Monday, June 3, 2013

TOS Review: Let's Make a Webpage

Let's Make a Web Page logo photo motherboardbooks-letsmakeawebpage_zpsc51e735a.pngA confession: When I was asked to review Let's Make a Webpage by Motherboard Books I was skeptical. Maybe even highly doubtful.

A web page building program for kids aged 8-14. At 10 and 11 Kaden and Adam scarcely use the computer, except to play games. Their keyboarding (once, we called it typing ... seems like a long time ago!) skills need a lot of work and while they've done some research on the computer I wouldn't expect them to be capable enough to make a web page of their own. So, either the program had to be very simple or over their heads, right?

Hmm ...

Let's Make a Web Page by Phyllis Wheeler is a 60 page e-book. I was sent a link, followed it, and downloaded the book in just one file. I was able to easily print it (two sided, to save paper) and then stuck it in a binder for the boys. Very simple.

The program recommends using a specific web page editor called Coffee Cup. I think you could use others, but since this was what the author was using it was what we used. I installed the program for the boys, not feeling terribly comfortable about having them do that on their own on the computer.

Once the web page editing program was installed I handed the boys the printed e-book and the laptop and left the room to sew some ties.

The next time I saw one of the boys he had a web page with shooting fireworks and background images.
He'd interviewed one of his sisters, learned how to search the internet for images and sound files, learned how to save them on the computer, and learned how to save his entire page and view it using a web browser. He'd also taken a picture of his sister from my computer and put it on the web page, front and center. And he'd done that all by himself.

Skeptical no more! More like very impressed and excited.

Both boys loved this program and both of them, in no time at all with very little assistance, had created really cool, exciting, full-of-neat-stuff web pages.

The only problem we ran into was putting sound on the web pages. Try as we might we couldn't get that lesson to work, so we skipped it.

The instructions are very clear and easy to follow. The author is very thorough in her explanations and directions. Ms. Wheeler writes very conversationally, so while she used technical terms they're presented in a friendly easy-to-understand manner.

Since building their web pages they've both gone back in and added and edited, adjusting graphics, colors, and fonts. And, unlike some of their schoolwork, I've had not once had to tell them to work on it. It's also obvious that they're more confident and comfortable with the computer, which is so important as the computer becomes such a big part of school and everyday lives.

This skeptical Mama is impressed.

Let's Make a Webpage is geared towards kids ages 8 and up. It can be purchased at Motherboard Books for $19.95.

 Click to read more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew.

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