Several weeks ago when my 3rd grade son, Alexander and I presented at the regional technology conference in Plano, Texas, he won a free copy of WebBlender software from Tech4Learning. He has wanted to make his own website for quite a while, and several years ago he made a little progress using a WYSIWYG webpage editor (Claris Homepage)– it was pretty cumbersome, however, and neither of us were really happy with the experience of using it or the results.

Today he finished his first website that he created with WebBlender. Originally he just wanted to use the clipart library and make pages showing the flags of African countries, but I showed him today:

  1. How to copy the country’s name into the search field of WikiPedia and search for the WikiPedia article about that country.
  2. How to copy the URL for the country’s WikiPedia entry onto the computer’s clipboard.
  3. How to switch from the web browser back to WebBlender.
  4. How to select the country’s flag and create a hyperlink to the country’s WikiPedia entry.

Alexander “published” his website to his desktop repeatedly to preview how his multi-page website looked, and when he was finished I helped him enter some FTP login credentials to publish his site to the Internet.

Although this website doesn’t represent a lot of deep thinking on the subject of African geography, cultures, politics or anything else– I think it is quite remarkable that as an 8 year old Alexander was able to create these pages independently. He was quite excited to learn how to link content to the Wikipedia– and I think understands the importance of writing with hyperlinks to “connect” his knowledge and knowledge products to the ideas of others.

If you have feedback or comments for Alexander on his web project, feel free to comment here– I’ll make sure he sees and reads your comments! 🙂

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5 Responses to 3rd grade website about Africa

  1. Mark Ahlness says:

    Congratulations on a job well done! I’m a third grade teacher in Seattle, Washington, and I thought your Flags of Africa web site was great. My students use computers a lot, too – mostly writing in Word – and blogging, but I have not tried teaching them how to build web pages. That’s pretty tricky stuff! What I AM thinking about teaching them this year, though, is how to work with others on a wiki -where more than one person can work together on the same project, using the Internet. It’s kind of like doing a web site, but you can’t get so fancy – yet! I think I might start out having them try some math problem solving on a wiki… we’ll see…

    Anyway, I just wanted to say I thought you did a wonderful job, and I hope you stick with it! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

  2. Anna Adam says:

    Great job, Alexander! I loved the idea of clicking on the flags and I learned so much about Africa! Fantastic!

  3. Mike Temple says:

    Hi Alexander

    I really liked your website and see that you enjoyed using the links to Wikipedia. It is a most informative website
    I am an advanced skills teacher in the UK and just love to see what can be done, with a bit of time and effort by students of all ages (sometimes even by the teachers) – keep on keeping on.
    By the way, I listened to the podcast with you and dad presenting on creating digital music and again felt inspired to find out what more our students are capable of producing and innovating.
    Look forward to your next project and thanks for sharing

    Mike Temple

  4. Alexander,
    Job well done! You probably know more about the African continent and nations than most adults!
    I’m interested to hear your thoughts about creating this web page. Can you share your perspective? What do you think other third graders need to know to create their own websites?

  5. Jennifer says:

    Hey Alexander —

    Great job!! I didn’t even make my first webpage until I was 30…… I can’t wait to see what you are producing in 22 years!

    I liked all the flags and you did a great job linking.

    It took you probably a lot of time to put together something so useful.

    Thanks for taking the time to put it together.


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