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Tech Training

Millburn Library offers a variety of technology & computer training— click the boxes below to reveal our list of free learning tutorials & resources to accompany our programming. You can also check out our Online Resources page for more self-learning content available with your Millburn Library card, or our Calendar for upcoming events.

We hope to offer more technology classes in the future. In the meanwhile, you can drop suggestions in the Contact form at the bottom of this page, or if you have specific questions, join us for Tech 1-on-1 Help, run every Monday from 1:00-3:00pm. Please contact Digital Resources Librarian Matt to reserve a 30-minute timeslot.

Python Coding

Python logo

The Python language is one of the most popular and easy-to-use coding languages today. With it you can develop websites, create games, use artificial intelligence and much, much more. A great introduction to the world of programming, Python is the best place for new coders to start.

Office Software

Google Drive logo

From students to working professionals, most people will need to use office software at some point, whether its writing text documents, creating spreadsheets or making slideshows. Both Google (Gmail) and Microsoft OneDrive (Outlook email) provide a free suite of cloud-based office apps to users who have an email account with them.

Web Development

Interested in coding & website development? Get started with learning the three languages needed to create all websites: HTML, CSS & JavaScript. With the free resources below anyone can teach themselves the basics.

Learning Resources

Python Coding

Getting Started
Where to Code
Learning & Help

Getting Started

Before you start writing your own programs and starting projects, it’s best to learn the foundations. Complete one of the following tutorials as step one of your programming journey (or, if you’re looking for a complete textbook, search the library catalog).

  • W3Schools.com: this is the place to start programming if you’re a complete beginner. W3Schools has extensive tutorials (and live practice demos) to learn the basics of many programming languages, including HTML, CSS & Javascript, plus a number of back-end languages, like PHP & Python.
  • Universal Class: a full 15-lesson Python course, including notes, videos, and links to outside resources, free with your Millburn Library card. Completion of the course & exam gives you an CEU (continuing education unit) credits and a certificate.
  • Codecademy: a free resource that has lessons, cheatsheets, forums & more in HTML, CSS & Javascript, Python, Ruby & more, plus lessons on topics like Web Development, Machine Learning, and Game Design.
  • FreeCodeCamp: in-depth tutorials on tons of programming languages, including Python. Tutorials are about specific areas of programming, so if a particular tool is giving you trouble, check here for some help.

Lastly, every programmer needs a repository to store all their files in the cloud, no matter what language they use.

  • Github: free, cloud-based storage software to house all your programming files. Github also allows programmers to version control, an important tool as you build larger projects. You can also use your Github account to create accounts on many other coding websites, just like you might use a Gmail. (Take the Github intro course.)

Where to Code

While you can download & install software to write & run code, it’s easiest to use a web-based IDE (integrated development environment) when getting started, because you can get started in seconds.

  • Replit IDE: a free web-based IDE that supports over 50 languages to write & run code directly from a browser, including Python, HTML, CSS & Javascript, C, Java & Ruby. (Harvard also has a free, cloud-based Python IDE; they also offer multiple free, full-length computer science courses online, though they are college-level.)
  • Google Colaboratory: a free coding environment provided by Google where coders can practice Python (you’ll need a Gmail account). A Jupyter Notebook editor, with Colab you can write Python and take notes in the same place, and your files will be stored in Google Drive.
  • Glitch: a community-based coding space where you can create your own website, Node/React apps, SQL database and more! Better yet, browse the community of projects for ideas.
  • Trinket: a simple IDE for Python, with the advantage that you can embed your live Python code on other sites if you want.

Where to Get Learn & Get Help

  • Python Checker: copy-&-paste your code here to check for errors and style recommendations.
  • Python Tutor: visualizes the execution of Python code, step-by-step through the flow of code. A great tool for beginners to see how code is run and how values change. Can also run Javascript, Ruby, Java, C & C++.
  • RealPython: a tutorial resource that has tons of large, in-depth free lessons on specific topics, all with included code examples.
  • Stack Overflow: a Q&A forum run by a community of beginners & professionals, Stack is the place to go when looking up something or trouble-shooting a bug— just google your question and find a Stack Overflow hit for good results.
  • Codewars: solve puzzles and create ingenious solutions to programming problems, in nearly 30 back-end languages, including C, Java, Javascript, Python, Ruby, Rust & more. Problems are ranked by difficulty level, so you can start basic before you take on more challenging problems. You can even see others’ solutions and discuss with community members the best way to code.
Online Access

Cloud Office Suites

Microsoft Office OneDrive
Google Drive

Did you know that you can get Microsoft Office Suite for free? With your free Microsoft OneDrive account you get the Web versions of popular programs like Word, Excel & more. You’ll also get a cloud-based storage drive and an email address. You can even share & collaborate on the same file with others at the same time. Each link below is a tutorial for that program. UniversalClass also offers multiple full-length courses for Microsoft, and completing their courses earns you CEU and a certificate.

