Digital Guyana

Posts Tagged ‘web skills

After a morning introducing the students to HTML, the afternoon session in week 1 gave the students a chance to step away from the computer screens and have a general discussion around the uses of social networks.

As a way of sparking dicussion we showed a film called Us Now, a film project about the power of mass collaboration and the internet.

The film featured the following examples of Internet-based group collaboration/organisation:

The film isn’t a perfect teaching tool – it’s overlong in places, in some cases some better examples could have been used and not everything chimes with the realities of Internet access in the developing world.

However, the general themes raised are good, in particular the possibility of using the internet to enable mass collaboration.

Many themes came out in the discussions, with the different classes of school students, teachers and community organisations all bringing a different perspective. Topics included:

  • the pros and cons of crowdsourcing
  • privacy issues
  • the lack of ubiquitous access to the Internet (especially vulnerable people in developing countries)
  • spam, malware and viruses
  • the reliability and accurracy of Wikipedia as an educational tool
  • organisations following their audiences by establishing a presence on social networks

HTML stands for Hypertext Markup Language – the tags and attributes that are used to explain to a web browser how to display a page on the internet.

In the first lesson of the course we introduced the students to HTML and got them to build a very basic personal website with a homepage and separate pages for links and contact details.

Firstly, we asked them to open Notepad and create an html page using the <html> and <body> tags. The importance of closing all tags was emphasised.

<h1> tags were used to indicate the title and <p> tags were used around a lump of text. The file was saved as ‘index.html’ and viewed in a browser to show how the page displays.

Links were demonstrated next, along with html attributions. The students were asked to add a link to another website to their web page.

We then asked the students to use Notepad to create a document called ‘links.html’. In this document they listed a set of links to other websites.

The exercise was repeated, creating a third page called ‘contact.html’. The pages were then all edited to insert links between them.

To demonstrate how to add images into a web page, we took photos of the students and gave them the file to insert into their homepages.

We introduced the students to the following HTML tags:

  • <html>
  • <body>
  • <h1>
  • <p>
  • <strong>
  • <em>
  • <a>
  • <img>
  • <ul>
  • <li>

We demonstrated HTML tag attributes using:

Further attributes to style text included:

  • font-family: arial
  • font-weight: bold
  • background-color: yellow
  • text-align: center
  • size: 100%

In compiling the course materials we were indebted to the HTML tutorials provided by W3Schools.

(For links to further Web Skills course content please go to The Course)

Hi, I’m Hugh. I also heard about this project through an email forwarded from the station manager at Resonance FM, where, like Matt, I volunteer as a broadcast assistant and programme maker.

phoneboxpic

The opportunity to travel and share my skills in a far-flung locale sounded really exciting and after doing some research – yes, I Googled Guyana – I applied. I was intrigued by the fact that the country is thought of as part of the Caribbean yet borders Brazil and Venezuela. The ethnic split of Indian and Afro-Caribbean also piqued my interest. (I’d always wondered why cricketers of Indian descent like Shivnarine Chanderpaul – who, by the way, has a street named after him here in Georgetown – ended up playing for the West Indies. And now I know. And, while we’re on the subject, other famous Guyanese include Eddy Grant of The Equals and Electric Avenue fame, cricketer Clive Lloyd and, er, Shakira Caine, wife of Michael Caine and Miss Guyana 1967.)

My web development skills aren’t as technical as the other members of the team but my experience working as a journalist, often online, and a youth worker nicely compliments the other talents we bring.

Back in the UK I’m based in north London. Most of my writing is for the arts and culture section of thelondonpaper and I’ve also worked as a subeditor and in online production for clients including The First Post and the BBC. Since last September I’ve volunteered as a youth worker for east London charity Toynbee Hall, working with 13-14-year-olds on the Aspire project on radio workshops, citizenship and outdoor activities. This has recently led to paid sessional work with a charity called Headliners, which works with young people to produce journalism, where I start working after I return from Guyana.

This week I’ve been helping Matt teach basic animation with the Flash programme at local NGO Merundoi, who produce a highly entertaining and hugely popular twice weekly radio soap which promotes Aids awareness. See Matt’s previous post on how the course has gone (very well).

