Tuesday, May 28, 2013

About Web Design / HTML: Kids and HTML

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Web Design / HTML

Design Basics



From Jennifer Kyrnin, your Guide to Web Design / HTML
I learned programming when I was a kid. It probably dates me to admit that the first language I learned in school was Pilot. I remember making that little “turtle” move around the screen, and it was so exciting when my programs turned it just before the walls. I also learned to write BASIC on a TRS-80 computer at home. I believe that learning programming as a child helped me be more analytical as an adult. My nature is to ignore the little details and take in the big picture, but when you're programming you can't do that. In fact, when I first started learning HTML, I found it really frustrating because there were all these little details that I was inclined to ignore. But then I started thinking about writing the programs as a kid and I realized that I could do it, I would just have to focus a bit more than I was inclined to.

Kids Can Learn HTML

HTML is technically not a programming language, it's a markup language. But it's still a great language for kids to learn. What's nice about HTML is that it isn't a particularly difficult language to learn. Most of the elements are based on English words (or the first few letters of them). And learning HTML is a great way for kids to see how a computer works, by seeing how characters like > and < can combine with letters to make something vastly different on a web page.

In fact, that's often what fascinates (and adults, let's be honest) kids about programming. Taking lines of what at first looks like gobbledegook and seeing that it ’does” something when on the computer can be pretty empowering. (Even if it is just moving a turtle around a screen!)

HTML Can Help Kids Learn to Write

One of the things that learning HTML can do for kids is help them to learn more about grammar and style in their writing. This is different from learning real programming languages, because HTML marks up the actual text that will be displaying on the web page. So children learn how to write as they learn HTML. After all they have to write something so that there is something to show on their page.

I think learning HTML is something that can help many kids in many different ways. For example, you may wish that kids learn a second language to help improve their speech and language skills in their first language. Well, learning a programming or markup language like HTML can do almost all the same things. You use the same centers of the brain to learn a programming language as you do to learn a spoken language. I believe that my linguistics background helped me to learn HTML (and the other programming languages I've learned) more quickly.

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Jennifer Kyrnin
Web Design / HTML Guide
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