Been doing an Advanced Computer Applications course for a few years, and have been reading that much of what is taught in HS in such a course is not relevant. Am particularly interested in others' opinions about how to teach web design: html, CSS or an app like Dreamweaver? Or something else?

Also, what would others consider "relevant" material in prep for college?

Tags: design, instruction, technology, web

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Given your time constraints I'd go with Dreamweaver despite the cost. Students get closer to instant gratification when using DW. I used to start them off with HTML and ended up with alot of glazed looks. Now we roll with DW first and then I sneak them into HTML via widgets and javascript copy/paste. Before they know it they are reading html.

Your time is likely too tight for this but I have had a fair amount of success with Fireworks/DW blend. Students are amazed at the graphical elements that they can integrate using this combo. You can do the same with Photoshop but it doesn't feel as seamless to them. Good luck.
Thanks Rod - we have been using DW/Fireworks/Photoshop in the past - I had just been reading an awful lot about CSS and HTML and was wondering if my students were "missing the boat" by not getting direct instruction in those 2 languages. I appreciate your reply.
CSS and HTML are core skills for web designers. The question is: are you teaching web design or a well crafted course that exposes students to apps that go beyond Word? For a survey course an editor is a reasonable skill set to teach and is one that will set them apart if they apply for a job where some web experience is a bonus. Even if they are on better ground when working with a pro web designer you will have done them a favor.

Whet their appetite for full-on web design, graphics and programming classes.
I am not just teaching web design - this is an Advanced Computer Applications course - so I'm trying to expose them to a variety of skills that will benefit them post-high school, such as: image editing, video editing, web design/development, making a podcast/vodcast. I have taught programming in the past, though it is not my strong suit. I'm not even sure what might be the best language/software to show them anymore. Any ideas on that front?
Thanks for all the thought you have put into your response. You've given me some ideas. I do want them to be able to understand the basics of web design such as page layout, balance, etc. and have had them create a 5-page site as a final project using DW. We already have a 500-seat site license so cost is not the issue. Having said that, I know that once they leave my classroom, they will NOT have DW and therefore would like to give them lots of "free" (or better said, open source) editors that allow them the opportunity to understand a) the purpose of a website, b) the fundamentals of its design (what works, what doesn't) and c) some of the technical issues (how to read the code well enough to be able to insert hit counters, snippets, widgets, etc. Keeping in mind that this is only a semester course and we are working with podcasting, video editing (just basics, nothing fancy!) and a few other life-skills types of projects, I have to be able to hone in on the most important topics w/ regard to web design.

Thanks again for all your insight.

Rod -

We do have Moodle and I'm pretty comfortable with it. I had never considered using it to post content they could access freely - I guess because I assumed they would never do that.

But you're right - if I put the tools out there, who knows what they may come up with? I am in the process of adding onto my Moodle site for this class with some Web 2.0 resources, your suggestion of adding on some of these web development resources to the Moodle page is a good one. Thanks for suggesting that. I'm going to make sure that's accessible before the year starts!

Thanks again!

Caught this conversation a bit late, but wanted to add an interesting resource/post. Dan Grover made a very thoughtful post called "Towards a Grand Unified Theory of N00bs" in which he deals with why the average joe just doesn't seem to get basic computer concepts.

While the entire post is a very good read, if you scroll to the middle he spends time covering "A computer Course for the 21st Century." Some good food for thought.



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