Addicted to novelty since 2001

Every Student Should Build a Website

In my opinion, every student who graduates from high school should understand the basics of Web design. They should have built at least one site, and be given a basic grasp of design principles and usability. This should be an essential portion of a required computer course. I don’t care which tools they use, or what they create, as long as they’re given current information and gain applicable skills.

I don’t know many teenagers, so maybe this is already happening. If so, carry on.

I say this because every person my age or younger that I know has, at some point in their professional or personal life, wanted to build a website. Web designers make wads of cash because many of their clients lack the most basic understanding of HTML and FTP. Projects slow to a crawl as simple changes get sent back and forth between the designers and their clients.

Some day publishing to the Web will be easy. Easier than it currently is to post to a weblog. That day hasn’t come. It’s not even remotely close, I’m afraid. Until then, teach the kids HTML basics.

This posting was inspired by Ray, who recently spoke to a university class of business students where only a reluctant few had any Web design education. Trust me, they’re going to need it more than that macro-economics course.

4 Responses to “Every Student Should Build a Website”

  1. Jeff

    ” Web designers make wads of cash because many of their clients lack the most basic understanding of HTML and FTP.”

    Personally I’m fine with this.
    However I agree that it slows things down.

    Last week I gave a presentation to a group of high-school kids on web-design and emerging uses for the internet. Not one of the kids in that room (about 10 kids) knew how to make a basic webpage. Only one understood the concept of uploading via FTP – but I bet at least one of them could taught me a thing or two about working on a car.

    Plumbing, electronics, first-aid, auto-mechanics, legal representation – there are tons of specialties that are needed by many and taught to few. Web design is no different. We all have strengths and weaknesses and this is the basis for trade. I don’t mind paying someone to do something I have no expertise or desire to do.

  2. Andrea

    I’d rather see kids graduate with solid literacy, numeracy, critical thinking, research, and health management skills. According to, 22% of adult Canadians have serious problems dealing with print and another 24% can only handle simple reading tasks. When it comes to numeracy, 24% can’t meet everyday functions, but can perform simple addition and subtraction. Another 14% can only recognize numbers in isolation or in short text. In other words, half of Canadian adults can barely read labels or figure out how much their groceries are going to cost.

    I’m not a proponent of 3 R’s-only education, but I don’t think it makes sense to require students to know how to publish websites. According to ABC, as many as half of the kids wouldn’t be able to spell out HTML tags, let alone figure out numbers for font sizes, colours or columns. Add that to a steady diet of Coke, no physical education, and no ability to find information on your own…and, well, I’d rather the money went to making sure kids have the basic tools to function and survive in society.

  3. Greg

    I went to High school in Ontario (graduated 3 years ago) and our required computer course in grade 10 had a pretty detailed web design component. It covered all the basics and important design elements to make it all pretty.

    It really gave everyone a very good base to understand how it all worked and I know that it really helped spark a lot of my interest in wed design and the like.

  4. joke

    I don’t know about this. I’ve never needed to make a web page, nor have any of my coworkers, and we’re not exactly computer illiterate.

    I would rather people pick up essential skills that they are unlikely to collect elsewhere in their lives, like a basic knowledge of English, 20th century history, statistics, biology etc… I think it is a credit to our system that it focuses on the really important things, instead of things like drivers ed and filing tax returns that any tolerably intelligent person will learn anyways.

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