[thelist] Web workshop for youth - the redux

Paul Bennett Paul.Bennett at wcc.govt.nz
Wed Jan 24 16:11:28 CST 2007

Hi all,

 for those that were interested, I decided to get the youth I was teaching last night (for 10 whole minutes) to edit a plain html page (change title, change h1, edit a link) and then add a stylesheet and edit some of the values (colours and borders seemed to be the big favourites).

I had a max of two students per class, so they had a laptop each with just a text editor (Notepad++ was nice and simple) and a browser.

Basically it went like this:
- introduce myself and what I do
- explain we'll be 'making' a 2 page website in 10 minutes
- jump into the source code, edit the title etc of the first page
- refresh and show them where the changes occurred (this is where the "hey cool!" comments started)
- get them to click the link to page2 which had a stylesheet attached
- they noticed it looked way nicer
- introduce css and get them to open up the css file
- get them to look at the rules and guess what each does
- get them to change colours etc (most everyone liked this)
- sum up by 'selling' web development as a career and outlining they don't have to be maths / computer geniuses to get into it.

Lessons learned:
- the small class size was _perfect_ to allow everyone to keep up
- 10 minutes isn't a lot of time, but it is plenty if you're organised and get stuck straight in
- basic html and css make a lot of natural sense. Most kids were able to look at the code and get a good idea of what was going on, which made it a cool experience for them
- Even the least computer literate kids (including a couple who had English as a second language) were able to complete the tasks - testament to how simple html and css can be to work with
- The hardest part for the kids was using the touchpad mouse on the laptop. 'Normal' mice would make things easier 
- Getting a simple win in early (editing the html and seeing the changes straight away) boosted kids confidence and made it more interesting
- Kids were scared to touch the code, but once they did and saw how easy it was there was no stopping them.
- When you care about the subject, make it fun and can be naturally enthusiastic, kids will love it

In short, it was a very rewarding experience and I'd love to teach a 30 minute class and get more in depth (it may just happen... :) )


More information about the thelist mailing list