As those who follow me on Twitter or have read my old blog will know, I’ve been a keen fan of WordPress and advocated that it can be a useful tool in higher education. I’ve found having a blog on WordPress has been a great way to think out loud and share ideas. It’s helped me connect with academics and individuals involved in using technology in learning and teaching all over the world. Tweeting links to my blog posts has also fostered lots of rich learning conversations. The challenge for me at the moment is finding time to finish writing blog posts, I’ve so many saved in draft that will probably never see the light of day!
Having worked with colleagues in the Medical School at Dundee to use WordPress as a VLE to support the undergraduate medical curriculum and encouraging students to use it to support reflection and record their learning I’ve frequently advocated WordPress to other lecturers and to students who want to do something that they can’t achieve in a typical VLE. Along with other colleagues at conference workshops on open education practice and the use of social media I’ve similarly promoted WordPress as a versatile tool that can support different learning and teaching approaches and objectives. You can use it to create online learning tutorials, to curate useful resources and to sign post students to helpful websites, videos etc, to share workshop resources that participants can then reuse in their own institutions, to support scholarly discussion and reflective practice. The list is endless.
Back in 2012 following some discussion on Google+ I shared a post asking whether we should run a WordPress in UK higher education event. There was a reasonable amount of interest and if memory serves me right there were even some emails exchanged as we tried to see if Jisc or someone else might support such an event. Nothing really came of those discussions but periodically over the past 6 years Pat Lockley and I continued to chat and see if we could get something organised. The key challenge has been not having any funding. We thought we’d cracked it last year but it didn’t quite work out … until Pat was inspired by the Public Archeology Twitter Conference and suggested we run the conference on twitter.
So at long last Pat and I are delighted to be co-organising PressED – an international WordPress conference hosted on Twitter that’s free to attend and open to anyone. You can find our more on the PressEd website and follow #pressedconf18 on Twitter. The conference will start at 10.00hrs (GMT+1) on Thursday 29 March and run through the day into the late evening. We have a series of keynote speakers, the 3 confirmed so far are Gurminder Bhambra, Mark Carrigan and Jim Groom, with details of others to be announced soon. We have an open call for abstracts at the moment and if you work in higher education and you’re using WordPress to support different pedagogical approaches, research or scholarship, open practice, help nurture communities of practice or any other innovative uses why not submit a proposal. Presenters will have up to 15 tweets to share their work and tweets can include links, images, videos, slides etc. There will be time for discussion along the lines of a typical tweet chat after each presentation. By running the conference over the course of the day we hope that our higher education colleagues across the globe will have the opportunity to contribute and participate.
We hope you can join us!