Teaching my mom to hack the web

Soon after I started working on the Maker Party campaign I knew that I would have to start planning for my own party. Weeks of thinking what I could do and how I could contribute to the party were resolved on one sunny afternoon when my mother turned to me and said “it’s so cool how you make things, I wish I could create something online.” As you can imagine the light bulb went off in my head. As I told my mom that she was capable of creating anything she wanted online, we decided we would run our own kitchen party. A kitchen party is a small activity to learn more about the web that you can do around the ‘kitchen table’ in a short amount of time. It was perfect for our small group of two. Plus, there is this handy how-to guide online for us to follow.

We started out by installing X-Ray Goggles in our toolbar to use on our favourite sites that we visit daily. Goggles is a great way to get under the hood of sites to learn the code that goes behind the text and images on that site. We went to news sites to search around and became familiar with how lines of codes are written and what they look like. Once we became more comfortable we went over to The Weather Network where we started to hack the weather page from Toronto. You can see our small (and silly) weather description changes here.

Using X-Ray Goggles to inspect a site code
Using X-Ray Goggles to inspect a site code

From there we moved onto the big stuff. We went over to Webmaker.org to check out what other people were making on the web. After going through a few examples my mom decided she wanted to use Thimble to create a postcard. Our family has recently booked our first every family vacation on a cruise through the Caribbean with my moms siblings and all of my cousins. Anticipating our winter cruise, mom decided to create a postcard to increase the excitement among the rest of the family. We started slow by following the instructions on the page on how to change things and soon enough we had the text, title, picture and colours changed. She was zooming through it! So I decided to challenge her to do things for which she had no instructions, such as create a new line or find the url for her image. With a little help, mom started writing her first lines of code. You can see mom’s completed postcard here and even remix it to create one of your own.

Working in Thimble to create the postcard
Working in Thimble to create the postcard

It was great to show my mom how she too can hack the web and create things on her own. I like to think she’s a savvy parent but seeing her do something small like learning how to close a line of code made me proud. Some of my family would stop by our work station to check out what she was making and tell her it looked good. I can’t wait to start introducing her to more tools and seeing what else she can make.

Making a postcard for our family
Making a postcard for our family
My dog Teddy joins the fun
My dog Teddy joins the fun

4 thoughts on “Teaching my mom to hack the web

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