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Web Design For Kids (. . . and Curious Grown-Ups) DVD Review by Kelly Miller

Click Drag Solutions
PO Box 6984
Houston, Texas 77265

In the sometimes complicated world of computer technology, Brian Richardson, middle school computer literacy teacher, created an easy-to-understand, step-by-step DVD that unmasks the art of fundamental HTML Web design and makes it user-friendly for upper elementary kids, and even curious adults. Richardson is also the founder of the Click Drag Solutions and Foundation, which helps provide technology instruction to "at-risk" youth in urban neighborhoods.

This first DVD of the Web Design for Kids series covers the anatomy of basic coding by defining the ten basic lines of code, along with adding fonts, text, colors, tags, backgrounds, pictures, and paragraphs. There's even a bonus section on file management.

Your child will need a laptop or PC that utilizes Notepad and Internet Explorer (basic programs on all computers); however, they do not have to have an Internet connection during the Web design process. My 12-year-old daughter loved the DVD and enjoyed being able to see the progress of her work right away. We also like the way the menu offered chapter selections, which enabled her to focus on one chapter per learning session, rather than viewing the entire DVD at one time or forgetting where we left off. The only thing that distracted us a bit was the narration, which was at times hard to understand. Other than that, we thought it was a great way to learn beginning HTML. We would have loved to have an accompanying book or workbook to go with the DVD so that we could reference the material learned. I am amazed at my daughter's eagerness to design her own Web pages after viewing Mr. Richardson's DVD, and it has certainly piqued her interest for further exploration in Web design.

What a blessing to know that our children are not the only ones benefiting from this instructional DVD, because the proceeds from it are also helping "at-risk" children in the inner city, as well as five different charity organizations: Ronald McDonald House, Children's Miracle Network, The Smile Train, Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, and The American Foundation for the Blind. Thank you, Mr. Richardson, for making a difference in this world one child at a time. What a wonderful Web design resource for generations to come. I highly recommend this product!

Product review by Kelly Miller, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, December 2007

and two more reviews on the same product

This is a fantastic DVD. We had a few problems logistically getting this going (it would not work on our computer so we had to watch it on TV), but it was great fun. It was amusing to watch my kids writing instructions down on paper and running to the computer to try it out. They have had such fun changing the color of their text, their scrolling text message, background, text size, etc. My 13-year-old son is fairly computer literate and didn't have any trouble at all. My 11-year-old granddaughter is not nearly so computer savvy, but with a little help she managed to keep up well.

The DVD provides instruction in using HTML to design a website. No Internet connection is needed as this can be done on the computer using Notepad, which comes with every Windows operating system. The teaching is done by a middle school computer literacy teacher who gives very friendly, easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions.

I highly recommend this DVD for a basic, beginner HTML course for anyone age pre-teen and up. It can easily be worked into the curriculum because the kids won't even know they're doing school unless you tell them. My learners have spent hours doing this on their "own time."

Product review by Nancy Wagner, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, December 2007

As with many products we have reviewed, Web Design for Kids came at a perfect time. My son had just asked me if he could design his own website, to which I encouragingly remarked, "Of course you can." Then followed the tough question that all technically challenged mothers fear, "How do I do it Mom?" Of course, I could have said, "Go ask your father," which would have seemed perfectly legitimate since I have a love/hate relationship with computers.

We decided to invite Brian Richardson (via this DVD) to help us navigate the deep, dark world of creating websites. Since we have all the necessary equipment--interested kid, curious grown-up, and a computer--we were ready for the lesson. I opened the box and saw only a disk. I asked my son where the manual was. Fortunately, he was ready for this question: "Mom, the disk is the manual."

The menu of the DVD is as follows:

  • Play All
  • Bonus Section
  • Chapter Selections
  • Charities

Of course, I selected "Play All" since I figured I'd need all the help I could get.

The Bonus Section is a learning tool to help with file management. The concept of a metal file cabinet, manila file folders, and papers to organize provided a concrete explanation of how file management works. For instance, the metal file cabinet is "named C:", the file folders are the file name, and the papers needing to be filed are the documents. Even though I already understood this aspect of the computer, the analogy was still helpful.

Next, the chapters deliver the fundamental instruction for creating Web pages using only Notepad, Paint, and Internet Explorer. Moreover, this introduction to HTML will be helpful to viewers who choose to move on to Web development programs such as Dreamweaver or FrontPage.

In each chapter you learn by doing. Mr. Richardson teaches a concept and then you do it on your computer. On the DVD, there are two students who are learning along with you. They often ask questions that you would be asking if you were sitting in his Web design class. The concepts covered are basic HTML code, adding pictures, coloring letters and backgrounds, and making text move across the screen. Meanwhile, Mr. Richardson is giving specific instructions to help you navigate within your computer system. You are also shown what happens when you make a mistake, which teaches attention to detail. Each new chapter reinforces what was learned in the previous segment, which is especially helpful if you must break up your viewing of the lessons into parts.

Brian Richardson is a middle school computer literacy teacher and a technology expert. He makes each topic and task make perfect sense, and thus it seems easy to do. In spite of my fears, I was able to acquire skills without feeling taxed or stressed. I came away with the feeling, "I can actually do this." I couldn't wait to show off my new abilities. My son Ryan was just as impressed with how much we learned in a short time and was willing to clap for me when I showed him how well I was doing.

Product review by Stephanie D. Scarborough and Ryan C. Scarborough, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, December 2007