I know it’s a bit late in the game (just 4 days off) but I added the following proposal to the session wiki for EduBloggerCon San Antonio this evening:

WordPress as a Blogging Platform: Plug-Ins, Options, Pitfalls and Benefits
Wordpress is an outstanding open source blogging engine. Let’s visit about our favorite plug-ins for WordPress, discuss what makes WordPress great, what pitfalls / challenges it presents, discuss templates, sidebar add-ons, upgrade procedures / best practices, and anything else you can think of related to WordPress. Whether you have been using WordPress for years or are interested in learning more about its benefits and how to get started, let’s have some conversations that can help us all move forward in our use of WordPress!

There are several reasons I added this session:

  • I’d love to learn more about WordPress from other educators who have and continue to use WordPress regularly! A keyword search for “WordPress” in the NECC 2008 program search turns up zero results, so I’m thinking this isn’t a topic we’ll see addressed formally at the main conference. I’m particularly interested in learning what plug-ins other WordPress users consider essential which I’m not using and/or don’t know about yet. (I have my current list of plug-ins listed on my blog about page.)
  • We need to evangelize and advocate for great open source software solutions like WordPress both formally and informally. Since it’s open source, I’m guessing we’re not going to see or hear a lot of hoopla on the vendor floor for WordPress. Yet it is a fantastic blogging platform for both individual and team blogs, and I think everyone in education should have some familiarity with it!
  • I’ve got some specific questions about PodPress and WordPress 2.5 that I’m hoping some other folks can help answer for me. I have updated four of the five WordPress blogs I maintain to version 2.5+, but not all of them, and podcasting/podpress is the main reason I’ve held off on one. I can’t find the PodPress stats on my WordPress 2.5+ blogs! I’m not entirely sure Podpress is fully supported on WordPress 2.5.

Voting polls for each proposed session at EduBloggerCon are available on the wiki. In addition to EduBloggerCon I’m looking forward to the NECC “Unplugged” conversations at the blogger’s cafe.

Incidentally, I’ve proposed that Karen Montgomery, Vicki Allen and I share a live “Technology Shopping Cart Podcast” on Tuesday, July 1st fro 3:30 to 4:30 pm in the Emerging Technologies Lounge at NECC. I was inspired by the WOW2 live webcast last year at NECC in Atlanta… This would provide us with a great chance to discuss iPhones in the classroom and webapps for learning!

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  • http://cogdogblog.com/ Alan Levine

    I’d be game if I were there, though it might be tough as the spectrum of WP-ness will run from total novice to a few hard corers.

    From my experience, I’d steer clear of PodPress- sure it has a gazillion features, but the code is monstrous, updates like every other week, and i had too many cases where it mangled my templates. What is problematic is that it stores content in custom fields, whereas many other plugins simple convert media URLs to links/players in the post and enclosures in the feeds.

    I use Anarchy Media PLayer on all my sites- it is simple and just converts media URLs as needed.

    Most important tip for newbies- turn off the damn visual editor. The basic one is quasi visual. It munges more things than I can list.

    My interest has been ripping templates apart and using blog software to build web sites that don’t look like blogs, a full project I did last fall is spelled out at:
    http://cogdogblog.com/2008/02/14/wordpressing-dissected/

    and from a presentation I did in Feb, I had people tag web sites that are run in blog software that dont look like blogs:
    http://del.icio.us/tag/notcatdiaries

    Curious to see who shows up! Have fun

  • http://www.wesfryer.com Wesley Fryer

    Excellent Alan, thanks for the advice and the links… I’m bummed you will miss NECC this year, it would have been great to meet you in person as well as hear your contributions to this discussion offline! I will check out Anarchy Media Player. I’ve liked the stats feature of PodPress, but perhaps I can do the same thing another way using a service like PodTrac or Blubrry. Are you able to track individual episode downloads another way, since you are not using PodPress? I’ve got my RSS feed for my blog set to use the PodPress URLs (which redirect) so for me it would involve a fair bit of work to abandon PodPress at this point.

  • http://ideasandthoughts.org Dean Shareski

    I’d be interested and after just reading Alan’s post on WP, want to get more “hard core”. I’ve done the odd hack but certainly would love to learn more. I’ve been using WP and trying to use it less like a blog and more like a traditional website. That’s the versatility it offers but I’m not all that sure how to make some of those things happen.

    I’ve been using Podpress and for the most part, it’s been okay. But I understand Alan’s point and on one of my other sites, it’s never worked properly.

    But yes, A WP session would be great.

  • Beth Still

    I would attend a session on WordPress. I set up an account about 2 months ago, but I put it on the back burner while completing other things this summer. I am very interested in learning all I can about it.

  • http://www.assortedstuff.com Tim

    Sounds like a good idea and I’d love to help with the session. I’m no expert but I’ve managed to learn enough to customize installations for myself and friends.

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