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New Kids on the Blog

I’ve been toying with the idea of starting a blogging class for kids for a while. I homeschool my kids and for some reason it is so hard for me to get my kids blogging. I suppose it’s the old shoemakers kids scenario. Finally, I decided the best way to get them blogging would be to offer a class to my homeschool group. Committing to working with the children of my friends would mean my kids could ride along.

After talking about it and talking about it, we finally did it. Last week, I had six kiddos in my house, sitting around the dining room table: taxing my wifi, setting up blogs and publishing their first post and second and third in some cases). In case anyone is interested in replicating this experiment, here’s how it goes:

Tools

  • laptop or device per child
  • WordPress.com accounts for each child – we set these up at the beginning of the class, parents should stick around till this is done
  • WordPress.com COPPA form per child under 13 for parental signature

Discussion

  • What’s a blog?
  • What kinds of things can you blog about?
  • What should we call the group?

Once everyone got a blog set up, we went through a super quick tutorial to get the kids up to speed with publishing a post. I didn’t want to spend too long on it since these kids are spending a lot of time online, and are generally familiar with how to manipulate a website.

Once they had the basics they were set and I let them ask me questions as they came up. Some of the kids discovered how to search and insert YouTube videos, some stuck with uploading pictures and others dug right into checking out themes and customizing theme options.

I’m reasonably sure the kids had fun, the moms were pleased, and we decided to get together once a month. If anyone has any questions I’m happy to give more details, just let me know!

WordPress Minifigs

We let the kids open a gift on the eve of Christmas Eve. This year was no exception.

As usual, we ended up with more under the tree than we expected, but this gift rules them all. I picked up some super cute Lego minifigs in September from a coworker and swagmeister. So excited to finally be able to gift them.

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Karen chatting

ABQ WP Happiness Hour

We had a great WordPress meetup tonight at WESST with some new folks and some familiar faces. A pretty wide variety of geekery was covered, including custom fields, multisites, caching, server config, themes and Bootstrap, and make.wordpress.org.

With a dev group like this I expect some pretty awesome things to come out of our local WP scene this coming year.

Although, maybe they just came for the pizza. :)

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Digital Family Summit WordPress Workshop

WordPress.com sponsored the Digital Family Summit in Baltimore, Maryland this weekend and asked me and three of my coworkers to represent the company. They also asked us to lead a WordPress Workshop, so Velda, Alx, and Jennifer helped me make the workshop happen. It appears the kids had a great time:

Fantastic Family Time

I go on a lot of business trips and this was a rare opportunity for my family to participate. They had such a good time meeting the kids of my coworkers. This picture does nothing to show the relationships they developed with each other, but I think you can tell they were having a good time:

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WordPress Workshop

We had a nice crowd for the workshop and got through all the basics: creating an account and a new blog on WordPress.com, posts, pages, themes, menus, and widgets.

I think next time I do this I might include a brainstorming session about blogging ideas and inspiration. These kids were so smart and ready to go that I think we could have done some serious work on their blogs and helped them find direction for continuing to blog after they go home from the conference.

Digital Doctors

All four of us participated in the Digital Doctors Session, but I only got shots of Alx and me.

A bit more fun:

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Get Kids Blogging at the Digital Family Summit

Originally posted on WordPress.com News:

Attending the Digital Family Summit this coming weekend in Baltimore, Maryland? Our own Karen Arnold will lead a workshop to teach kids and their families how to get started blogging on WordPress.com. Karen, along with Velda Christensen, Alx Block, and Jennifer Dodd will be on hand to teach kids and their families how to set up their WordPress.com blogs. The workshop will break into smaller groups to help kids customize their sites. The WordPress.com workshop takes place on Saturday, October 12th from 3:30 to 6:00 p.m.

Already registered and need some ideas on how to get started? What does your child/tween/teen love? Horses? Lego? Video Games? Books? Pets? Sports? Blogging about hobbies and interests is a great way to help kids learn more about what grabs their attention and meet other kids and families with the same interests. Kids also gain important digital literacy skills and learn how to be…

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WordCamp ABQ 2013 – Part Two: Sessions

My recap of WCABQ wouldn’t be complete without some words about the fabulous speakers and sessions that made up the main day of WordCamp.

First of all, I couldn’t possibly write a recap post without mentioning the fantastic volunteers and organizers that made WordCamp possible. The planning team worked their tails off: Ray Gulick, Maralyn Beck, Julianna Silva, Jamii Corley, Zerek Welz, Cara Christenson, Mary Garcia, Brooks Walch, and Samantha Metheny. We also had some super volunteers who are too numerous to mention here and a rockstar list of speakers.

Without further ado, here are the pics, courtesy of Melinda Hess and Patricia Letter of Convivial Studios.

This year we added our event to a calendar of tech events called Tech Fiesta ABQ, part of an effort to support and encourage tech activity in the city. It was fun and made it possible for us to use the Convention Center for the sessions. We had a lovely lunch in Civic Plaza which I do not have pics of, but was probably, after the Hackathon, my favorite part of the weekend.

We had a couple more photographers roaming around so there may be more pics that appear eventually, but this is good enough for now, right?

Want more info about WCABQ? Take a look at the website.

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WordCamp ABQ 2013 – Part One: Hackathon

WordCamp ABQ has been over for weeks now and it is high time I blog about it. Right? Right.

We kicked the WCABQ2013 off with a rockin’ hackathon organized by a fantastic local volunteer, Brooks Walsh.

Wait, what’s a hackathon? Well, hackathons can take several different shapes, ours is essentially an effort to create a website from start to finish for a local organization that needs help. This year we selected a local charter school, Corrales International School, in need of a redo since their old site was built in Joomla.

Our hackathon is fun, it is intense, we run behind, we catch up, and it always turns out great. This year we had a core team that really kept it together till the bitter end. Other folks in the community came by to lend a hand as well. Running concurrently is a Meet & Greet for attendees and speakers. We do these events at the same time for a couple of reasons. One, folks want to meet and greet and two, lots of attendees may not think they can take part in a hackathon and this is a way for them to see the work going on. It’s a community effort and everyone benefits.

Here are the pics:

Our caliber of hackers this year was amazing, Brooks really brought together a fantastic team. They were able to get everything sorted, even including a plugin at the last minute to add a teacher role. The plugin messed some things up: the menu got deleted and some redundant data appeared, but the team was able to revert everything and fix it all up with only minor rebuilding.

As always, we learn how to do things better for future hackathons. For example, we elected to use a theme to save time, but we used one that nobody was familiar with so that slowed the work up a bit. Another thing that slowed our work was experimenting with using the client’s web hosting space for the development site. Once we figured out this was going nowhere, the team figured out a workable solution, sticking the dev site on Dreamhost temporarily.

In the end, an organization in need of a website received a pretty great start.

Want more info about WCABQ? Take a look at the website.