My daughter and I were SO excited to try out Beginning Web Design by KidCoder Series. She loves technology and has wanted to learn some things about the behind-the-scenes for awhile now. When she found out she could learn to build her own web page, she was sold!
When we received the books and the CDs, we unpacked everything and got to work. Ellie started reading and I started downloading. I will admit that she was not as excited about the reading as she was about the doing, but she admitted that it was necessary to understand the background. (On a side note, if your child struggles with reading, especially with nonfiction reading, you may want to read it with him/her or break it into small pieces).
After she got the background knowledge she needed, Ellie was ready to work. She was able to learn where to find a lot of the files and items she doesn’t usually look for by following the directions laid out in the book. After reading and poking around a bit, she was able to complete a “scavenger hunt” and look for a secret message. She really enjoyed that part! What she didn’t realize is that she was putting in to practice what she had been reading about!
I liked that while the technology terminology isn’t always kid-friendly, KidCoder did a great job of breaking it down into understandable chunks, while not making it sound too babyish. This is not easy to do! For example, when explaining why opening tags need to be in angle brackets, they used terminology that many kids would be familiar with. They called the symbols “greater than and less than signs” and explained how they were like crocodiles eating their prey (the symbols look like crocodile mouths; the prey is the tag that is in the middle). When learning greater than and less than at school or at home, many teachers/parents use the visual of alligators eating the big number. Ellie instantly noticed that connection and the information “stuck” with her easier!
I also appreciated that they made it clear that different people have different ideas about how to do something. There isn’t one right way to code an empty tag, for example. Some people put a space before the slash in an empty tag while others don’t. They explain their reason for teaching us one of the ways over the other ways.
There is a LOT of information included in this program! I can see it being used for an entire school year, especially for elementary or middle school students. We have not made it halfway yet, but have already learned so much! And, yes, I mean WE have learned a lot. I thought I knew quite a bit about technology, but I gained so many new insights to how things work, and more importantly, WHY they work that way! I am very pleased with the Beginning Web Design KidCoder program and can’t wait to see what Ellie makes with it next!