In recent days, at least three of us here, all rather expert, each did a kind of "Duh. I can use HTML here..." to get the effect wanted. And we talked of how tools may become outdated, so how do you teach fundamentals?

Which got me to thinking: Basic HTML is still a useful skill for using many blogs, discussion groups, wikis, and other social networks. Even Ning, which has a much better interface than anything I can find to install, leaves you to format lists, quotes, and other things all on your own via HTML.

So, whether you're training the teacher, or K-12 students, or working in college, is HTML awareness something you take on? How?

Tags: HTML, fundamentals, math, science, tools

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I teach some basic skills to teachers - useful in WIKIs and their blogs. However, with the embed function and the better WYSIWYG editors it has been fading.
We do teach it to some students at the HS level in order to hone their organizational and problem solving skills before moving to other languages.
I've taught a bit of basic HTML to my students for the past few years. The value of it has been reinforced in my mind as I play with blogs and Google Docs and wikis. These programs sometimes get cranky and don't do quite what you want, but if you know a bit of HTML you can usually bend them to your will. While there are so many applications that you should not need HTML for, the true master of them has to know a bit.
Years ago, back in the day, I offered webpage design, using Microsoft Frontpage, as an option in my elementary gifted program. My frustration then, as now, is lack of good content. They want to do "personal" websites which have gone the way of the Walkman. We do some HUGE websites for projects but I don't offer to "teach" them webpage design anymore--we don't need more rinky dinky "All About Pandas" websites clogging the airwaves! I've had a few students try their hand at HMTL--there are some good tutorials online so I don't do much. I only know enough to fix little mistaks on all the websites I maintain..
So, let me be bold and extend this a bit more. What do you think of HTML taught from a science/math perspective?

Put another way, what do Euclid, Descartes, and Mendel have to offer that trumps Berners-Lee's work in terms of something a student can use to increase their understanding of their immediate surrounding world?

Nothing against Mr. Newton and his friends, but hasn't the world we daily interact with expanded a little? In the Digital Native world, which ideas would the most students find remotely useful later on: trigonometry, or a basic understanding of the Internet? [At this point, I should probably offer the perspective-identifier that I spent more time at University working with equations than with anything else. So I'm not averse to Math].

Mind you, such a .net lesson should probably come with some BRIEF exposure to the Internet communications hierarchy: ethernet /PPP/etc., CDMA/GSM, IP, TCP/UDP, HTTP/HTTPS/FTP/SMT.... I'm not suggesting any detail, but a peak under the hood for Junior/Senior science/math students?

What do you think?
Ed -

Ahh, music to my hears hearing the OSI model and internetworking.

I first wrote HTML in 1995 while in college and started teaching it a year later at the high school level as part of a high school English curriculum. I'm agree with Nancy that it always came down to a content issue. That's what I love about wikis and blogs. Content is the focus which I think is great for teachers and elementary students.

I think there is a place for it at the high school level. The OSI model could be lots of fun in a high school science and math class looking at speeds, binary, TCP (SYN/ACK/SYN/ACK, RTTs). Ethereal, a free protocol analyzer, would be an awesome tool to look at these protocols. Google Earth could provide a great visual for TRACERTs or sniffs of loading something simple like a web page hosted anywhere in the world. Ethereal could even be used to reconstruct the HTML in the web page. Students could reverse engineer the page using code obtained from the trace.

At a more global level this could be tied into history, more specifically the Cold War that started DARPANet and ARPANet. The resiliency, redundancy, and distributed nature of the Internet and routed and routing protocols could be analyzed not only technically (mathematically and scientifically) using Ethereal but also looking at the original historical intent: in the case of trouble, the US would still have data/networking capabilities...intriguing stuff...I always love thinking about this side of technology again.

Music?! Shh!! They'll think we're geeks!! :-)

Did a real quick search, and the lesson stuff that came up immediately was good; there's likely more somewhere else.



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