Images, Web Design, Internet Safety, Coding and much more…

At coms4kids we have a refreshing approach. We don’t use ‘click and drag’ software and teach kids subjects in isolation, oh no!  Kids love to learn in an innovative and fun environment, so we create that in every session. We run several after school technology clubs in web design around Guildford, Surrey and use the same technology (platform) used by businesses and professionals right now around the Globe. That means children towards the end of Primary School learn how to use REAL technology. This club topic allows the children to be one step ahead of their peers moving into secondary education, and also helps to ensure they are empowered to be safer online.

Phase 1 – Images (modules 1 – 3)

All Primary School children know how to write.  However, they often know very little about images and video. The best websites look amazing not because of their text, but because of their graphics. Instead of teaching kids how to ‘play’ with images, we teach them everything critical to manipulating images for web and print, understanding colours, pixels, size and file types. A fun dynamic lesson works backwards from the human eye, realising that it detects the colours Red, Green and Blue, and how we have developed technology that utilises those same colours.  We use professional image manipulation software to create some insane images, practicing our skills and pushing out some creative geniuses. We then use those new skills to create specific images for our websites.

Using Pixlr in web design club Guildford, Surrey

Phase 2 – Web Design (modules 4 – 10)

Which web design platform do we use for coms4kids?

There is no point showing the next generation a system that only a few people use. Website design platforms like Wix and Weebly are easy to use and have their place, but their market share is only 1-2%… what’s the point in that? Kids need to learn the dominant platform used by businesses, professionals, organisations, schools and clubs right now.  The good news is that it is totally free, and VERY powerful. At coms4kids we teach the children how to use WordPress. This website is built using it, and so are 80% of all the websites online with a Content Management System (CMS).  That means WordPress is powering a quarter of the 1 Billion websites currently active out there.  Empowering kids online means giving them the right tools.

What areas of web design and coding does the club cover?

The website design modules start nice and easy and then get progressively challenging. Just like the Internet, there are lots of choices. We integrate the images we created in phase 1 and dramatically change the look and feel of our sites, learning about pages, posts, menus, favicons, galleries, sliders and so much more…

The key to this is to let everyone create a website they want. WordPress is incredibly flexible and allows for some really whizzy stuff. If they want to create a whole page image carousel with items zooming around, then they can do that easily. Or maybe they want to add Youtube videos and other media to their site, then they can do that too. We oversee every site and parents have the logins too. The kids learn how powerful it all is and are taught professionally. This means they become empowered to use their sites safely. We also hide their sites from external view during the club.

It is also important not to teach items in isolation. The kids get to know how the Internet was created, and why it is designed the way it is.  They get the opportunity to dabble with some core website code (HTML and CSS), and they get interactive learning about servers, databases, domains and IP addresses. All the coding and introduction is basic at first and we play with selectors, tags, elements and variables to build a fundamental understanding of what does what, and how it all fits together. From simply changing the colour of something using CSS to animating snow across the screen using Javascript, the kids realise that it really isn’t rocket science after all.

The challenge is to leave the children with a decent looking website, although in reality there is soooo much fun to be had really digging in and changing settings, content and dynamic items that it isn’t always the case. Many of the kids use their sites to really experiment and that’s exactly the right thing to do! The knowledge they gain can be used to create a brilliant new website in future.

website design technology club Guildford
coding club Guildford

A note on E-safety

We turn the kids into ‘coms4kids detectives’ in an extensive e-safety module which covers website and personal safety. By getting the kids to understand just how much personal information can be obtained through simple means online, they realise how insecure the Internet can be.  By popular demand, this module has almost doubled in size as we cover almost all the main topics that concern parents and teachers. Our approach is dynamic and fun. We don’t scare the kids, and we only cover topics from an IT perspective, leaving the fundamental ‘talks’ that parents need to have with kids strictly in the domain of parents or guardians.  This approach gives the kids the power and confidence to make informed decisions whilst online. If they manage to build a profile of someone using freely available information and use a clever series of ‘trust-building’ conversations, then they understand how anyone can do the same to them.

Something tangible to take away

This club will give the kids the opportunity to take their website away at the end and continue to develop it.  Based on their new skills, they should also be able to teach friends and family how to use the professional image manipulation and web design software for their own project. Obviously there is a cost associated with keeping their own website or building a new one, but website hosting is very reasonably priced and we are happy to make recommendations.

If you would like more information, then please get in touch.

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