Yes, I have a blog on the internet; and I’ve learned a few things about attaching links to text and photos. For this post, I even learned how to take a screen shot of a web page. Needless to say, my skills are extremely limited and I feel like I am nearly technologically illiterate. Therefore, I’m not comfortable teaching computer anything to my children. I’m grateful there are now computer courses for younger children available from Phyllis Wheeler, the Computer Lady at Motherboard Books.
My Schoolhouse Review Crew mates and I recently had the opportunity to review two products from Motherboard Books: Logo Adventures – a full-year, homeschool computer science curriculum using MicroWorlds Logo language developed at MIT; and the concise, short-term project e-book, Let’s Make a Web Page.
Logo Adventures is designed as a weekly lesson for 8 – 12 year olds, teaching students to read and write code, think logically, and strengthen their reasoning skills; as Ms. Wheeler walks them through the basic steps of starting to program while laying the foundation for understanding what it means to program.
Logo Adventures Curriculum is a self-study book and answer key, plus MicroWorlds EX software for $129.99. You can check out the Logo Adventures website for a sample chapter, and a Gallery page of student work. I’m interested in reading the Crew Reviews for this one, because I didn’t have personal access to it.
A couple of my children used the 60-page tutorial e-book, Let’s Make a Web Page. It is also written for children 8 – 12 years of age, but was easily adaptable for someone older, me. Using free trial software – CoffeeCup Visual Site Designer, this e-book will show you or your child how to make a Web page. It’s just $19.95, and it includes an Introduction for Parents, 10 step-by-step lessons — from download, set up, add text and photos, to sound, links, and post your work; with an Appendix: How to Upload to the Internet.
Let’s Make a Web Page is easy to read and my kids found the instructions simple to understand and follow. One of the first things Ms. Wheeler does is coach the student through an interview process to determine who and what their web page will be about. Neither of my children had any prior experience building a web page. They talked to me, and I explained the types of things I wanted our web page to contain; while leaving the entire design and layout up to them. I told them I wanted it to be about our family. A place where we could scan and share pictures, stories, drawings, music; and more.
Granted, the name isn’t the most creative, but the layout looks like they understood what I was looking for, and I like it! We learned what HTML is and how it works; and they learned how to link text and pictures to other sites. They had to do a little research, and were given important tips on how to safely browse the internet. I think this is especially valuable information and I appreciate that it is included in the course. My young web designers liked how Ms. Wheeler showed a graphic of the window they should see if they are following her directions and are on the correct page. This was useful for comparison, reassuring to them that they were understanding the material; and a confidence builder as they worked. They were not as fond of a learn-by-error teaching technique that was used several times. She would direct them a certain way, purposefully wrong, have them acknowledge that it didn’t work; and then redirect them in a way that would successfully accomplish the task. Although it was effective, they felt it was a waste of time. They prefer the do this>go here>see the positive result approach. Overall, though, it wasn’t a deterrent; because Let’s Make a Web Page took away the fear of the unknown, eased concerns of difficulty and failure, and sparked a desire to learn more about computer programming and web design.
We haven’t published our web page, yet. As suggested by Ms. Wheeler, I’m going to have my kids design another page or two and have a family vote to determine our favorite. Then, I think we’ll find a free domain and publish it, so we can all keep up more easily with each other’s activities. I’ll post an update here when we’ve settled on our final design.
My Crew mates have written more than 50 reviews of these Motherboard Books products. Please, click the banner below and follow the link to read a few of their opinions.
Disclaimer* I received the e-book, Let’s Make a Web Page, in exchange for my honest review as a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew. I receive no other compensation for my reviews on this blog. The opinions expressed are my own.
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