My eldest boy Cian had been asking me about web pages for quite a while now and how I create the various ones of mine he has seen.
A few years ago I enrolled in an online training course with Skillsoft, which has since changed ownership but you can still find them under Skillsoft, or Skillport. I had a look on the courses that they have and found an introduction to HTML. Cian has spent the last two nights spending an hour or so going through the various tuturials and I think is halfway through the second section.
Most times when the kids are on the computer I run a VNC session to their computer as I will often get a yahoo IM to ask me how to do something. That and the fact I want to make sure they are not up to anything that they shouldn’t be doing, but they’ve yet to fall over to the Dark Side – (Yes I know, but I am still in Star Wars mode).
When I switched to his screen tonight, there he was, Notepad open (the worlds best open source web page development tool!) writing his first web page.
He already has the concept of html tags sorted ( <p>,<h1><body><head><b><center> etc etc). After I showed him how to save it with a .html extension and then how to open a local file in a browser, his first page displayed. I think he was rather chuffed to say the least.
He then spent another 30 minutes finishing off that section of the training he was doing, and then came down to say goodnight before he went off to sleep. He was asking questions about styles and CSS, etc etc. Cian is the most creative in an artistic way of the three of them, although Eilis has been developing her essay writing and artwork quite recently. (Tiarnan is the problem solver just so I don’t leave him out of the equation, no pun intended).
So long as school work and sleep does not get disturbed, I try to let the kids do as much time on the computer as I can. There are a few rules such as (i) Play outside if it is sunny before going near the computer, (ii) An hour each on a game, (iii) No games on school nights, but if they want to use the computer for research or just reading the news, I place no limits. My wife Anne-Marie isn’t in total agreement with me on that part, but I believe that the more they understand ‘IT’ these days, the better it will stand them in the future.
I reckon before the end of the week, Cian will have a complete web page done, and I might even set his own blog up. I have been thinking of setting up a blog site just for kids where it is safe for them to post, view etc. This might just spur me into action.
He has had trouble getting over his glandular fever and is still feeling quite tired after a full school day, but he is really enjoying this HTML course and it has been good to watch him learn and his enthusiasm grow. With all the website development I have coming in, I might even have to employ him myself soon. Who needs a paper round at £10 a week, when you can earn £20/hr for doing website development. Where was HTML when I was young 🙁