Teaching HTML and CSS to the next generation of designers and developers

Teaching HTML and CSS to the next generation of designers and developers

January 8, 2016

A web developer with appreciation for design and an eye for detail can dream of how a product should look and function, and have the ability to transform what they envisaged into an interactive product using the power of HTML5 and CSS3. Our front-end developer, Emma Woodhouse, is teaching HTML and CSS for the local Code Club. There are still spaces left! If your daughter or son wants to get an insight into the ever-changing world of technology, sign them up to Code Club now! Want more information? Emma explains everything you'll need to know in this post.

On Saturday 16th January I will be teaching students aged 11-18 on a brand new shiny Code Club course, an Introduction to HTML5 and CSS3, on behalf of SyncDevelopHER. I will be working alongside the founder of SyncDevelopHER, Vickie Allen, and we have a lovely group of volunteers from the industry coming along to offer their support, too. This will be the first of four consecutive 3-hour workshops. Students will be encouraged to think creatively whilst learning the fundamental principles of design. They will then be taught how to calculate fluid grid systems and use a wide variety of HTML and CSS elements to code the responsive website they have designed. This course will provide students with valuable skills that are useful to them. Not only will they be learning to code, but also how to think logically, design techniques, collaborate as a team and learn from one another. All these reflect how the creative industry already works: generating ideas, strategic planning, designing and working together to develop quality products that solve a problem, fill a gap in the market or offer a better solution than those existing. The tech industry is renowned for being supportive and there is an overwhelming number of online forums, blogs and social media accounts/posts which offer help to those who are struggling to code something.

2014 saw significant changes in the National Curriculum which transformed the ways in which computing was being taught in schools across England. Children as young as five are now learning the fundamental principles of computer science; logical thinking (a skill transferable across all subjects and experiences), the meaning behind algorithms, and the creation and debugging of basic programs were all encompassed into this new structure that was being rolled out. Though daunting for both students and teachers alike, this change was somewhat inevitable. Following the Next Gen report, it was evident that employers were finding it increasingly difficult to find new talent who had the necessary skills for the tech industry. Perhaps students were not even aware of the vast number of potential jobs available in the industry - nor did they know how competitive the salaries can be, too. Following this publication, education was pinpointed as the primary issue and this called for the curriculum to modernise the way ICT, or computing, was taught in schools.

This transition has been rather successful, and this was particularly highlighted when Vickie and I attended the Norfolk Computing at School (CAS) Hub meeting in 2015. We spoke to the teachers from various schools around the region and it was fantastic to hear how much their students have been enjoying the new structure of teaching programming and they were even attending extra-curricular events such as the Scratch Off and the Programming Challenge for Girls which was initially setup in New Zealand, but is now worldwide and young women from Norfolk are getting involved, which is amazing! Understandably teaching methods in every school vary, as do the particular topics within ICT or programming they teach, but, seemingly, coding responsive websites using HTML and CSS was not as prominent in the classroom as programming lights to flash or coding characters on the screen to get from A to B.

The response to our launch of Code Club was incredibly positive, and it was this that reaffirmed to Vickie and I we were doing the right thing by choosing HTML and CSS as a strong starting point for students to learn the building blocks of responsive web design and development. Not only will it encourage young people to be creative and learn vital skills such as problem-solving and logical thinking, it will also enrich them with a niche skill in coding that they can utilise in future. If they wanted to start a blog, run their own business, or get a job in the tech industry, they can do so with their newly established knowledge they will be walking out of Code Club with.

If Code Club sounds like something you would be interested in, or your son or daughter would enjoy, please sign up now! If you have any queries, feel free to get in touch.