In addition to the free OneDrive account, students & educators can get Microsoft365 (which has the ‘full version’ of each program) for free— check here to see if you’re school participates.

With your free Gmail account, you also get access to a whole suite of free web apps, just like the free Microsoft Office apps. Most Google & Microsoft apps are cross-compatible, meaning if you create a document in Microsoft Word, for example, you can import and finish it in Google Sheets.

  • Gmail: click here for a short cheat-sheet from our Library program “Managing Gmail” on using all the “extra” stuff in your Google email, like using filters, making contact groups, searching & organizing your inboxes.
  • Docs
  • Sheets
  • Slides
  • Drive (15 GB free storage), Calendar, Forms & more
HTML, CSS & JS

Website Development

Getting Started
HTML
CSS
JavaScript
Your Website

What are HTML, CSS & JavaScript?

These are website development programming languages, aka the “code” behind all websites. HyperText Markup Language (HTML) is the language with which webpages are written. Specifically, HTML describes the structure & content of a webpage (a page’s stuff), with CSS controlling style & layout (the look of a page) and JavaScript controlling any dynamic behavior (what a page does). Together, HTML, CSS & JavaScript make up the “golden trio” of basic web development.

All three languages work together to build websites, and with free, online tutorials you can easily teach yourself enough basics to build your own webpages, without the need to handle complicated software downloads or have other advanced computer skills.

Click on the tabs above for online resources.

HyperText Markup Language (HTML) is the foundational language with which webpages are written. HTML content (the text that shows on the webpage itself) is wrapped in tags that tell the web browser what kind of content it is: paragraph text, a heading, a web-link, etc.

Take the W3Schools or CodeAcademy tutorials to get going with HTML first, and use the HTML Cheat Sheet for quick reference as you learn. Universal Class also has a free full-length class, available with your library card.

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) is a programming language used to select and define the style of HTML elements of webpages, from colors, spacing, borders, font-size, mobile-responsiveness and even animations. While .html files can have inline or page-level style, an external .css file can save a lot of time and apply styles to any webpage that refers to it.

You can take free introductory tutorials of CSS at W3Schools or CodeAcademy. Universal Class has a free full-length class available with your library card.

Once you’re comfortable with CSS, take a look at Sass, which is “super-powered CSS”. Or, use a CSS framework like Bootstrap, Bulma or Foundation, which provides you with ready-made framework so you don’t have to code everything manually.

JavaScript (JS) is a programming language that can select and alter HTML or CSS elements on a webpage in response to actions, like clicking buttons, giving a webpage behavior. You can also use logic & conditionals in JS programming.

JavaScript is both a front-end and back-end language. Front-end languages, like HTML & CSS (and JS), are responsible for the part of the website that most people see, or the user experience: the layout & style, content, navigation menus and so on. Back-end languages, on the other hand, handle the server-side, hidden side of things, such as interacting with a database.

Take either the W3Schools or CodeAcademy quick tutorial, or the full-length course available at Universal Class with your library card.

Once you learn JavaScript, take a look at the JQuery framework (quick tutorial / Universal Class series), and the Angular Library (tutorial here), both of which add-on to JavaScript functionality & ease-of-use.

When practicing web development, you can save your webpage files as .html, .css & .js, and open your HTML homepage file with a web browser. Your website will by ‘locally’ available. But you can also practice your HTML, CSS & JavaScript skills and see live results instantly as you type, plus check out other coders’ projects and learn how to do amazing things, at the following free resources:

Publishing a website live to the Internet will usually have hosting costs, but the following all offer free static website hosting for small projects:

Seen something you’ve like on someone’s website? Or perhaps you want to test-drive a change to your own website? Learn about the Inspect tool offered by most modern browsers (follow the Chrome Dev Tools guide to learn more), where you can see (and change) the HTML, CSS & JavaScript of any webpage.

Other Computer Skills Resources

Millburn Library also offers personal Tech 1-on-1 Help every Monday, between 1:00-3:00pm. Book an appointment with our Digital Resources Librarian Matt below to ask questions about a topic. The Library also has a whole shelf full of technology & computer skills books for borrowing.

Computer Books
 

CONTACT

any questions, comments or suggestions