When it comes to teaching web design, what is a good alternative to Dreamweaver?
A few things to consider:
Most professional web designers DO NOT use Dreamweaver.
Teaching web design with Dreamweaver introduces an extra layer of complexity for no good reason. You have to teach BOTH Dreamweaver and web design.
Dreamweaver is expensive compared to many alternatives … especially considering the free software out there! 🙂
Side note: I’ve been teaching code and programming since 2003, and web design is a great vehicle that you can use to teach code with.
… Wed design is great (to teach code with) because it’s visual, easy to learn, and cross platform. Heavy tools like Dreamweaver try to hide the code from users, but that hides the most important aspect of learning web design: writing actual code!
Great code editors for your students
There are many great options to choose from that are free, and you have options for all types of computers:
Just a quick word about the soon to be released StudioWeb 4.0. This is an exciting release, because it is a total rewrite from scratch! The current StudioWeb 3 is bug free, and is working great in classrooms, but there comes a time when you have to start fresh.
… Steve Jobs famously made that decision, when he moved to OSX and retired OS9. Time has proven that it was a great move!
What’s special about StudioWeb 4?
StudioWeb 4 implements amazing new technology that brings more flexibility and speed to the StudioWeb software. Some of StudioWeb 4’s new features include:
District level reporting
More classroom management tools
Expanding and updating curriculum to include career oriented content
Updated video controls and more tablet friendly UI
More details will be released once StudioWeb 4 is made public.
… One teacher called me up recently, telling me how after the initial excitement student’s had moving characters around with code snippets, students fell into a pattern of typing in commands blindly to move the character, and quickly got bored.
In the end, students ended up not learning much of anything.
Teach real-world coding can be very fun for students!
When I first developed the StudioWeb program and curriculum 7 years ago, I wanted to teach students how to actually code real projects.
Most of the courses offered out there, are created by programmers who have no understanding of education. So they all fall back on the erroneous idea that to make coding fun, kids should use pseudo-code (fake code) or code snippets, to move characters in a game.
… But as I mentioned before, this type of course, doesn’t actually teach real coding. As any programmer / coder will tell you, it is the concepts behind the code that matters.
Have students write real code to learn code:
I come from a family of teachers, and have been developing code course since 2003. I was able to leverage that experience to produce a curriculum that is both engaging, and still teaches students how to write real code, using the most important computer languages today:
Added benefits (to students) learning to code:
I see the value in teaching coding beyond the obvious job opportunities:
Deferment of gratification
Digital awareness which can protect them from scams
So even if the kids don’t code in their future careers, they still have much to learn by learning to code.
But I also recognize that I am as biased as you can get!
” … how long will the PD be, in terms of learning how to teach a code class?”
Teacher and Student Feedback
It has taken us 6-7 years to polish our app and curriculum, but StudioWeb has been refined to be amazingly easy to teach a code class with … so, there isn’t much prep required. Teachers are happy to discover how quickly they feel comfortable leading a code class with StudioWeb.
In a nutshell, the prep with StudioWeb is:
Watch our PD videos on setting up a StudioWeb class. It’s really, really easy since you just have to give account ids to students.
You can do the course(s) as a student does them … to get familiar. Since StudioWeb has a powerful hinting system … students can never get stuck, which means you never have to answer code questions. So even doing this is not really required.
Since SW does all the grading automatically, you don’t even need to grade!
A teacher called yesterday looking for a web design course that teaches real web design coding skills. Like other teachers I’ve personally spoken to, she understood that dragging around blocks on screen, where the app writes the code for the student, is not nearly as effective as the student actually writing the code!
… Teachers quickly discover that students don’t learn much about coding with blocks. 🙁
So many code courses fallback on the misguided practice of using block-based teaching apps, thinking that this is helping students. As the teacher observed herself, with these systems, students quickly get bored and just follow the pattern.
Teaching code by having students write the code
Motivate your students!
Nothing motivates a student like seeing their code produce actual real-world results!
With the StudioWeb web design curriculum, your students interest levels will skyrocket, as they quickly see their code magically transform into websites that flex and flow on small smartphones, all the way up to giant 4k displays.
… Web developers call that ‘responsive’ design and your students will learn those marketable skills with StudioWeb.
I realized a few years ago that as founder, I had to get out of the back office, and be in close contact with teachers. Steve Jobs famously took tech support calls at Apple stores, to stay in touch with clients. I figured I should do the same.
Talking directly to teachers counts
A few years later, that move has proven to be one of the most important decisions I’ve made. As a result, direct feedback from teachers (and students) has had a major impact in terms of the quality of the StudiWeb app and curriculum. We’ve always had good results with students, but now the we consistently get great reviews from both teachers and students.
Support is priority #1
As I see it, support is the #1 priority in the service that we offer. My goal has always been to make it easy for teachers to teach and for students to learn. Support is a key ingredient in that, and so it makes sense that the primary course creator be reachable.
Let us help you teach web design
If you need to teach a web design class (and now we offer Python too!) please don’t hesitate to contact us. Most likely, you will be speaking to me on the first call, and you can count on being able to reach me throughout the school year!
… Some people wonder how I can find the time to speak to teachers? The simple answer is that after nearly 7 years, we’ve refined StudioWeb to the point that we don’t get many support calls. Things run pretty smoothly now.
Getting your web design class up and running is easy with StudioWeb.
The steps are:
We set up your StudioWeb classroom(s), where each student gets their own user ID.
Teachers give students their IDs, and they log in and start with the HTML course.
As your students watch the videos and answer quiz questions, the StudioWeb software tracks their progress auto generating grades for you by course, chapter and even the lesson!
You have the option to assign them projects that we provide. The projects start on ch3 of the HTML course.
We provide an easy to use grading rubric for the projects. Even teachers who don’t know code, can accurately assess student work with help of the grading rubric. Using the projects is optional, since the StudioWeb auto grading is very accurate.
It is practically impossible for students to get stuck on a lesson, given how the StudioWeb app and courses are designed. But, if ever a question should come up (and you don’t have an answer,) the course creator (Stefan) will be able to answer questions the same day.
… I make it a point to be in contact with teachers. I am able to do this since we get so few questions!
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
There are many approaches to teaching code. Unfortunately, many make the mistake of going with block-based coding, while others create code simulators, in an attempt to introduce coding to students.
We have a different and proven effective philosophy:
We teach code with actual coding … how radical!! Our courses are real-world centric: coders code with code, so we teach students with code, and the tools that coders use. And the results are in – it works really well!
Neither do we try to replace teaching techniques with gimmicks and games: good old fashioned teaching (that my father taught me), combined with years of actually coding experience, is the foundation of our coding curriculum, and as such, we achieve amazing student outcomes.
Students learn from 360 video lessons, quizzing and assignments
With StudioWeb, students learn to code with video, supported by instant quizzing, and code challenges. The code challenges that come after the video lessons, have students write real code as our StudioWeb engine evaluates it instantly.
In addition, StudioWeb provides 57 assignments that allow students to build real things (web pages, responsive sites, animations in web pages etc …) with the coding skills they acquire in the StudioWeb app. We also provide a grading rubric for the projects with 3 levels of assessment that make it easy for teachers to evaluate student projects. It’s easy to use.
The secret to our success?
StudioWeb has been refined over the last 6-7 years. Built with feedback from many teachers, and data from ~200k students.
Contact us, and we will be happy to set up a demo classroom for you.