘modern’ computer for a few months.  Grin.)  Within a few short hours she was playing with backgrounds and bouncing words around the screen on her own web page.

 

Another child enjoyed the course and was delighted with her first web page, beautifully coloured with words floating from side to side.  It doesn’t seem as though she’ll continue exploring web page design, but at least she is somewhat familiar with it now.

 

And another child started the course, discovered he could study the code of his favourite websites, and was hooked.  He spent hours fiddling with HTML code, learning what things meant by trial and error.  Eventually he began to take HTML books from the library, and now he has progressed to asking questions about Java and CSS and embedding videos.  (Don’t ask me; I haven’t read the books and Richardson’s second DVD, which will cover these topics, won’t be out for a few more months.) 

 

My 9 year old and I worked on the DVD together, but it was just too much for her.  She’ll be able to learn web design in a few years.  I had planned to continue on by myself and finish it by now, but our ‘modern’ computer is usually busy when I’m available…often the kids are using it for their web design projects.  Oh well, I suppose that was the point of it all.  But even for me, having only made it partway through the course, the thought of HTML code is no longer frightening, and I’m looking forward to finishing the course. 

 

Our Opinions

Web Design for Kids (and Curious Grown-Ups) is a wonderful resource for getting anyone over the initial hump of being intimidated by HTML.  After this course, an adult or a motivated teen could confidently get one of those thick web design guides from the library and quickly extend his learning. 

 

I am thrilled that this review opportunity has given my son such an absorbing and challenging interest.  While his peers are playing computer games, he is busy learning something that will benefit him hugely …and he’s having so much fun.  He’s hoping that Brian Richardson’s next DVD will be out soon.  The rest of us are now also much more confident about HTML and computers in general.

 

If Dad or Mom knows HTML and is able present it simply enough to teach the children, you will not need this course.  For other families, Web Design for Kids (…and Curious Grown-Ups) is a wonderful introduction to web page design, using programs available on every computer running Windows, and not even needing an internet connection. 

 

Purchase Information and More Reviews

You can buy Web Design for Kids (…and Curious Grown-Ups) here.  It is currently on special for $19.99 (plus shipping and handling), although the usual price is $40.00.  

 

Links to more reviews are available at the TOS Homeschool Crew blog.

 

Disclosure   In order to write this TOS Homeschool Crew review, I received Web Design for Kids (…and Curious Adults) from Brian Richardson of Click Drag Solutions.  I am not compensated for this review by either Click Drag Solutions or the TOS Homeschool Crew.

 For more tips see We are THAT Family’s Works For Me Wednesday.

  

 

One Comment

  1. jenn4him says:

    Sounds interesting. My son got a book from the library and is teachign himself HTML and how to make a website. This sounds like something I could use! Thanks.

    Jenn

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