WordPress for Education – Review

WordPress for Education by Adam Scott is one of those rare books that fits a niche I didn’t even know existed. I had never thought about the complexities of using WordPress for EducationWordPress in an educational environment before hearing the title of this work. Once I began to think about it and to explore what it meant to use a tool like WordPress within an educational environment, or for that matter to use it within any reasonably interactive learning arena, the need became clear.

While the author does cover the perfunctory topics of installing WordPress, getting a theme set up, and establishing users, he does not dwell on those areas. Thankfully. There are far too many excellent books that cover these tasks in depth. Best not to waste the meat of the book on those things. While the topics of security, backup, and optimization are touched on so the first time WordPress user knows they exist, the suggestion is obviously that those are topics for further reading.

Very quickly Scott gets down to business with plugins that will aid in education – such as those for generating bibliographies or for exporting your entire site as an electronic book. Even more important are the chapters on using multi-user WordPress, BuddyPress, and Open Courseware to develop a fully integrated electronic classroom environment. This can be anything from as simple as posting assignments online to as complex as letting students develop their own smaller sub-sites, creating discussion groups for interactive learning, and submitting and grading the final results.

Scott has a very easy and likable writing style. He has obviously used the products he is talking about and knows their details. He presents that information in the same way you would hope a good professor would, in a friendly yet authoritative manner. In WordPress for Education he presents the information you need to know while not pretending to be the be-all-end-all source, which is impossible because WordPress is a constantly changing and evolving platform.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is contemplating setting up an online education environment be it in primary education, secondary, or beyond. This also applies to businesses.  We must not forget that education continues long after leaving the school building. Many of the techniques and tools in Scott’s work would be excellent for implementation in employee training, religious education, vocational training, or other areas. Even civic clubs like writer’s groups or any organization that has a teaching or testing process could benefit from at least a light read of the book.

Also note that, as is the case with all Packt Publishing books, the WordPress for Education is available in both paper and multiple electronic formats, so it is quite convenient to have with you in whatever form you prefer.

Note: The publisher gave me a copy of this book for the purpose of. There were no strings attached, and that gratis review copy in no way influenced my opinions towards this work.

Extremist Stupidity

Can someone explain to me how anyone in this country, right or left, would not want their child listening to an address by the President. I really don’t care which I way lean, if the President is making a speech, especially to children regarding education, I would love for my kids to hear it. It can be by Bush or by Obama, by Reagan or by Clinton. These are important people, arguably the most important single individuals in our country, so why would I not want my children to hear them speak?

Some say that in his upcoming speech to our schools President Obama will try to push his leftist agenda. Well first of all, that is kind of narrow minded. But even more importantly, why would any parent be so afraid that one speech on a television by a distant individual is going to undo all of the teachings they have done with their child. Perhaps they are afraid their kid will learn the truth? Perhaps they are afraid that they haven’t had such a great influence on their child up to this point? Perhaps they haven’t watched the horrible role models their children are glued to TV every afternoon and evening?

When I hear the hatred and fear being spewed out of some of these parent’s mouths, I realize that our educational and religious systems really have failed some people. Only pure ignorance, stupidity and bigotry could fuel such comments. I am left in pure sad wonder at these events. And with that, more than anything else, I fear for the future of this great country.