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Texas ISD School Guide
Texas ISD School Guide

Internet Tips

How to Teach Web Design in Middle School
By:Tim Searles

Web design is not as complicated as it may appear at first. As with any other art form, you have to deal with color, style, look and message. The difference in web design is the technical factor of usability. When teaching children, you have to make the subject relevant to them. Middle-school students are not strangers to the web, but perhaps they are to art. You should teach web design to middle-school children in a way that's engaging, interesting and creative.

Explain what a bad website is. To a middle-school student, a bad website is one that is boring and perhaps lacks color or animation. Explain that information and layout are as important to good websites as are movement and color.

Explain the color wheel. Show children the basic colors used in websites. For older or more advanced students, teach the hexadecimal code for colors. Create experiments to show what colors complement each other and which colors contrast with one another. Take students outside and let them see the everyday environment through the eyes of an artist. Help them isolate colors and ask them what they would change.

Explain font selection and layout. The fonts you use depend largely on the website's message and on its intended audience. Show children the differences between fonts used for kids' websites those used on professional or business websites.

Explain how to use images. Pictures are part of what give websites life. Show children websites that use only text and some that use imagery well. Explain how photography comes into play, especially in certain industries, such as sports and television.

Explain the relationship between design and development. Design is what the website will look like, whereas development is how it will be implemented. Every website is created as many as three times: once in the mind of the site owner, once in the mind of the designer and once in the mind of the developer (if those aren't all the same person). Ideally, all three merge at some point. Illustrate this with your school building, your car or any object that has been designed, engineered and built.

Show how to design animations. Most children have watched plenty of cartoons, so they're probably familiar with the concept of animation. Create a storyboard with them. Use a pad or stack of paper to create a flip animation: Make a series of slightly varied drawings on separate sheets, and flip the pages to see the drawing "move."

Display the source code of a website. Though a web designer may not have to develop the website or write the HTML code, it is good to expose children to the language of the web. Go to any website and view its source. This can be done by right-clicking with a mouse and selecting "View Page Source."

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