From next week Matt and I, plus Pontus and Chris (who arrive in the wee hours tonight), will be doing workshops with school pupils, teachers and youth groups on a variety of web skills. The workshops I’m leading focus on photo editing with the open source Gimp programme and what makes good web content and design, plus specialisms which will look at these areas in more detail.

Expect to see many more posts from the four of us in the coming days and weeks.

Greetings, I’m Matt Gaffen and here’s my introduction.

I’m afraid a picture isn’t available at this juncture, but I’m sure you’ll catch sight of me at some point soon. Here’s the face of some kind of frog person I drew before coming out here instead;

Ribbit

I caught wind of this project through Resonance FM (London’s first art radio station, don’tcha know?) at which I volunteer doing a variety of small jobs to help keep the station running. An e-mail from the station mentioned this fantastic opportunity teaching web design and animation in Guyana. I had experience in both fields and thus replied to it right away.

I am the animation specialist of this course and have come out a week early with Hugh (the our teams’ fourth member) in order to teach a concentrated four-day ‘slab’ course in Adobe Flash (animation software). More details to follow

As for who I am and what I do; I’m an art student studying at Chelsea College of Art and Design. My degree is in Graphic Design Communication. I’ve been using flash for about five or six years and have a fair amount of experience animating exclusively on personal projects.

I’ve been out in Guyana now for nearly a week with Hugh and am having a great time, having got over the mosquito bites and spouting blood from my nose at every opportunity. Most of the locals are friendly and one of my students has just introduced me to Ultimate Frizbee, which in case you didn’t know is just about the best team sport. Ever.

After being worried a little about course expectations on Monday at Merundoi, the first day went swimmingly well. The students are all engaging with the material, being creative with it and learning the concepts at a fairly impressive pace. Above all they seem happy and some students are actively showing a lot of excitement, so I believe that they will take what they’ve learned further. It has been a really exciting week with a group who could not have been more of a pleasure to teach in any way. To summarize, I feel very satisfied with the work today and with any luck the course will proceed at a similar speed and level of quality.

It’s quite odd being an art student and suddenly being in my tutors’ position. By no means is it not enjoyable though, in fact it sells teaching to me a bit.

I have brought two types of malaria medication; Lariam and Doxy. I was asked to bring Doxy in addition to Lariam, which I’d already started at the time, because of it’s incredible side effects which could possibly include hallucinations and a desire to kill oneself! I am still on Lariam, but apart from some enjoyable, vaguely psychedelic dreams I am experiencing no side affects.

One day left of the course now, I shall provide some more details some time tomorrow when it’s all over.

Going to the sidewalk café tonight to listen to live jazz. Hopefully will get at least slightly drunk for the second night running. Am starting to grow a real appreciation for the local rum.

You can check out my personal blog at http://www.mattsdeadcat.blogspot.com. Expect to see most of this copy-pasted there soon.

G

Just thought I’d post the video that got us all involved:

Hi, My name’s Pontus and here’s my introduction.

pontus2

I first heard of this project through Twitter (where else) via @podnosh who retweeted an invitation by @timdavies for interested potential volunteers to get in touch. I love volunteering  overseas – I  have previously done it in Kenya and Zimbabwe – and thought this would be a great opportunity to share my skills, meet new people and experience a new culture.

I’m focusing on HTML and CSS skills and have developed an introductory HTML course which centres around creating an online CV. It will cover:

  • How to set up an HTML page in notepad
  • HTML elements and attributes
  • Links, images etc
  • Inline styles and some basic CSS selectors
  • FTP, domain names, hosting
  • External style sheets (depending on how far we get)

About me – I’m the Web Editor for Futurebuilders, the UK’s largest  social investor,  and have previously worked with online and offline communications for several charities. Last year I spent six months as a volunteer for Leonard Cheshire Disability East and North Africa in Nairobi, Kenya, designing its website and developing other  communications materials.

I’ve also helped with online communications for the Sanitary Pad Programme in Kenya, a campaign for Nelson Mandela’s 90th birthday for Action for Southern Africa and the Centre for Accessible Environments and do a lot of online volunteering through the UN Online Volunteering Scheme.

I normally blog over at Eatanicecream (although I’ve been very lazy lately).