You must do the things you think you cannot do.
Eleanor Roosevelt

Sunday, August 09, 2009

TOS Review Web Design for Kids

Web Design for Kids (...and curious grown-ups!) is a DVD class written for kids to teach them HTML and basic web-design. I was doubtful at first that the boys would be able to learn anything useful; I figured Hank would be too young and Jake too old. I was very, very wrong.

The author, Brian Richardson, used to be a middle school computer teacher, and he uses two middle school-aged kids in the video to demonstrate the steps. The video is in a classroom setting, and the 'students' ask questions throughout the video. Mr Richardson then walks you through the answer, demonstrating each step. He also had them make mistakes to see what would (or would not) happen and then walked them through fixing the mistake.

So now you're thinking "HTML?? Who uses that?" Well, anyone who creates websites. Of course almost everyone uses programs like DreamWeaver to do the bulk of their design. If you run into a problem though, you'll need to know how HTML works to fix your webpage. I actually needed to use HTML to make some changes to my blog this summer. To prove web design can be done using only HTML, the author created his website using 95% HTML hand coding. Impressive.

We sat down and watched it one time through. We brought the laptop into the living room and the boys watched it again following each step. Of course Jake had no trouble following the clear, step by step instructions, but I wondered if Hank would get it. He totally did. For the sake of time, I had Jake do the typing, but I had Hank tell him what to type.

They created a handful of fun and creative web pages following the instructions. They were thrilled to pieces at what they were able to do.

Some of the subjects covered in the DVD are:

  • The 10 Basic Lines of Code

  • Coloring the Background and Letters

  • Making Letters Move Across the Screen

  • Designer Backgrounds

  • Changing Fonts

  • Adding Pictures

There is also a Bonus Chapter on File and Folder Management.

A second DVD is scheduled to be released later this year and will cover the following topics:

  • Javascripts (Kids and curious grownups will have fun with this one!)

  • Embedding Games

  • Embedding YouTube Videos

  • Sounds

  • Basic CSS (Cascading Style Sheets - The newfangled way of design)

  • Linking Web Pages

  • Most Important...Uploading Web Pages Using Free Web Server Space!

There will be 3 BONUS sections as well:

  • Online safety

  • The history of the World Wide Web

  • What really happens when you upload web pages

One thing that really impresses me about this new, small company is the fact that they donate a portion of their profits to five charities: Smile Train, Ronald McDonald House, Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, American Foundation for the Blind, and Children's Miracle Network.

The author also created the Click Drag Foundation because...

The World Wide Web is for everybody. Click Drag Solutions believes in everyone having the opportunity to experience the power of technology, regardless of race, gender, or socio-economic background. In the twenty-first century global economy, knowledge of specific technologies is becoming less of a specialization and more of a requirement. Click Drag Solutions wants to play a part in helping to bridge the digital divide by creating the Click Drag Foundation, which provides DVDs and instruction to select at-risk youth programs in urban neighborhoods across the United States and the world.Embracing technology is an act that empowers people unlike any act in the history of mankind.

The DVD normally costs $40 but is on sale right now (8/13/09) for only $19.99 plus $3.99 s&h. You can buy it here, and you can read what other TOS Crew members have to say about it here.

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