Mrs. Ryan's Class

A Digital Learning Hub for students and parents

Starting Up My Digital Learning Hub

on September 13, 2015

I have used wordpress.com to create this blog for a few months. As I have said in earlier posts, I enjoy the design, features, and flexibility that wordpress.com offers, and I like how customizable it is. At the beginning of my research into Digital Learning Hubs, I became interested in wordpress.org, so I did some more research into the possibilities that this resource would allow. I was impressed by the vast amount of creativity and flexibility that this resource offers, but I was a little overwhelmed and did not know exactly where to begin.

imagesI found and article article, WordPress.com and WordPress.orgon a support page that compares the benefits of WordPress.com and WordPress.org. It was very helpful and definitely laid out the pros and cons of each resource in a digestible way. I also read The $64,000 Question: WordPress.com or WordPress.org? which helped me to see that although WordPress.org really has endless possibilities, it seems to be more complicated and difficult for a novice to use.

I have to admit that I felt nervous about the idea of hosting my own page and diving into the world of coding and publishing a website from scratch, especially at the beginning of what promises to be a busy school year!

Finally, I discovered the article, Make the Grade: Build an A+ classroom site on WordPress.com which answered lingering questions I had about privacy, customizing, and embedding resources on wordpress.com. I decided to start here with my free blog, but I am open to splurging on the premium membership to be able to customize my hub even more down the road.

privacy copyIn my last post I shared an example of a Digital Learning Hub created on WordPress.com, so I spent some time revisiting that resource to use as inspiration. My first step was to figure out how to create separate pages on my blog to make it more user friendly for the intended audience of my learning hub: parents and students.

I changed the look of my site to be more kid friendly with bright colors and fun fonts. I also added pages to the vertical sidebar and changed which widgets I wanted to be displayed. I created a separate section for my blog, edited the content of my about page, and added a text in a welcome section.

The look of my blog before the conversion to a Digital Learning Hub

I was frustrated for a while because the new pages were being displayed in alphabetical order in the sidebar and I wanted the student page to be first for easy access. After about 20 minutes of poking around, I finally found where to edit the order!

I have a feeling that I will be celebrating small successes like this throughout the creation of this learning hub. My next steps will be to add content and to really flesh out the purposes of each of my pages. Down the road, I anticipate adjusting the privacy settings on certain pages, especially those that have content specific to my district or students. I don’t plan to share this hub with my students or families yet, but when I do I’m sure the question of privacy will come up – my priority is to make this a resource that everyone will be comfortable using.

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One response to “Starting Up My Digital Learning Hub

  1. Tim Flanagan says:

    I can definitely relate to the whole wordpress.com/wordpress.org dilemma. You really did your homework, and now you can proceed with peace of mind. I love the look of the new hub. It is set up to have everything parents and students need, while still being kid-friendly.

    The small successes are important. Little things like changing the order of the menus can make a big difference to people navigating the site, and it’s important for the site to look and feel the way you have imagined it. It can take a while to solve those little problems, but an answer is usually a google search or tweet away.

    Liked by 1 person

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