So, the district “powers that be” come to you with a great idea. Why don’t you start a coding course next year? Why not add a prep to your schedule on a topic that you may not be familiar with? Sound familiar? We have educators contact us all the time to talk about this very topic.
10-15 years ago, you could get most students excited about coding. All you had to do was show them that they could make a game or control something on the screen to intrigue them. Thanks to the newness, students would put in the effort learning coding to make it all happen.
Students have changed in that it now feels as though you need to convince them more to put in the effort. You have to work harder to get that initial engagement and then you have to keep up the work to maintain allure long enough to get the learner over the hump and value the learning.
I tell teachers who have tried to teach coding classes that “It is all fun and games until logic shows up.” Any teacher who has taught coding knows exactly what I am saying. When you are teaching programming, you tend to lose students when the logic aspect comes up. Everyone learns logic at a different pace. However, there are ways to give students confidence in being able to code and get them engaged without letting logic knock them off the path.
This is why one alternative path to introducing coding is through HTML (HyperText Markup Language). HTML allows you to engage learners in that you can use words and commands in a “language” to boss a computer around to do your bidding. Sometimes you have to let the students go on a little power trip. In reality, HTML as a language allows the learner to boss around a browser. Think about it: there are 4.9 billion active internet users worldwide. That’s 62% of the world’s total population. 500,000 new internet users show up every day to join those ranks. What is the primary language used for all the content those nearly 5 billion internet users see? HTML, which is the language of the internet.
This means the demand for web design is huge. Every business, large and small, needs a website and someone to create it and maintain it. This opens up real opportunities for students with the basic skills, passion and certifications. This is no joke, as web designers can start their careers while still in high school. Check out our blog post < > then share this post with your students.
Like I said before, I have a couple ways I like to introduce coding to newcomers. One is robotics, and anyone who has spent any time around me knows how much I love the topic and the potential of robotics. However, robotics requires hardware and software, which drives up the cost. HTML is a very budget-friendly way to introduce coding. You can do it with nothing more than a simple text editor or online IDE. Since the target for the code is a browser, any PC, Mac or Chromebook has all that it takes to make the magic happen.
Still not convinced? Give me another moment to make my case. Let’s look at some facts about using HTML and how it can inspire the next generation of creators, designers and coders.
Why is HTML a great introduction to coding?
Simple syntax: HTML uses simple and easy-to-understand tags to define the structure and appearance of web content. This allows beginners to quickly grasp the basics and start creating simple web pages.
Immediate feedback: With HTML, you can see the results of your work in a web browser almost instantly. This immediate feedback loop makes it easy to experiment and learn from your mistakes.
Extensive resources: There is a wealth of resources available online for learning HTML, from tutorials and documentation to forums and video courses. This makes it easy for beginners to find support and guidance as they learn.
Cross-platform compatibility: HTML code can be written and executed on any platform with a web browser, making it accessible to a wide range of devices and operating systems.
Collaboration opportunities: Learning HTML can open up opportunities for collaboration with other web developers, designers, and programmers. Understanding HTML is often a prerequisite for working on web projects, even if your primary focus is in another area of coding or design.
In-demand skill: HTML is an essential skill for a variety of careers in web development, web design, and digital marketing. Learning HTML can be a stepping stone to a rewarding and in-demand career.
Overall, HTML is an excellent starting point for beginners because of its simplicity, widespread use, and the numerous resources available for learning. It sets a solid foundation for further exploration into web technologies and programming languages. The beautiful part of working with HTML and browsers is that one can view the source code to learn how someone accomplished what you see. Yes, there are instances where code is minified or obfuscated, but many sites still display code which can be viewed (so you can always learn from others).
How prevalent is the use of HTML and CSS?
HTML and CSS are extremely prevalent in the world of web development, as they form the foundation of every website on the internet. HTML (HyperText Markup Language) is used to create the structure and content of web pages, while CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) is responsible for the visual appearance, including layout, colors, fonts, and other design elements. Together, they define how web pages are built, displayed, and rendered in web browsers.
In practice, HTML and CSS are used in virtually every web development project, from simple personal blogs to complex web applications and platforms. They are essential skills for web developers, web designers, and other professionals working with web technologies. Additionally, HTML and CSS knowledge is often required or beneficial for professionals in digital marketing, content management, and user experience (UX) design, as these roles often involve working with website content and layout.
