I made my students in all my classes this semester learn WordPress this semester, and devoted a considerable chunk of their writing for the class to weekly posts. Now why should students at a liberal arts college learn such technology? First, WordPress is open-source, web-based software; this translates to students have access to it all the time, even after they graduate. Second, WordPress is most useful in managing websites with multiple authors – it is a recognizable standard outside of academia that is used to construct 22% of websites on the internet. Third, it is relatively easy to learn – people (even college faculty!) can quickly construct and manage a WordPress site (for free on WordPress.com) without learning any coding.
In Argyll, Scotland, 9 year old Martha Payne wanted to showcase her school lunches, and so started a site in 2009 that featured pictures and commentary on her food; I guess she was 6 at the time, and must have had help from her Dad! Her blog, Never Seconds, has become an international hit, with over one million hits. Now she also features school lunches from all over the world, as fans send her pictures of their own school lunches.
I don’t think any of our websites from my community-based learning food and culture class this past spring will be able to match Payne’s achievement. Maybe she’ll come to Davidson. Thanks Victoria for sending me the link.