Why Learn Web Design?
Written by Chris Yust, from Homeschool Programming, Inc.
When your students are ready to move beyond core subjects and choose a technical elective, they will have many options. Consider offering your kids a chance to learn how to design their own web pages! Today you have many great resources to support this effort, and web design is a long-term skill that both technical and non-technical students can use throughout their academic and professional lives.
What is Web Design?
The term “web design” includes both the high-level graphical design of web pages and the low-level coding necessary to create those pages. Some software tools will hide the low-level coding from you and allow users to create web pages with a visual drag-n-drop environment, just like using a word processor or presentation software. But visual design tools such as Adobe Dreamweaver can cost money. You could instead choose to create a web page from scratch by writing code in simple text editors that come for free with your operating system.
Web Design for the Non-Technical Student
Not every student will grow up to be a software engineer, but nearly every student can find web design useful as they move through their academic and professional lives. Has your student ever considered writing a blog? Or is your child an entrepreneur that wants to start a small business? Perhaps your kids want to share their cool hobby with some friends or the entire world!
These examples demonstrate reasons why everyone may consider creating a web page at some point in their lives. If you don’t know any web design skills, then your options are somewhat limited. You can pay someone else to do it, or try to find some visual design tools that don’t cost too much and don’t take any expertise. However, if you DO know even basic web design skills, then you can more confidently create your blog or website using a variety of tools.
Web Design for the Tech-Savvy Student
If your student is considering a career in computers, then web design skills become even more important. Students taking technical classes in high school and college may be called on to create a web page to demonstrate results of a project. Computer science students learning a programming language may be asked to write a script that produces a web page in response to some user input. Or, your student might want to study web design as a career and become responsible for producing the kind of polished, high-quality websites you visit every day on the Internet.
Regardless of the technical track your student takes, the odds are at some point it will be assumed they know at least some basic web design skills. So it’s a good idea to introduce web design to your budding techie, even if he or she might not consider web design as a long-term career.
Tools of the Trade
OK, so your eager students are ready to learn web design. What do they need? A big fancy computer? Special software? Nope! Simple web pages can be created in any text editor program that comes already installed on your computer, like Windows Notepad or Mac’s TextEdit. This means that all you need is a personal computer, some basic computer skills and your imagination! You don’t need to set up a web server or install new software.
If your student just wants to dabble a little, you can find free online web design tutorials that may fit your needs perfectly. In fact, Homeschool Programming offers a free 45-minute video workshop that will show you the basics.
To incorporate web design into your homeschool classroom as a one-semester or full-year elective, consider the KidCoder: Web Design self-study courses for 4th-12th graders. Students can learn how to create their own web pages with step-by-step instructions, hands-on activities, and a full curriculum that can be administered by parents with no technical expertise. Put this class on your schedule and your students will thank you!
About the Author
Chris Yust has 17 years of experience as a software engineer and is co-author of the KidCoder and TeenCoder computer programming courses for 4th-12th grade students. Find out more about computer programming and website design for kids and teens at www.HomeschoolProgramming.com!