Driving across Oklahoma, en route to WCKC.
There is nothing quite so amazing, fun, and inspiring (I could think of more adjectives, but I will leave it at that for now) as watching a classroom of children get excited about WordPress. The two hours that Sean Wells and I spent with our group of young students at the WordCamp kid’s session flew by.
For those who are wondering:
WordCamp is a conference that focuses on everything WordPress. WordCamps are informal, community-organized events that are put together by WordPress users like you. Everyone from casual users to core developers participate, share ideas, and get to know each other. WordCamps are open to WordPress.com and WordPress.org users alike.
When we first visualized a WordCamp in Albuquerque it was an absolute no-brainer that we would have a kid session. WordCamp Phoenix had just had a very successful session for kids and as a homeschool mom, it didn’t make any sense to not include it in our event. I didn’t know what to expect going into the session except for the couple of email conversations I had with Abbie Sanderson about the session she taught in Phoenix. We were prepared for pretty much anything, open to whatever the kids had to go over.
We started out the session with a few questions for the kids, asking them to tell us their names and what they wanted to do with a website or how they were going to use their website. I was surprised at how entrepreneurial the group was, a boy who is going to rent his toys out on his website and a girl who is making fancy cakes and selling them.
Here is a list of what we covered:
- The layout of the Dashboard
- How to set privacy settings (this was more for the parents than the kids)
- How to search for a theme and activate it
- How to customize Twenty Eleven (background and headers)
- How to add widgets, move them, and how to find them when you theme loses them from the sidebar
- How to add a new post and the difference between posts and pages
My kids and I had our first WordPress learning session this morning. I was inspired by a presentation at WordCamp Phoenix lead by Abbie Sanderson. We’re also having a Kids and WordPress session at our upcoming WordCamp, so what better way to work through the process but with my own pliable children, right?
Fortunately, we’re blessed with many laptops so my two older kids both sat down with a workable laptop and a fresh install of WordPress that I installed for them in advance (no wp.com for my kids, thank you very much, they have their own domain and a mama with server space).
As a side note, and an insight to my kid’s personalities: my 12 year old son loves the default WP 2011 theme, my 10 year old daughter doesn’t. He thinks it’s cool, she thinks it’s ugly. Sorry WP, but you aren’t getting the 10 year old demo here .
My kids work better if I’m more flexible and they seemed to be more interested in how their site looks, so we started with the Appearance tab on the Dashboard. I showed them how the custom header works in the new 2011 theme. They uploaded pictures to be used as their defualt header and played with the customizable background colors. Working with the built-in theme options was really enjoyable for them. I could have left it at that, but then I wouldn’t be a self-respecting homeschool mom (or annoying mom, depending on who you ask).
I had my kids head on over to Pages to create an About Me page. They each uploaded a picture, aligned it however they wanted and used all the fields for images: title, alt, and caption. Then they typed a few words about themselves. That was the part they thought was annoying, poor things.
Later on in the day, my kids were dying to get back at it and do some more work on her new blog. A future WP addict in the making!