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Web Design For Kids

by Brian Richardson

Reviewed by Elliot Robinson

Purchase details: Web Design For Kids (...And Curious Grown-Ups!) by Brian Richardson. Vol. 1 DVD for $39.99. Available from Click Drag Solutions.

Brian Richardson, a middle school computer literacy teacher and technology expert planned and filmed "Web Design For Kids" as an introduction to HTML internet programming. Topics covered range from the basics that every HTML file must contain, to more complex topics such as color and images. The DVD also includes a bonus section to help newer computer users understand the organization of folders and files.

Web Design For Kids (...And Curious Grown-Ups!) is a single DVD introductory HTML course. Designed to be a practical alternative to the "New York telephone directory sized books" commonly associated with learning HTML, Web Design For Kids starts with the basic "html" and "body" tags required in every html file and progresses quickly through seven chapters, ending with making and displaying images using Microsoft Paint and the img tag. Onscreen text, step-by-step video instructions, insightful "commentary breaks", and the two youth helpers keep learning fun. Reviews are frequent, and often extensive (to the point of rewriting entire files in some cases.) Intentional mess-ups and "which one is right" quizzes also help enforce the watcher's understanding of the topic, and teaches attention to detail and basic troubleshooting. HTML formatting is explained with "sandwiches" and "sideways sandwiches" (opening and closing HTML tags,) as well as "stop signs" (forward slashes).

Recommendation: I have seldom seen so much information compressed into so little space in such a way that it was as understandable and interesting as Web Design For Kids (...And Curious Grown-Ups!) makes HTML. The program seems to be geared mainly toward the teen/preteen market; however, the information contained is valid for all ages. Although at times Denise and Chris (the youth helpers) seem a bit scripted, overall their performance is good enough even for adults. I would recommend that younger audiences take the course lesson by lesson, although mature teens and adults would be fully capable of learning in two or more lesson chunks.
I had a slight issue with use of the non-standard "marquee" tag (only works on Microsoft Internet Explorer), and several parameters such as "bgcolor" and "text" (deprecated by W3C in XHTML 1.0+), but due to the range of this course, (and the target age,) it would be impossible to introduce any sort of W3C compliance or CSS stylesheets. Overall, Web Design For Kids (...And Curious Grown-Ups!) is one of the best introductory courses I have seen, and it will get you well on your way to understanding HTML and computers. resources related to this review:

Review of Pure and Simple, Computer Science
Review of Logo, Programming for Children's Technology Section

About the Reviewer:

At the time of the review, Elliot is the 18-year-old son of Martha Robinson, the Review Page Editor for Very interested in everything electronic, he spends his spare time building computers, programming, and fixing his siblings' toys. At twelve years of age he got his Amateur (HAM) Radio license. He's currently working on courses at the community college under "dual enrollment."

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