I had a great chat with three youths this afternoon about web literacy.  They’ve decided they want to be named “Link” (11), “Stanley” (12) and “Jon” (12).  (“Do I have to pick a nickname?” “Nope.” “Okay, I want to be Jon then.”)

They all attended a HTML summer camp this summer and hated it, except for Stanley who liked the sports they did every afternoon, and the food.

On the class structure.

  • Teacher explained things on the board.
  • Activities to try.  (It sounds like they were using notepad or similar to type HTML, and then opened the same file in their browsers, so there was very slow feedback.)
  • Sports after lunch.
  • Final project on the last two days.

On why they hated it.

  • It was boring.  The lessons were too long.
  • Nothing ever worked right the first time.
  • They spent most of the class with their hand in the air waiting for help.
  • Too much memorization. (HTML tags)
  • Stanley: “I’m not good at computers.”

On what they feel the class taught them.

  • Colors have numbers instead of words.  (hex)
  • You have to open and close the tags.
  • If your tags are broken, it’s hard to know what’s wrong.
  • Jon: “Making a profile for someone else is funny, because you can write whatever you want.”
  • Stanley: Write down what you worked on that day, “so when you come back you remember what you were doing.”
  • Jon: “Save your work lots.”

Their final projects.

  • Link: TV fan page for “The Vampire Diaries” with pictures.
    • On how he got the pictures?  “Google search and then you find the picture and when you click on ‘Full size image’ you can see what you have to put in the picture tag.”
  • Stanley: An essay about the seasons.  (Link points out that that was the example on the work sheet.)
  • Jon: A game with a bunch of links and you have to guess which link is right, and if you click on the wrong link you go to wrong.html but if you click the right link you go to right.html.  “But people were just cheating and looking where it would go beforehand, so I wrote at the top of the page that that was cheating.”

On how it has changed how they use/see the web now.

  • (awkward silence)
  • Link: Find pictures for school projects.

If they wanted to learn how to do something else on the web, where would they go?

  • Look on the sheet of paper (handout) given to them.
  • Google search.
  • Ask friends.  (One friend in particular is apparently “good at this stuff”.)

If they had to teach HTML to someone how would they do it?

  • Better (more fun) examples.
  • Be allowed to choose their own partners.
  • Stanley: “I don’t know.  I still don’t really get it.”


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