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Internet class gets youths online

Springville High School educators are hoping to instruct students and local businesses about computer technology through a new course that teaches students to design, construct and post pages on the Internet.

After its first experimental year during the 1996-97 school year, SHS Web Publishing is now operating at full speed. Local businesses are selected and students design their pages with these businesses in mind, hoping that the businesses will later be interested in having the class post the pages on the Internet."We're trying to attract businesses that want to be supportive of good educational projects while at the same time giving them low-cost, low-risk business exposure on the Internet," said Springville High School English and art history teacher Janean McPolin. She and business teacher Carey Montierth teach the Web publishing class, which actually consists of two class periods and gives students credit in both English and business.

Students are learning HTML code, the actual code used to create a Web page, as well as other tools such as Adobe Photoshop and Java. Montierth said the skills will make students more valuable as employees.

"They will be the natural Webmaster or Web person of that company," she said. By the end of the class, students will also have a portfolio of their designs to show potential employers.

Students are assigned the names of several businesses for which they then create three different Web pages: a home page, an information page and a children's page. For the main page, the student uses whatever information he or she can glean from ads or the phone book.

To construct the information page, students do research in the library about topics relating to the business they have been assigned. McPolin said the purpose of creating this page is to teach students about intellectual property and when credit needs to be given to a source.

Creating a children's page - which may include games or crafts - teaches students to think about their target audience, she said.

Only after all this work is completed is a business contacted. McPolin and Montierth send a letter to the business explaining what the student has done; the student then follows up with a call to the business and attempts to set up an appointment with the business owner. If the business owner is interested in seeing the student's work, the student goes to the appointment with a teacher and another student and makes a presentation to the business owner, hoping to persuade him or her to have the class place the page on the Web for a year.

If the business owner agrees to the service, he or she signs an agreement to make a donation to the Web publishing class. The suggested donation is $75, which is used to pay for class materials such as a recently purchased digital camera. However, businesses also have other options, such as donating $75 to the SHS Web Publishing Student Scholarship Fund or giving supplies or services to the class. Only the main page created by the student is offered to the business for the $75 donation, but the business may add up to two additional pages created and posted by the class for an additional donation.

In exchange, the class agrees to make any changes the business may want before the page is placed on the Web and update the page twice during the year, McPolin said. Web storage space is being donated by Max Bertola, president of the Association of Independent Web Publishers, for the class to post its Web pages. Currently, 10 businesses have pages on the Web created by Springville High students; these pages may be viewed at (www.edu-partners.com).

The class is run like a business, McPolin said. Before enrolling, students are required to submit a resume and letters of recommendation from an English and business teacher. Students must keep a record of how they spend their time in class.

McPolin said the class doesn't compete with private companies who design Web pages because the class will only post a Web page for a business for a year. After that, the class will provide a list of companies the business can contact if it wishes to have a permanent Web page.

The Web publishing class is the direct result of chemistry teacher Steven Haderlie's early insight that the Internet would be a boon to education, McPolin said. Haderlie began teaching Springville High instructors and students about the technology and his students have since created the school's own Web page. Business department chairman Glen Bailey followed this up with a telecommunications course that teaches basic Internet skills; this class is now a prerequisite to the Web publishing course, McPolin said.

Students in the class said the course has been fun so far but also a challenge. "I'm really into computers and the Internet," said 16-year-old Matt Shelley. "It's something that not everyone knows about . . . It makes you unique."