Wow! The evolution of web design and technologies has been phenomenal over the past 22 years since I started web design in 1993. When I started teaching myself web design and HTML programming back in 1993 the state of web technologies wasn’t even close to the sophistication that is present today. As an example, back then I had to use an image slicing program to cut images into small pieces so that I could place them on a table to get the image to display the way I wanted on the page. And learning HTML involved a lot of hunting for information on the W3C and Mozilla websites. Then you would read about the tags and through trial and error apply attributes to see what the results would be.

Now you have sites like Code Academy, Udemy, and General Assembly that teach web design concepts using interactive web pages. General Assembly offers a number of great opportunities to learn HTML, JavaScript, and CSS concepts in highly engaging formats.  One of their offerings is totally free of charge.  It is called Dash. Dash has five highly engaging project-driven lessons that teach 82 web design and programming skills.  The interface is highly engaging and fun! I enjoyed going through the lessons and refreshing a number of skills I’ve learned in the past but had become rusty.

As a former school teacher, I couldn’t help but think about what a wonderful resource this is for teachers to use in their classrooms.  As I said the lessons are fun. I know kids would just love doing the projects.

One project, in particular, is loads of fun. It involves ‘building’ a robot for an eccentric millionaire named Cotter. Below is my finished project from completing the lesson.  Believe it or not the only image on the page is the animated GIF of Cotter dancing.  The robot is built using div tags and styling them with CSS. One additional trick, the arms for the robot are actually letter J’s that are rotated using transform CSS. The project also throws in some JavaScript for the button actions. Even the laser eyes are created using CSS.

So, I highly encourage the General Assembly DASH online tutorials – especially if you have kids that are interested in learning web design. Oh, and enjoy playing with Bleep and Cotter!

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