So how do we teach this stuff?

I haven’t taken a class in any sort of computer language since my first semester of college at NYU. It was something like “Intro to Principles of Programming,” and a noble fellow tried to teach us PASCAL at about 730am. It did not go well; I learned little, but earned that one class worth of Math/Science I needed for my degree. I should have taken “Natural Science I – Explore Light & Color

Anyway, it was a chalkboard and notebook class. I never saw my code do anything in a computer. And that was actually a step back from elementary school, where we learned BASIC on Commodore 64s. Yes, I am that old. At least there, we all sat in front of our own machines and coded 10 ? “My name is Ryan.” / 20 ? GOTO 10.

commodore 64

So what’s the ideal way to teach html/css?

If I were teaching it, I’d want to be able to see what students were putting together — a code-friendly wiki might be ideal — let all the students access and modify the page, and as they adjust things, I hit refresh on my projector-connected laptop.

Is that all even necessary? Is it better to just turn students loose on a blog and let them figure out on their own which button makes the text bold and which italicizes it?

I learned this stuff by setting up a Blogspot blog and just looking at the code and substituting my own images, colors, fonts, sizes, etc. for what came with the template I had chosen. Then, I moved to Blogsome, which hosts WordPress blogs. Same game there — played with html and css until I liked it. Next, I bought a book on HTML and went to town, creating a web page using Wordpad or Notepad and testing things out offline in my browser.

Finally, mom bought me an URL and some server space. I installed my own totally customizable WordPress blog and have learned plenty just by tweaking templates and styles there. Last summer I dug into the Smarty/PHP code of the Spartan Daily’s online version, and since then I’ve learned more about coding html and css without using stuff like GoLive or Dreamweaver by working on a couple little prototype sites for audio/text/photo slideshows and the like. I plan to learn Flash next semester one way or the other — not so I can put annoying lander pages on web sites, but so I can create graphics and slideshows for news and storytelling purposes.

In fact, I’m nosing around the SJSU catalog right now. If anyone out there has taken EDIT 127, let me know. Otherwise, I might lay down the cash for some sort of short seminar/workshop type of thing. Again, if you’ve got something to recommend, don’t be shy.

[tags]j-school, html, flash, sjsu, BASIC[/tags]