I stopped my grade six class earlier this year in an instantaneous moment of reflection and told them that they could go home and build a website for almost any purpose, even eCommerce, based on what they knew about site design right then.
They weren’t impressed. But I was.
I’ve taught every student from grade two through eight everything they need to know to build their own site using WordPress. They can post articles as well as tag and categorize posts for ideal SEO optimization. We call tags and categories large and small “boxes” – ask me about it!. They can add pages and menus to their sites to customize them to suit their own personalities or purpose. They can add plug-ins to add functionality to their sites. They can all import videos and images to their site. Of course there are many many other things they could learn, but I bet they know more about web site design than most of their parents do right now. Considering the specific demographics of the community my school is in, I would suggest that the ratio of students knowing more than their parents, would be even higher almost anywhere else.
I chose WordPress because it is what I know the best to be honest. I’ve been building WordPress sites for ten years. Wordpress is a massive CMS (Content Management System) and is used for every type of site under the sun. Over 18% of all websites, are WordPress sites.¹ That being said, my personal knowledge was not the primary reason I chose WordPress. I wanted the students to be exposed to a system they could use for anything, at anytime. I didn’t want to “dumb it down” because they were “just kids”. By teaching them WordPress I am enabling them to hit the ground running. When asked to create a website in the future (and we all know of course they will) they will have a strong working knowledge of the most widely used website system on the planet.
This generation of students needs to be inspired and engaged; encouraged to be creative and given an output for their creativity.
This generation of students needs to be inspired and engaged; encouraged to be creative and given an output for their creativity. They also need to see practical outcomes and real manifestations of their work. They need to demonstrate their learning, not in testing and quiz’s but in real tangible things they can see, feel, and touch to remind them that they are learning. Web site design hits on all those points, and also assists other subjects in doing the same.
If your students have their own sites, ask them to post their school work. You can even go so far as to ask them to submit their assignment on their website only – no hard copies. They will be proud of what they have done, and be likely more than willing to show it off to the world. They will also seek to produce even better work, knowing that the expectation is that the work will be posted online eventually.
We are one year into what is a long journey for many of these kids. My grade two’s will have websites for their entire elementary school career! I can’t wait to see what six years of content looks like when they are in grade eight.