TOS Crew: Web Design for Kids (and Curious Grown-ups)

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Hey, all. How’s it going? I’m a little behind my time, as Mr. Cratchit was, but trying to catch up with all the good stuff we’ve been exploring, so I can share our family’s impressions with you.

Most of the TOS Crew reviews of Web Design for Kids (and Curious Grown-ups) were posted a month or more ago, so my apologies to you for being behind the curve. On the other hand, perhaps this is just what you were thinking about, and so the timing is right for reading this now. (Looking on the bright side…)

We enjoyed watching this video, and I learned some things even though I’ve been using some basic HTML tags for years now. (Yes, I can italicize, embolden and underline text, even strike it out and center it!)

The girls have learned a little coding from their computer-savvy dad. One even knows enough to be able to put the church’s bulletin online each week, though a lot of the work is just search-and-replace to update various elements such as hymns and scriptures. With Web Design for Kids she gained a better idea of why she was doing what she was doing, as well as why things sometimes didn’t work.

As the genial instructor on the DVD teaches, even the littlest things are important. If you leave out a bracket, for example (on the video they are called “less than” and “greater than” signs), you can cause most or even all of your webpage to apparently disappear.

Mr. Richardson, the instructor and man behind Web Design for Kids, is an experienced middle school computer literacy teacher, and it shows. The DVD simulates the perfect classroom, as a matter of fact, with two students who seem interested in what they are doing and excited about the results they’re getting as they follow the simple steps. They even laugh at the teacher’s jokes! (Actually, I think everyone in the room, including the camera crew, laughed at one of the jokes. We did, too!)

Working right along with the video, his students (and the viewer) build a simple webpage using three elements found on Windows-based computers: Notepad, Paint, and Internet Explorer. You don’t even need an Internet connection for the first few lessons.

Some of the language is simplified, and the instructor re-names some technical terms to appeal to the student’s imagination, making concepts easier and quicker to grasp. (For example, he calls closing HTML tags, you know, the ones with the forward slash, that you use to turn off things, “stop signs.”) Our 11yo had no problem with the instructions. Mr. Richardson recommends the video for ages 8 and up.

The instructor insists on capitalizing the HTML within the brackets, something an online tutorial I took says not to do. I can see his reasoning, though. It makes the codes stand out.

In the course, you learn how to create the basic frame for a webpage, view it in Internet Explorer, tweak the text with colors and special effects, and add background and pictures. As a bonus feature, the DVD includes a simple explanation of file management.

If you go to the Web Design for Kids website, you can see sample websites created by students, view a one-minute clip from the video, read a list of frequently asked questions (why learn html anyhow? why not just use a program to build websites? I was going to talk about this in my post, but he answers it so much better than I would have…)

I almost left off the most important part. If you go to the website, you can order the Web Design for Kids DVD. Right now there’s a half-price special, meaning you can get the DVD for $19.99 plus shipping and handling.

A follow-on DVD with more advanced topics is due out sometime this year.

To read more TOS Crew reviews of Web Design for Kids, please click here.

Disclaimer: Members of the TOS Crew were each given a free copy of Web Design for Kids for personal use. The TOS Crew receives no pay for writing reviews. Reviews reflect the reviewer’s own experience with the product, and the reviewer’s own opinion. Individual results may vary.

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