The wide applicability and use of HTML and CSS in the web development industry make them two of the most important languages to learn for anyone interested in working with websites or web applications.
What are the benefits to learning both HTML and CSS?
Complementary technologies: HTML and CSS work together to create the structure and design of web pages. HTML provides the content and basic structure, while CSS is responsible for the layout, colors, fonts, and other visual aspects. Learning both languages in tandem provides a comprehensive understanding of how web pages are built and designed.
Simplicity and readability: Both HTML and CSS have simple and human-readable syntax, making them easy for beginners to understand and start working with. Unlike many programming languages, HTML and CSS do not require knowledge of complex logic, data structures, or algorithms.
Immediate visual feedback: As you work with HTML and CSS, you can quickly see the results of your changes in a web browser. This immediate feedback loop helps beginners understand the relationship between the code they write and the visual output, making the learning process more engaging and enjoyable.
Abundant resources and community: There are countless resources available for learning HTML and CSS, ranging from online tutorials and documentation to forums, video courses, and books. Additionally, the web development community is extensive and supportive, making it easy for beginners to find help when needed.
Cross-platform compatibility: HTML and CSS can be used across different platforms, devices, and operating systems, making your skills applicable in a wide range of contexts.
Marketable skills: Proficiency in HTML and CSS is valuable for various careers, including web development, web design, digital marketing, and content management. Learning these languages can open doors to new opportunities and help you build a strong foundation for a career in tech.
In summary, HTML and CSS are a great first step to learning coding because they offer a simple, visual, and accessible introduction to web development. They provide a solid foundation for understanding more advanced web technologies and programming languages, and they offer valuable skills for those interested in pursuing a career in the tech industry.
How can teachers use HTML with their students?
Teachers can use HTML as a way to introduce coding to their students in various ways, including:
Start with the basics: Teachers can begin by explaining the fundamentals of the web, including the role of HTML as the structure and content provider for web pages. Introducing basic HTML tags, such as headings, paragraphs, and lists, allows students to learn the syntax and structure of HTML.
Utilize hands-on exercises: Encourage students to create simple web pages using HTML, providing them with templates or examples to start. This hands-on approach helps students understand the relationship between the code they write and the visual output in a browser. And, don’t forget to make the portfolio-building exercises career-relevant, and fun for students.
Include industry-based certifications: One way to make sure the students realize what they are learning is relevant to their futures is to connect the curriculum with certifications from industry, and not just some testing platform. This is also a sure way to get the parents excited about your program.
Integrate with other subjects: Teachers can incorporate HTML into lessons related to other subjects, such as English, history, or art, by having students create web pages to present their projects or research. This can make learning HTML more engaging and relevant to their interests.
Integrate with complimentary careers: The right curricula will offer ways to connect with other careers. For example, with web design it is easy to see how a web animation or web and mobile game course will complement what the students are learning and give them the chance to see other web careers.
Pair with CSS: Introduce CSS alongside HTML, so students can learn how the two languages work together to create visually appealing web pages. This can help them understand the importance of both structure and design in web development.
Use online resources: Utilize curriculum with interactive tutorials, coding sandboxes, and video lessons to provide students with various learning options. These resources can help students learn at their own pace and explore topics that interest them.
Encourage creativity and experimentation: Provided that the interactive curriculum you use allows for sandboxing the coding your students will be more likely to experiment with different HTML tags and CSS properties, encouraging them to explore various design options, be more creative problem solvers, and find their unique style.
Utilize collaborative projects: Encourage students to work together on web-based projects, such as creating a class website or online portfolio. This is how the work world operates. Coding and design is a team sport, and this can help students learn from each other and develop teamwork and problem-solving skills.
Introduce web accessibility: Teach students about the importance of web accessibility and how to create accessible web content using HTML. This can help them understand the broader impact of their work and the importance of inclusive design.
Keep it real: Use projects and activities that challenge the learner to apply what they have learned to real-world scenarios. This can help identify areas where students may need additional support or practice, keep everything within an industry context, and build a robust portfolio showing the learner’s growth in web coding.
Discuss career opportunities: Highlight the various career paths that involve web development and the importance of HTML in these roles. This can help students understand the value of learning HTML and motivate them to explore further coding languages and technologies.
By using these approaches, teachers can effectively introduce coding to their students through HTML, providing them with a solid foundation for further learning in web development and programming.
Whether you are a teacher, parent or student, contact Web Professionals Global today to find out how our organization and certifications can help you.