Throughout the spring semester, I have been training high school students in all things WordPress. As a member of the WordPress Training Team, this was a great chance to test out the curriculum that we’ve been writing as a team. I get so excited to see people go from novice to advanced and how this can benefit their interests and needs. I love seeing students “get it” and asking great questions that keep the learning process moving forward. When presented with the opportunity to step back into the classroom as a long-term substitute teacher, I jumped into action.
Why WordPress?Within the WordPress community, this seems like an obvious answer. But in the educational world, this is a much bigger question. Public education will first look to the curriculum created for their program, which is exactly where I looked.
- National Business Education Association (NBEA) – as a business, computer, and information technology certified public educator, this is the organization that really organizes exactly what curriculum areas I am certified in, as well as what students of these programs should know.
- International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) – an international organization providing guidance for what students should be able to do upon graduation
- Common Core – reading and writing across the curriculum
- Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) – state standards. I selected grades 10 – 12 in career education and STEM
- National Occupational Competency Testing Institute for Career and Technical Education (NOCTI CTE) – This is the organization providing oversight to the vocational technical school programs regarding curriculum and competency testing result
From installing a content management system on each student’s own web server account to building plugins and child themes, this group of students has advanced in their website administration skills.
WordPress CurriculumI knew I would have from January 25 – May 2, 2016 for 3 hours daily with my students. I approached our rough curriculum roadmap based upon the time, abilities, prior knowledge, and existing training materials available.
WordPress Power User
- WordPress.com vs self-hosted
- Also what can be found on WordPress.org
- How to install WordPress locally (using Desktop Server)
- Administration Dashboard overview
- Setting up your website
- Finding a theme (default themes and themes from the WordPress Repository)
- Posts and Pages (when to use each)
- Managing Widgets
- Managing Menus
- Managing Media
- Managing Comments
- Adding Plugins (from WordPress Repository)
- Contact form
- Social media sharing
- Theme Customizer
- Managing Theme, Plugin, and Core updates
- Migrating from WordPress.com to self-hosted (students previously built portfolios on WordPres.com)
- Managing Users
WordPress: Careers, Open Source, and News
- Overview of all the WordPress teams and how they work
- WordPress events
- WordCamps, Meetups, and unofficial conferences
- Places to learn more about WordPress
- WordPress.tv content
- WordPress current news
- Podcasts about WordPress
- Youtube shows and training videos
- Types of careers related to WordPress
- Front-End developer
- Back-End developer
- Full-Stack developer
- Plugin developer
- Theme developer
- Customer support
- Project manager
- Technical writer
- Community manager
- Agency worker
Commercial Themes and Starter Theme FrameworksAfter getting the basics of how to be a great user of WordPress, I wanted to expose students to the current landscape of what is possible. The themes that I selected to show students:
- Genesis theme, Magazine Theme Pro child theme – I wanted students to be familiar with one of the largest theme frameworks on the market today. They were provided the same instructions that all customers receive, and went about configuring their site layout using widgets for styling. I also had students install the Genesis Simple Hooks plugin and customize a few settings this way.
- Headway Themes – the original drag/drop theme in WordPress. Personally it is my favorite, but may not be for everyone.
- Visual Composer – this one is on the future plans. I haven’t reached this yet, but would like to show students one more option that seems to be fairly popular.
- Underscores – this will be near the end of our time together, as building a theme from Underscores will take some advanced programming skills.
PluginsWith Plugins, I want students to understand both how to write their own beginner level plugins, as well as using several popular commercial plugins.
- Creating a boilerplate
- Create a plugin that cc’s an email when someone leaves a comment on the site
- Create a plugin that customizes the welcome message new users receive
- Create a plugin that displays a copyright notice on the screen
- Create a plugin that displays a copyright notice on RSS feeds
- Gravity Forms
- The Events Calendar Pro
- Beaver Builder