The Webslam curriculum does not require any previous knowledge of code or web development. The week starts with an introduction to HTML and CSS; then students work with DHF tutors and mentors from their local tech community to develop an understanding of technology as well as the principles of good design, professional communication, and project-driven responsibility. Using adaptive technology, the students earn badges demonstrating proficiencies in key areas of design and development. And by Friday afternoon, the student competitors will have the skills necessary to design websites for non-profits and local businesses.
That’s where the real challenge begins.
The key to Webslam’s success is that it brings kids together to design real websites for real clients in their community. In Baltimore, DHF’s students have created sites for several groups including Baltimore Angels, The Baltimore Free Store, and Arena Players – in fact, the Webslam students who completed the Arena Players site spent the summer in paid tech internships.
Students at Metro School are competing to become members of their school’s web design team.
The value of these events should not be underestimated. Working one-on-one with mentors in the tech community, students build new capacity and develop a new sense of what is possible. By engaging a school’s greatest asset — its students — Webslam creates a new dynamic for learning. A dynamic based in community, collaboration, and a spirit of constructive competition — and a dynamic based on DHF’s motto of prepping students to be innovators who “get paid to think”.