Saturday, August 29, 2009

Web Design For Kids (...And Curious Grown-Ups!)

Brian Richardson's Web Design For Kids (...And Curious Grown-Ups!) is an instructional video on DVD that teaches your student (and you!) how to navigate the sometimes seemingly confusing world of HTML. Using only Notepad and Internet Explorer (or TextEdit and Safari if you're on a Mac), the student will learn how to build their own web page without needing an Internet connection. At an hour and twenty minutes long, it teaches basic lines of codes, designing backgrounds, font and background coloring, changing fonts, adding pictures and moving letters.

I sat down with my 14 year old son and we decided to view this DVD directly on our desktop, pausing and minimizing as needed to work on the site. At first, Brian Richardson's delivery is quite stiff and the staged questions of the two "students" almost humorous but the information was great and the instructor seemed to relax a bit more as it went along. My son and I were able to follow along without any problems.

About fifteen minutes or so into the lesson, I had to leave for several hours. My son decided to continue working without me. When I returned later that evening, he had finished the DVD, created the basic "candy" site taught on the video, and then built another site of "Random Facts". I have some familiarity with HTML, just picking it up here and there via blogging, and was amazed when he began telling me how to change colors and spouting off color codes. His only complaint was that the DVD ended before explaining how to publish his new site to the Internet.

Brian Richardson is currently at work on his second DVD, which will cover publishing aspects, but was nice enough to give us a quick instructional page so we could get it up and running for now. You can you see my son's Random Facts site HERE. This page was created using Notepad, Internet Explorer, Paint, and a free photo site suggested in the DVD.

Web Design For Kids does a great job teaching the basics of HTML in a simple, easy to follow manner. After "helping" my friend redesign this web site using Dreamweaver, I understand the need for knowledge of HTML even when using some of these great software programs available to us today. She needed to locate and change the HTML code several times as we revamped everything. Understanding the basics is a skill that I'm confident will come in handy for years to come.

I asked my son to add his thoughts and he had this to say, "I thought it was great. I just wanted more and want the next one to come out so I can keep going with this. It was actually a lot of fun." This from a kid in his last two weeks of summer vacation who volunteered to spend an afternoon testing this out for me. He continues to pop on the desktop and add to his site, with no prompting from me.

Web Design for Kids (...And Curious Grown-Ups!) is available for $40. There is a 50% off special currently. This is labeled as a Summer Special so I am unsure how long it will last.





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