Matt Mullenweg linked to a new Automattic mailing list that is focused on using WordPress in Education. I signed up for it, making it the first mailing list I’ve joined willingly since the CUNY Grad Center list-serv many moons ago. It was funny to realize D’Arcy was on there as well (I don’t think I have met a more generous and prolific person who shares what they know so readily and freely), and we both simultaneously replied within what seemed like seconds to the first question that came up from someone who wanted to implement WordPress as a CMS in an elementary school. What I immediately realized is two things: 1) D’Arcy and I need help, and 2) the list might prove an excellent opportunity to start bridging the gap and sharing with folks from all kinds of educational settings all over the world. The blogs certainly do this, and I certainly don’t see the list as a substitute. Rather, I am wondering whether there will be a different kind of connection that might foster an even wider community. I really don’t know if this will be the case, but given that I understand my current mission as helping to bring the world of education into the digital age of publication so that learning institutions can become as flexible and open as the times demand, I figured this as one of the places I might be able to both help and learn. Not to mention I can now pick on D’Arcy through yet another, albeit a bit more conventional, web-based medium 🙂
Actually this makes me think of something Brad Efford wrote in response to a discussion we had about the the idea of e-mail being “outmoded.” His response to my assertion was extremely thoughtful, which he is is always guilty of, and I’m reproducing a part of it below:
I don’t think the e-mail is outmoded, necessarily, I just think its use is generally under-utilized & the extent to which an e-mail can be made more “moded” is not a field that is often explored. I tend to write long e-mails that drift in & out of tangents (with an incalculable amount of parentheses, of course) & describe daily stories & events, sometimes with verbatim dialogue. I think the average person, though, writes e-mails as a way of passing a note along at work or saying a quick hello. My point is that I think the e-mail has a lot more potential than people are willing to give it credit for, & as great as it is to receive a handwritten letter in a physical, curbside mailbox, the e-mail offers up all new territories for the writer & reader. A blog can be very useful in this regard as well, of course, & that’s why I like to keep this one semi-frequently updated, but sometimes you don’t want to write to everyone with a computer & their mother.
And while I don’t know how this will hold up for an email list on WordPress and Education, I’m interested to see how this community plays out given all the other means of sharing we currently have.