Saturday, November 1, 2008

Class Web Projects

My high school class wrapped up their team web projects last Thursday, we'll be doing a postmortem on them in class next Tuesday. A few of my students had prior experience with HTML, but not much. These pages represent about 8-9 hours of class time of work in development by newbies.

We had about 3 hours of instruction in the most basic HTML and CSS prior to the start of these projects. I've learned it's better to keep the structured instruction to a minimum. Then we split the class into 3 teams, I gave them some working parameters, and off we went. I was kept busy answering questions and pointing people in the right direction. I also needed to make sure all the class members stayed engaged, that nobody sat back and let their team members do the work.

The biggest problem for the class was the requirement I placed that they only use material in ways that was appropriate for the intellectual property rights granted. They wanted so badly to just grab images off of a Google image search and post it on their page. They also wanted to scrape images off other websites--it's not a usage violation if they're not copying it, right? Wrong. I insisted that they demonstrate to me that all materials on their site be within their rights to use, with severe grade implications for inappropriate usage.

Finally I provided them with some links to sites with content they could use--free image sites, stuff they could use for noncommercial purposes, and so on. They didn't seem to have much luck finding it on their own, particularly since they seemed to be unable to tear themselves away from groaning over all the stuff they couldn't use in Google image search results...