Week 4 in Retrospect

This week was unlike most weeks in a semester, as the majority of it was spent on peer teaching. Initially, I’ll admit that I was nervous about the idea, but after looking more into it, and now in hindsight, I think it was an extremely productive experience. Firstly, teaching to a small group is much less intimidating than a whole class. It felt like I could focus in more on working with just the classmates at my table, allowing for a more interactive experience, and that’s just another great outcome of the peer teaching. For the concepts we learned about, it just makes sense to have the class follow along and engage, trying it for themselves. With that being said, had it been teaching to the whole class, I’d imagine it would have felt a lot less personal.

When learning this week, I was able to implement features to my site while learning. Reese came over and taught my table about summary and detail tags, allowing for clickable text that reveals more text, images, videos, etcetera. I used this all over my webpage, allowing me to consolidate information a bit easier in hopes of making the site seem less intimidating and more organized. She really helped walk us through things, step by step, and came over to personally assist in applying it to my code. Reese even offered to look into a question after class that I had about creating lists under summaries. I was able to figure it out really easily on my own, but the commitment was very appreciated. Chris and Bryce also both created some excellent sites with what they brought to the table, showing how to utilize float code and embed YouTube videos respectively. They had very clear and easy to understand instructions and helped show me what it all looks like in action.

I had a ton of fun creating this retro webpage. The fact that design choices and content were fully up to the creator made things initially scary, being so open ended, but ultimately allowed us to create something more fun or true to ourselves than potentially otherwise. For me, while messing around with HTML just to figure it out, I created a website called “Big Guys Drinking Milkshakes,” which looked like this:

While this was fun, silly, and way too funny to me, I wanted to go with something that mattered to me rather than just making something random and goofy. In the past, I’ve tended to stay away from admitting my “geeky” side and talking openly about the passion I have for PC gaming. Most people consider it a pointless hobby, but for me it has created some of the strongest relationships I have to this day and I couldn’t imagine my life without such a fun pastime. So, in realizing that I shouldn’t be ashamed of my joys, I decided to make my retro webpage the first part of a beginner’s guide to my favorite video game, Teamfight Tactics.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to include everything I wanted. As I got deeper and deeper into explaining the game and it’s systems, caveats, and so on, I realized that there was far more information to provide a thorough understanding of the game by it’s due date. Regardless, I’m very happy with the result of my page. At the bottom of the site, I included a fun “teaser” for part 2, listing all of the topics I could think of that I wanted to address and couldn’t quite get to. Ideally I’ll be able to flesh out an entire guide for new players on that page, but for now I think the time and effort I put in shines through.

In terms of actually writing the code for the site, I was actually genuinely surprised by the process. At first, HTML can be very overwhelming, but thanks to quick Google searches, answers on forums, and sites like W3schools.com, I was able to figure out basically everything I wanted without much trouble. There were some errors in my code along the way that confused me, but they were all minor slip ups, like forgetting to add a “</p>” somewhere. Eventually, it got to a point where I had a lot of techniques memorized and the code was practically flowing out of my fingertips.

Regarding our three guiding concepts, I feel that the activities and assignments to this point have definitely compounded a more concrete understanding of each for myself. Anyone can look at code and notice all sorts of tags with < and > and an array of numbers and hex codes, and so on and so on, but becoming truly digitally fluent means that you can go past this basic recognition and know what to expect from these pieces of code. For example, looking at the code for my website, I’d see a whole lot of <br>, <details>, <summary>, and so on. Previously they would just look like random letters or words, but now I can imagine what code using these would end up looking like. While looking back at Geocities and the uncertainty of the internet, a completely new beast with untellable potential, I noticed there were very valid fears of it. A lack of understanding of technology can come from general disinterest, but I had thought about the overwhelming potential of the internet. I think they were right to be cautious, because many people act unethically online. Throughout this whole semester, I’ve tried to keep this in mind, using an ethical and moral lens for viewing and creating. With my website, I took the approach of educating, providing solid information that is easy to fact check, trying not to mislead or confuse my audience. In terms of digital praxis, the retro webpage assignment really allowed us to flex our researching muscles and create some really great pages from literally nothing just a few weeks prior. We’ve gained the skills and understanding to pilot our ways through this, and I think that allowing us to take things “into our own hands” in a way really grew our knowledge of both HTML in general but also has provided insight into learning new techniques or troubleshooting using the internet.

All in all, I’m very proud of not only myself but the rest of the class this week. I feel that I did well teaching and did solid work on my webpage, but I was extremely impressed by others. Teaching anyone anything can be a lot of pressure for some, but what I saw was very promising and inspiring. On top of that, everyone’s retro sites look great! Check mine out when you get the chance!