TOS Crew: Motherboard Press

TOS Crew

Our 12yo has been asking to learn computer programming for awhile now, and while I’ve done some looking for a way to teach this, I hadn’t found much, until Motherboard Books came to my attention. Some members of the Crew got computer science curriculum Computer Science Pure and Simple for older students,  Logoadventure for younger students. I was among those who received Let’s Make a Web Page for 8-12 year-olds, along with the author’s free Internet scavenger hunt.

I also signed up at the webpage for the author’s helpful newsletter, containing newsletter tips and interesting information. I’ve learned about the Logo computer language, for example. The author also talks about her own homeschooling experience, and announces special offers (such as free shipping, with a certain code from the newsletter).

Let’s Make a Web Page is a 60-page e-book in PDF format, written to the student, though of course the alert parent is probably reading over the student’s shoulder! (I know I did.) The course walks the student (“with some adult help”) through the making of a simple website, using downloadable CoffeeCup software (a 30-day free trial version) as your web page editor.

Your student can create a web page that you can view on your computer, or even upload to the Internet. It can be simple or fancy, as your student wishes. You can have fancy backgrounds, illustrations, even animations!

Screen shots are sprinkled liberally through the text so that you can compare the e-book with your computer screen to see how you’re doing.

I already know something about HTML, but a parent with very little knowledge would be able to use this book with their student to put together a webpage.

Things I like:

– The step-by-step instructions. The author frequently reminds you to save your work. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve dealt with a frustrated child who did not (despite repeated reminders) save her work! Having it right there in the text is a big help!

– The screen shots. While computers may vary, the shots matched well with what we were seeing on the screen. The directions were clear enough for my student and me to follow along.

– The structure. First the author gives a short writing assignment, then leads the student through the process of coding the result into a webpage. The CoffeeCup editor allows you to move back and forth between visual (editing) mode and HTML mode.

As you change things around, you can see how the code changes, and with growing familiarity you’ll eventually be able to transition to where you don’t need an HTML editor at all–you’ll simply code in Notepad or some other text editor. At least, that’s how it’s happened for me. Our daughters already use simple HTML commands in their blogs. Let’s Make a Web Page is taking them to the next step!

(They loved this exercise, by the way, and are asking for more.)

Let’s Make a Web Page is available for $29.99, but right now the author is offering a discounted special price of $19.99. The author offers a 30-day money-back guarantee. If your children are younger, check out the “Jr.” version available for 7-9 year olds.

Formats supported: Windows (including Vista) and Mac with Parallels Desktop

To read more TOS Crew reviews of Let’s Make a Web Page and other products from Motherboard books, click here.

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