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 Computing With Kids

  How Kids Can Create FREE Webpages
How Kids Can Create FREE Webpages
By Jinny Gudmundsen
July 21st, 2000
As more and more children surf the net and become comfortable with all the Internet has to offer, it is natural that they will eventually want to participate on a more personal level. They will want to express themselves in this medium that they have become “experts” in; and thus they will want to create their own webpages. There are many FREE webpage options on the Internet.

Our experience with kid-testers tells us that this urge to BECOME a part of the Internet usually hits around 5th grade when the draw of email and instant-messaging becomes strong. To write this article, we consulted our most Internet savvy kid-testers (many are 5th graders) about what they liked and disliked in the world of “Free Webpages.” We surfed the Internet ourselves and constructed numerous webpages. Here are the results of our study.

To build free webpages you need to find a free webhosting site (a place to provide you with your own URL or web address) and a tutorial or template on how to build a webpage. Since learning HTML (the special language used for constructing most websites) can be somewhat daunting for rookie webmasters, we looked for sites that allowed children to build their site without this expertise.

While there are several places that offer free webhosting, not all offer instruction in how to build a webpage. In our search for the best create-and-host webpage site, one site stood out above all others for its ease of use and personalization options: The Express Page (www.expage.com).



The Express Page
Published on January 22nd, 2001
(http://www.expage.com)

The Express Page shows children how to build a webpage and then hosts that webpage for free. At The Express Page, after naming their site, children make a series of decisions about what the site will look like. They can choose the background image, a clip art graphic, line graphics, bullet graphics, and some animated graphics. Children can also import their own photos and graphics for posting on their webpage. Our kid-testers greatly appreciated being given so many choices. One noted that while Hometown AOL (http://hometown.aol.com ) was just about as easy to use as The Express Page, it didn’t have nearly the number of choices to help you personalize your website. Another nice feature about constructing webpages at The Express Page is that it offers a plethora of “cool” extras like a page counter (so children can keep track of the number of visitors to their site) or a “guest book” which allows visitors to leave comments for your child. The one negative is that the newly created webpage will have to host an advertisement. So far, none of these were offensive, nor did they bother the budding webmasters.

 
Summary
Age  5 - 99 Platform  N/A
Price  Category  Internet Sites
Grade  ISBN 
URL  http://www.expage.com
Company  The Express Page
www.expage.com
 



Some other sites that host and help create webpages are Homestead (www.homestead.com), Hometown AOL (http://hometown.aol.com ), and Kidsville (www.kidsville.net ). And for children that are ready to tackle HTML, there are many tutorials on the Internet including:
Webmonkey for Kids (http://hotwired.lycos.com/webmonkey/kids/),
Billy Bear’s HTML Help (www. BillyBear4Kids.com/htmlhelp.htm)and
ABC School of HTML (http://www.vikimouse.com/print/school/index.htm ).

Before your child investigates several of the sites listed here, have your child think about what s/he wants to present on her/his website. You might want to suggest that s/he outline or write out part of the content before going to a site to build a webpage.

One last caveat, please remember to read your child’s website on a regular basis. We know of several instances where children have been disciplined by schools for putting inappropriate material on their websites. As children spread their cyber-wings, they need your guidance about what is suitable to put out in cyber-space and what is not!



All software is judged on a five star scale by looking at the following five factors: educational, fun, ease of use, value, technical.

Jinny Gudmundsen is the Editor of Computing With Kids magazine. If you have questions or comments, please write to: .