Web Development at its Best
By: Jacqueline Friesen, Senior 4, Garden Valley Collegiate
Have you ever wondered what it takes to make an award-winning web site? Mr. Jeff Boulton seems to know. Ever since he started as staff advisor for the Web Spinners at Albert E. Peacock Collegiate in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, the group has grown, both in size and achievements.
You don’t have to be a computer-guru to join this winning extra-curricular team. “I get the students who have much more experience in Internet programming and graphic design than I do, and I also get students who have never built a web page before,” Mr. Boulton comments. He encourages anyone to join. The group meets three times a week to make pages both for the school web site and personal projects.
Web Spinners have 30 stations with high-tech Internet programming software including Photoshop, Premiere, Swish, PageMill, and Edit Plus at their dispense. They are also given access to a video-editing computer, digital cameras, a scanner, a LCD projector and a VCR. To start them off students are instructed through handouts and step-by-step directions. Eventually they progress to web-based tutorials. All web pages are overseen by Mr. Boulton to make sure the site has a consistent layout, navigation, and file structure.
This method of training seems to work well for the students. The Web Spinners product, the AE Peacock site, has won many awards. These include EduNet Choice of the Month and SchoolNet Site of the Week. They were also featured on Electrifier’s site in 2000.
The students who join this group have the chance to compete in the Web Page Design Competition for Skills Canada. “Two years ago two of our Web Spinners won Gold at Provincials, and placed fourth at Nationals,” Mr. Boulton states. Fundraising for the competitions is done through visiting local businesses and working bingos.
The Web Spinners group benefits the students and the public. The AE Peacock site enhances communication between the school, city, province and nation. It also helps promote school events and extra-curricular activities that are going on at Albert E. Peacock Collegiate.
This extra-curricular program also benefits the Web Spinners. It provides them with the computers, software and time to learn about web development. “In the end the student learns how to work collaboratively, has further developed computer skills, and has obtained work experience and a reference for their resume,” Mr. Boulton says encouragingly.