Jun 6, 2013

TOS Crew Review: Motherboard Books

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I was pretty excited when Princess Belle and I recently had the opportunity to review Let's Make a Web Page by Motherboard Books. This 60-page e-book was written for students ages 8 & up. This e-book {available for $19.95} was written to serve as a short-term project for students to complete fairly independently. 8-10 year olds may need adult help, while older students can do it alone. In order to be able to do the lessons, you need to download a free 30 day trial of a software program called CoffeeCup Visual Designer. After the 30 days, there is a charge of $49. This software is essentially a drag and drop style designer, allowing you to create a web page without having to learn any HTML or styling code. It's a good introduction to the concept of web design.

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You can download the program and use it for free for 28 days.  Let’s Make a Web Page takes you step by step through the process of building a simple website including backgrounds, photos, text, images, and sound.  In addition to the instructions in website building it includes tips, warnings, and suggested sites for finding items to add to your webpage.

The website says that these lessons are good for ages  8-12. This was accurate for us, Princess Belle is 11 and is a complete novice at programming and it was ideal for her. 
This book was written by Phyllis Wheeler, nicknamed "The Computer Lady".  She is a mechanical engineer and veteran homeschooler who has helped many kids develop a strong knowledge of computers. She couldn't find a curriculum for homeschoolers that taught these essential skills, so she created them herself. In 60 pages, ten lessons, it teaches your child the following (I am pasting right from the site):

Table of Contents: Introduction for Parents
Lesson 1: An Interview
Lesson 2: Download and Set Up the Program
Lesson 3: Add Text
Lesson 4: Make a Table
Lesson 5: Add Photo
Lesson 6: From the Internet, Add Animations
Lesson 7: Browser Check, Backgrounds, Photos
Lesson 8: Sound
Lesson 9: Links
Lesson 10: Post Your Work
Appendix: How to Upload to the Internet

Princess Belle and I had fun with this.  Choosing the elements to make her webpage really fueled her creative side. The book really encourages you to be creative and do things your own way.  This really is a great course for an introduction to programming.  It is clear, with easy to understand directions and an enjoyable writing style and it is definitely very affordable, using a free software, so you just buy the course.  I think that this is a very good value for the money and a really good beginner project for a child who has an interest. I would buy it to use for D a couple of years from now and I think it would be a great introduction.

Many other of my crewmates reviewed this program as well, so be sure to see what their experiences were with it!


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