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Minutes from ME

YOUNG READERS AND THE WORLD WIDE WEB

Web Screens Row

BUILD A "LINKS TO CLICK" WEB PAGE

It pains me to see children, when they are new to the World Wide Web, being given the URL of a main web page and then expected to negotiate links to reach a particular useful page. Save their time, and avoid asking students to plough through a discouraging amount of dense text and difficult words, by making a simple HTML document the children will easily understand.

Gather the exact destination web page addresses from separate sites for your selected topic. Make the opening interface document by building on the coding in the previous simple HTML document Part 1, First Steps in Browsing..

CREATE THE HTML PAGE

A recent project of ours involved hermit crabs so we put together the following page containing some useful references to this charming little crustacean.

Use a simple word processing program (e.g. Wordpad or Notepad) and build on the previous page to make the changes and alterations shown here in blue.

The changes are not as drastic as they look, most of the blue text shown is due to a new list of URLs.
In the remaining changes -
the background color(BGCOLOR) is changed to yellow and the text color(TEXT) to red,
the font size(FONT SIZE) of the greeting line is increased to +2 then changed to +1 in the next line for the rest of the document,
and the different hypertext links are incorporated and their number increased.

Congratulate yourself right here on using the enlightened approach to authoring web pages - you are building on previous efforts!

<HTML>
<BODY BGCOLOR="YELLOW" TEXT="RED"><BR>
<FONT SIZE=+2><BR>
<FONT FACE="Comic Sans MS"><BR>
<P ALIGN=LEFT>HAPPY HOLIDAYS, EVERYONE!!</P>
<P ALIGN=LEFT><FONT SIZE=+1>Click on a line below to find out about:<BR>
<P ALIGN=LEFT><A HREF="http://www.mov.vic.gov.au/crust/hermgall.html">1. Hermit Crab Pictures.</A><BR>
<P ALIGN=LEFT><A HREF="http://www.petlibrary.com/hermits.htm">2. About Hermit Crabs.</A><BR>
<P ALIGN=LEFT><A HREF="http://www.blarg.net/~bingissl/hw/info/care.html">3. Hermit Crab Care.</A><BR>
<P ALIGN=LEFT><A HREF="http://www.fi.edu/fellows/fellow8/dec98/games/maze.html">4. Hermit Crab Maze.</A><BR>
</BODY>
</HTML>

Save this new document with the .htm filename extension and a filename different from the previous one.
The document, when opened by the browser software, will display as:

Hermit Links Screen

To keep things simple the color changes used here are deliberately chosen from a list of sixteen predefined colors which browsers recognize by their actual names. For more exotic colors a particular hexadecimal code, preceded by a pound (#) sign, must be substituted for the color name. The RGB HEX COLOR CHART shows actual colors with corresponding hexadecimal codes.

EMBELLISH THE HTML PAGE

When it comes to younger children I do believe Oscar Wilde was right that "nothing succeeds like excess". So why not adorn the web page with a little suitable music?
From the World Wide Web I downloaded a sound file, named dreidel.wav, to add a sonic message to this holiday page.
To include a sound file in the HTML document store it in the same folder as the HTML document file and alter the HTML document slightly.
Insert the following line of code in the new HTML document after the line beginning <FONT FACE,

<EMBED SRC="dreidel.mid" AUTOSTART=TRUE HIDDEN=TRUE></EMBED>

Resave the amended file and now your new document will include music when it is opened in the browser.

In the new line of code the term EMBED is the necessary tag to have Netscape browsers play sound within the document and the AUTOSTART tag automatically loads and plays the sound file when the document is opened. The HIDDEN code conceals the presence of the sound until it plays at the opening - a great surprise for the children!

REVIEW BASIC WEB PAGE NAVIGATION

There are three basic manipulations used in navigating the hermit crab sites:
single clicking on the left mouse button to activate a link or enlarge an image whenever the cursor changes to that "pointing finger" shape, clicking and dragging the right edge box or arrows to scroll down through the entire web page, and
single clicking on the BACK or FORWARD buttons on the browser tool bar to "turn pages".

IN CLOSING ....

To see how the document created so far will look in "web operation" click here.
While you have the document open in the browser take the chance to look at its source code by clicking on View in the toolbar then on Page Source. Viewing a source document is a convenient way to scan the code of any web page you admire. If the code looks discouragingly complex just skip it and revisit when you're a bit more experienced in HTML. Remember that "Web-type" people, especially those who are teachers, are so glad to help and as close as the nearest computer lab or an email message.
Keep in mind too how easy it is to create these simple "made-to-measure" web pages for children to use. They can be customized for each class or group, avoiding the frustration non-keyers have with unfamiliar and complicated URLs. The children, if they only realize the improvement, will thank you!

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