Talking About WordPress in High School

This past year, I’ve participated in a number of different meetups and speaking engagements all of which are oriented around blogging, WordPress, development, or something similar.

Generally speaking, I’ve enjoyed the events that I’ve attended. I always try to keep it really laid back (I make a lot of my presentations in Paper, even), and do what I can to make the events more of a discussion rather than a lecture.

For the most part, it goes well, but yesterday was a bit of a different audience: high school students.

WordPress in High School

The Next Generation of WordPressers

When I was in college, I served as a teacher’s assistant for a few semesters and during which I held recitations and office hours. Talking to a group of your peers about a subject that you’re passionate about – or at least somewhat interested in – is relatively easy.

But high school is a bit different. After all, I remember what was like in high school and I don’t know if I’d want to speak to myself.

Yesterday wasn’t like that, though.

Espousing Wisdom?

Ideas, Branding, and Impact

Instead, I had the pleasure of speaking with a group of students about WordPress, Standard, Blogging, personal branding, and its impact both academically and professionally and they were completely engaged in the topic.

Specifically, I hit on the following points:

  • 8BIT is a startup that my partners and I built to focus on building products for digital publishers. Our ultimate goal is to create a working environment that gives us the feeling of looking forward to going into work that most people have to going home at 5pm.
  • Standard is our flagship product and it’s built on the WordPress philosophy of “decisions, not options.” We want to make sure that we do everything we can to prevent the user from failing all the while empowering them to level-up their presence online.
  • Personal Branding isn’t so much about a little image or icon – like a product brand – that’s associated with who you are, but what you’re publishing on the Internet, how it can affect you academically and professionally, and how it can do so both negatively and positively.

I had a great time – the students asked a lot great questions, were engaged with the content, and seemed to be genuinely curious about how blogging, social media, and other online tools are relevant to their future.

Permitting things pan out well, I – along with the rest of the team – should be able to speak more regularly about the above topics in future semester.

Definitely looking forward to getting WordPress in the hands of the next generation.

Man. That makes me sound a bit old.

12 Replies to “Talking About WordPress in High School”

  1. I had a full 2-semester class on web development basics and WordPress theme development 2 years ago in a local high school, it’s still ongoing (3rd year in a row) and I also have regular meetups for specific WordPress topics (seminar based). Given the fact that GSoC 2011 had WordPress as one of it’s platforms and there is a new Training division on WordPress make, it’s on the front rows for the social events in the next year or two.

    1. Nice!

      My team and I are looking to begin doing routine meetups and seminars at our new office space starting next year.

      The interest is definitely out there, but I think that people – especially developers – end up discovering WordPress during college or later and I think it’s worth spending time with students prior to that.

  2. Such a worthwhile thing to do. I was speaking to a friend of mine who teaches computing at a local college here, and I asked what they covered in terms of web stuff. As it turns out, the computing curriculum for colleges in my state, doesn’t cover anything on web at all, except for a couple of java applets.

    So we chatted, and I ended up doing 2x 1.5 hour sessions introducing the web and WordPress. (first one being web, second WP). It was really a very rewarding experience, and the students seemed really engaged.

    Will definitely have to do it again next year :)

    1. Luckily, a lot of the colleges around my area have relatively strong computer science programs so students are generally well prepared – even if it’s just for using applications – after school.

      High school is a mixed bag, though. Some schools do a killer job of teaching it; others, not so much.

      At any rate, it’s one of those things that I hope I’m able to keep doing. I have a strong interest in teaching others especially those interested in building things for the web.

  3. A few things:
    1. Love the subtle Saved By the Bell tribute with the thumbnail image. Nice. Go Bayside!
    2. I’ve used Paper in meetings before to talk about topics and it’s awesome. It’s a great tool.
    3. I think it’s so awesome that the 8BIT team in engaging the next generation. I’ve thought about how to do this with my own kids and encourage them to try new, creative things.
    Keep up the good work.

      1. “Talkin’ ’bout friends forever.” :)
      2. Yeah – I dig seeing how others use it. I still use it for doodles and design sketches, but it’s been really good for setting up presentations, too.
      3. Thank you, sir. We’re looking to do even more of it in the coming year so hopefully this isn’t the last post like this!
    1. In this particular instance, the teacher contacted us but I’d be anything that contacting a local school’s technology department would make it so easy.

      The teacher’s get a break, get to bring someone in with real world experience, and if you run the talk right, the kids end up having a lot of fun rather than listening to some trombone (ala Charlie Brown ;) stand up and talk about the latest version of Microsoft Office.

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