Rebecca is busy getting better at writing HTML, remember your final essay can be written in HTML, even possiby as a hypertext, so you can use these skills if you wish. Kelsey uses HTML at work, and Isabelle does a bit of freestyle. Jane found it simpler and more relevant than expected, and disagrees with Brady, for while things like Dreamweaver make things simpler no one uses it professionally for web development. (There are programs that make it easier to write stories, they automate parts of the process, but if you were serious about writing stories, would you use one? Ditto with web authoring. Pros code, amateurs use WYSIWYG.)
Isabelle sees that people who are good at things explore and push their medium, not just the content, and so understanding some things about hypertext matters as it gives us some ways to think about the deeper parts of the medium of the Web. Gemma picks up some of the edu conversations and has a great example from being taught dance. Karlee notices just how much she uses the internet and wonders if her defending books is now compromised. I’d add that there is also the things you don’t see that rely on the internet. Banking, student records at RMIT, results being entered and managed, the information that the library gets from other places. Laura wonders about education and that kids writing HTML is probably unnecessary. I think it is absolutely necessary and as basic as any other sort of learning how to write in primary school. Being in control of what you write and how is the essence of being literate. If you can’t write a platform (eg WordPress), then simple HTML is that control. And kids should know it (and many do). Kelsey finds a brief video from the inestimable Sir Ken Robinson on the same things mentioned in the symposium. Rebecca wonders just how much HTML is changing us.
HTML is what is known as a declarative markup language, and it isn’t quite really ‘coding’ in that you don’t write anything in HTML that ‘runs’. But knowing some basic HTML really is a basic literacy if you’re wanting to do things on the Web. Ellen has been wanting to do this for a while, and would like to do more. Fair enough, let’s see where we end up. The essay you’re writing can certainly be HTML pages, and once you have done one page and realised it is just markup around text, it’s simple to find a list of the basics (begin here, progress to here.)
Nethaniel gets stuck since we’re using OS X (which is actually UNIX) and he’s on PC. This is simple network literacy at work, all FTP and SFTP clients work the same, they want a server address, a username, a password. Where they ask for them, how you do it, might vary, but these are given. The key here is knowing this. A google search on “recommended free ftp clients for windows” seems to give a good list. Writing code? You need a text editor. That is all. Not Word, a text editor. EVERY computer has one. On Windows it is Notepad. Just make sure you save the files as text (and name them with .html). Or again, Google ‘text editors for windows” if you want something fancier.
Rebecca is also enjoying it. Sounds fey, but knowing how to write HTML is empowering. Much more empowering than knowing how to set up a FaceBook account, or even change your theme in a blog. I’m hoping you’re all bright enough to begin to see why.
Next week is the HTML exam (password is comm2219). You must pass this to receive a result for network media. The exam is done in class. As a part of the exam you will also assess a class colleague’s completed work, confirming that all has been done correctly. You will be able to correct any mistakes found.
A random audit of completed work will be done. Any errors found (i.e. forms have been signed stating that work is finished and correct when it isn’t) will mean both the assessor and maker will record a fail. (We expect you to be able to read someone’s code as well as write your own, the simplest way people code is to read and reuse someone else’s. And you are expressing trust in you which we expect to be respected.)
The test is exactly as the page above describes, which you’ve been able to rehearse and practice with for several weeks. (Anecdotally students who are anxious practice and practice and do it on the day in a snap. A small group think they know what they’re doing and leave it for the day, they are the ones still making mistakes an hour into the class. In six years, on every occasion, they have been male, what’s that about?)
A very good place to start if you want to know more about writing HTML. Dave Raggett’s “Getting Started with HTML“. And in case you’re wondering, code and its basics is going to be much more valuable and useful to you than launching DreamWeaver and not ever having to see code.
James on the anxieties of writing HTML code. Question of the week. What might be the point of learning some very (very) basic HTML?