Monday, July 27, 2009

Web Design for Kids (and curious grown-ups) - A Review


Product: Web Design for Kids (…and Curious Grown-Ups!) – a fundamental DVD instruction on learning basic HTML to create web pages and websites
Price: $40.00 (Special summer pricing of $19.95 with $3.99 s/h)
Where to buy:
Brief Overview: A fundamental DVD, geared towards children ages 8 and up, with instruction on learning basic HTML (hyper text markup language) to create web pages and websites, using Notepad and Internet Explorer.
In-Depth Look:
This DVD is geared towards kids, more specifically, middle-school aged children. It will be helpful for an elementary-aged child, who feels comfortable with the basics of the computer and keyboarding. It is also great for an adult, who knows absolutely nothing about html (like me).
The DVD was produced in 2007. It is approximately 1 hour and 22 minutes, with 7 chapters.
  • Ten Basic Lines of Code
  • Sandwiches and Colors
  • Make Subject Stand Out
  • Stand Alone Tags
  • Designing Backgrounds
  • Fonts and Paragraphs
  • Pictures
It includes a bonus segment on File and Folder Management. It is a quick basic crash-course for those who are not yet familiar or comfortable with using files or folders on their pc.
Brian Richardson, a middle school computer literacy teacher, is the creator and the host. His demeanor is friendly, down-to-earth, and funny. He speaks on an elementary level, avoiding the big, scary terms that might scare a beginner away. He invites two middle-school aged children to “come along for the ride”. So they will be doing the lessons right alongside your child and they ask Mr. Richardson some of the same questions that your child might be thinking.
Mr. Richardson starts with the basic 10 lines of code and shows how those lines set up the frame for your webpage. He then goes on to the basics of designing your webpage: text colors, background colors, scrolling text, breaks, horizontal lines, backgrounds, images, text size, and more. There is definitely enough information in here for you or your child to create a first basic webpage.
After every change you make in the code, the host has you preview your webpage to see the results of it. He also has you purposely make mistakes in your code to show the results of that. There are instant results every step of the way, to improve your confidence. And at the end, you have a real webpage that you hand-coded.
What I Like: The DVD is reasonably priced, on sale at $19.99. The DVD is a reasonable length (1hr 22min), making it easy to complete in one or a few sittings. The instructor makes it easy to follow his directions every step of the way. Watching other children using HTML helps make it less intimidating for the children learning. The DVD is nice quality, with crisp sound and clear picture. I like that the lessons are on DVD, so I can watch the DVD while doing the lessons on my laptop. When you are done with the lessons, you really can make a basic webpage. A portion of the profits go to 5 charities (The Smile Train, Ronald McDonald House, Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, Children’s Miracle Network, and American Foundation for the Blind).
What I Don’t Like: A few of the html practices taught are a bit outdated and not the “norm” for HTML programmers any more. But everything taught in the DVD will work for beginners. It is a perfectly fine starting point for kids and for curious grown-ups. Any adults looking for a more in-depth study would, understandably look elsewhere.
How We Used It: My family watched it through once. Then my 10 year old daughter watched it through again while completing the exercises. She was able to complete all of the lessons. I then watched a portion of it again with my daughter, while doing the exercises alongside her. My 10yo enjoyed the DVD and felt that she learned a lot. She was very proud of her progress and was eager to show us her webpage design. My 7 year old wanted to work alongside her, but became very frustrated before finishing the first chapter. So you may wish to take that into account, when determining appropriate age-ranges for your child.
Would you like to read more reviews about this product?