Review of Motherboard Books: Let's Make a Web Page
I am very aware that my children usually know more about the computer than I do. However, I've tried pretty hard as a parent to stay current. My older kids are getting into technology more and more, but my younger two are still less knowledgeable. I thought it would be very interesting to take a look at Motherboard Book's program for ages 8 and up- Let's Make a Web Page.
Let's Make a Web Page sells for $19.95 and comes as an ebook. It is meant to be a short term project for ages 8 and up.
I started this program with great expectations. I was using it with my younger girls- ages 7 (almost 8) and 9. Ashlyne and Rachel were somewhat excited. I'm not sure they really cared to learn how to make a web page. But learning more about the computer and how to do something with it appealed to them.
My girls are fairly computer literate. All of my children began using computers at a pretty early age. Although we restrict social media, we do allow the internet, and the younger girls are quite good at knowing their way around with the computer. I thought that this knowledge would prepare them for this program.
From the start, the program was not a good fit. The software needed to develop the web page is called Coffee Cup. It is a paid program, but there is a 30 day free trial. I had no problems with the download and set up. I did have problems figuring out how to use it. And, I came back to the program after the 30 days was up and couldn't open the program. So, I concluded that it wouldn't then open again unless I paid for the subscription.
I also had problems with the project book being an ebook. I noticed before that this was an issue when reading a book teaching a computer topic. I can't read the book on my computer and work on the website at the same time. I can send the book to my Kindle. But, I know not everyone has a Kindle. I would prefer a physical book.
I noticed that there was quite a bit of prior knowledge assumed. The author does describe HTML as a "programming language." But other than that brief introduction, no explanation is given. And when she begins describing how to do certain tasks, such as saving files, she says what words to click but doesn't really offer any explanation about why it is done.
Ashlyne and Rachel were lost from the beginning. Perhaps they were too young. My older son, Charles (age 12), was working nearby when I first began this project with them, and he didn't understand much of what I read out loud either. Given some time and with the ebook in front of him, he probably could have figured it out. But it definitely didn't work with my younger two.
I ended up doing the majority of the work. There were a few minor things they could do- mostly taking notes for the interview at the beginning (what they were to put on the web page when they made it). But, for most of the project, I was reading and doing; and they were lost.
I liked the premise of this project. I think that creating a web page is something that most kids would enjoy. The software, as I mentioned before, worked easily; though the limited use was a concern.
Perhaps we just weren't as technologically adept as we needed to be for this project. Perhaps older students could have worked more independently and been successful. But, unfortunately, this just wasn't a good fit for my kids.
You can see what other families thought about Let's Make a Web Page or Logo Adventures- another Motherboard Books product- by clicking below.