Monday, August 24, 2009

TOS Review: Web Design for Kids and Curious Adults

As we travel back home this week, I’ll be posting a few TOS Homeschool Crew Reviews.

This first one is for the DVD Web Design for Kids (...And Curious Grownups!). When I received this in the mail, I was excited because I enjoy fiddling around with the HTML code on my blog. I know just enough to be dangerous, and I’ve always wanted to learn more. Since I do not enjoy reading instruction manuals of any kind, I’ve never taken the time to read a book about web design. Watching a how-to video was right up my alley.

Brian Richardson, a middle school computer literacy teacher and technology expert, gives step-by-step instructions that help you to create your very own web page. Mr. Richardson’s demeanor is friendly and encouraging as he teaches you how to understand and use HTML, the mysterious language that you’ve probably encountered if you have a blog.

Here are just a few of the things that I learned how to do from watching the video:

*Understand the meaning and function of basic HTML code
*Make my own heading for a webpage
*Change font size
*Add/Change background and font colors
*Make font move across the page

One of my favorite things about this video is that two middle school students are included in the presentation. They follow Mr. Richardson's instruction right along with the viewer. Because he interacts with the students while they work at their computers, the format is conversational and interesting rather than being just a boring lecture.

Another great feature is that Mr. Richardson demonstrates each of his verbal instructions on his computer, and you, the viewer, can see screenshots of each action being carried out. For example, if he tells to you to click on something or to type a certain word, he does it on his computer, and you can see it on his monitor. This is wonderful for visual learners.

Here are a few other aspects of the video that I really liked:

*Mr. Richardson only uses three programs to make the webpage. All three are included for free on the majority of computers: Notepad, Paint, and Internet Explorer (or some other browser). It's great to know that you already have what you need to build your own page!

*The instructions are easy-to-understand.

*Information is broken down into bite-size pieces.

*New concepts are reinforced during short review segments.

*The format is well-organized and facilitates an enjoyable learning experience.

*Mr. Richardson's cheerful personality makes it a fun experience.

*It is interactive if you choose to carry out his instructions on your own computer while watching the video. This makes it enjoyable because you're learning by doing, and you can see the progress you're making, as your web page begins to take shape right before your eyes!

*Building a webpage is a useful and relevant skill to have in today's techno-savy world and in the current economy.

*Even though the information is presented in such a way that it would engage children, I felt it was entirely enjoyable and useful for grownups too!

If you or your child are interested in the basics of web page design, this DVD would be a fun, rainy day activity to do together.

For a limited time only, Web Design for Kids and Curious Grownups is on sale for $19.99 plus $3.99 for shipping and handling. It is regularly priced at $40.00. If the price seems a bit steep, I encourage you to keep in mind that a portion of all funds generated by the sale of this DVD will be distributed to the following five charities: The Smile Train, Ronald McDonald House, Childrens Miracle Network, Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, and the American Foundation for the Blind.

You can learn more, read testimonials, and order the DVD at the Web Design for Kids site.

If you'd like to read more reviews of this product from other TOS Homeschool Crew members, check out the Crew Blog.

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