So what do you do when the state of New Jersey is on quarantine, and 15 teens want to learn web? You teach them Joomla!
I have taught Joomla for years through Joomla Training, virtual training classes, and with Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. More recently, I taught Joomla 100% virtually to our Rutgers staff and administrators so they could continue maintaining their websites, even during the quarantine. But why teach Joomla to teens? The idea first came up at our Forum for the Future conference that I attended in Spain with about 80 other Joomla volunteers. I participated in the team for engagement, and one of our ‘takeaways’ was to work on ‘Educational Outreach’. The Educational Outreach group was officially revitalised in Spring of 2020.
Covid-19 basically put us all in a situation of the perfect storm. Teens were home with no sports, no activities. I was available to put together a curriculum and to teach it for 5 sessions with a total of 12 hours of classroom time. Cloudaccess.net donated free hosting space for the teens to work from. SD Williams assisted as a co-teacher for the class and as a support system to build our initial website and flyers.
Now that we know we want to teach, how should we get the students? I contacted the recreation department of East Brunswick, NJ, where I lived. They were very receptive, especially because I was offering it for free. They contacted the youth council where several teens were already chomping at the bit to build their own website to start their own small businesses, while they were home. We selected Zoom as the platform since the students were already comfortable with it. We created 5 sessions, each session focused on a different aspect of building the website. By the end of the class, the ultimate goal was for the students to feel comfortable to build their own websites.
I taught 3 week day sessions which were 2 hours each, and 2 Saturday sessions which were 3 hours each. The students agreed that the 3 hours sessions were too long, so if we were to teach again, we would be sure to keep all sessions to 2 hours. The first session was to focus on high-level Joomla. In session two, we dove into articles and content. In session three, we focused on menus; session 4 was modules and finally, in session five, we installed a variety of tools and templates to see how everything really worked together. I personally would have liked to have a session six, where we could have spent a little more time ‘fixing’ up the site.