Friday, July 31, 2009
Review: Web Design for Kids
Ever since I became part of the Homeschool Crew, simple trips to the mailbox have become an adventure. A recent trip turned up a DVD from Click Drag Solutions called Web Design for Kids. Now my kid is only six years old and just learning to read and write-- a little too young for designing web pages (but not by much, the program's website recommends it for 8 year olds). But I fit the second target audience--curious adults. As a relatively new blogger, I had no idea what was going on behind the scenes of my own blog or how to alter the homeschoolblogger template.
The video gives you step by step instructions on what to type so I think it would work best with a tv and computer in the same room, or perhaps running the dvd on the computer and pausing it while you are performing the tasks. The course is taught using Notepad and Internet Explorer--both standard on a Windows PC. For most of the lessons it is not even necessary to be connected to the internet.
There are seven lessons taught by author Brian Richardson: 10 Basic Lines of Code, Sandwiches and Colors, Make a Subject Stand Out, Stand Alone Tags, Designing Backgrounds, Fonts and Paragraphs, and Pictures. You'll actually create a real web page in you first lesson and spend the next six lessons learning code to tweak and personalize it. Rather than use technical jargon, the lessons use terms like "sandwiches" and "stop signs" that make it easy to remember.
One of the things I loved about Brian's teaching method were the deliberate mistakes. On several occasions he instructs us to "mess up" our code by leaving out a symbol or misspelling a word. I found this helpful in two ways: first--nobody is going to type code correctly 100 percent of the time. It's helpful to start learning what to look for when things obviously don't appear right. Secondly, I think it's helpful for a lot of people intimidated by a computer to see that it's not going to blow up when a mistake occurs. In most cases things can be fixed and remaining level-headed will go a long way towards that end. When I worked as an accountant I had to teach myself both accounting and payroll software and I often learned more from fixing mistakes than getting it right the first time.
Head over to Click Drag Solutions' website and you can see a video clip of the DVD lesson, view real students' web pages, and take advantage of a sale going on right now ($19.99).