Training for Success (TFS) is a non-profit organization in Durham that provides an alternate school and an
after-school program. Shodor added a technology education component on
computer graphics to TFS' after-school program. Over the fall, each of the 10 students in the program received
42 hours of instruction and/or mentoring.
Students learned about a number of technologies and techniques related to computer graphics
and web design. They created websites, logos, and business cards to practice and solidify the
skills they were learning. In addition, they had to work within deadlines and give a final
presentation of their work.
During the first week of classes, students were introduced to HTML, the language used to write
web sites. The group quickly progressed into learning Cascading Style Sheets, another language
that describes colors, fonts, and layout for the web. Next, they used Inkscape, a computer
illustration program. Students learned how to create designs and logos from scratch. They also
practiced turning real photos into stylized illustrations using a computerized tracing
process. The group came up with an impressive array of imaginative and elegant logos.
With these designs complete, students turned to creating business cards and designing graphics
for their websites, reflecting the themes of their logos. Students worked with Gimpshop,
another graphics program, to turn their digital drawings into image files that could be
included in web pages. In the last week, the group raced to finish all these materials in time
for an outstanding set of final presentations.
For this class, students filled out weekly reflection forms, discussing what they liked and
did not like about the class, what they were excited about, etc. In general, students were
very enthusiastic about the skills learned, both as they were participating in class and in
In the spring, as we continue this program, we will teach more web-related skills that require
mathematics and programming. We will also try to address students' expressed interest in print
media, t-shirt design, and the like.