Ch-ch-ch-changes…

I knew the time was coming, and it has.  For those of you who have followed this blog for some time, you know that part of what I do here is try to keep up with the wordpress’s constant improvement of its site and offerings.  Improvement, of course, is a good thing, especially when it’s free and instituted by a company like wordpress, which, based on my relatively extensive experience, is generally trying to make the experience of using its site more pleasant for the user (aka you and me).  However, this constant drive toward self-improvement can be somewhat challenging for your trusty John Jay wordpress support person, since it sometimes renders the information that I provide in trainings slightly off (at best) and just plain wrong (at worst).

I first realized this problem after writing a lengthy post on themes last year, only to figure out that themes are always in flux – some of the themes that I have lauded in this post have disappeared, and other, better ones, have cropped up in their place.  Leading ePortfolio training sessions earlier this month showed me how almost daily a new theme is added to wordpress.  Recently I experienced what it must be like for some of you, who leave a training feeling relatively confident about using wordpress, just to find a screen that looks different from the one I used as a model in the training.  The newly revamped wordpress help page, which is now listed just as “Support” at the bottom of wordpress.com (not as “24/7 Support,” which is what I have told soooooo many of you), is actually pretty great, but threw me for a huge loop when I first saw it.  I must admit, I am still getting adjusted to it, and mourning the old interface where I taught myself to use this platform.

Yesterday, I returned to a class to follow-up with some blogging questions, and low and behold, I found another change: the sign in box had moved from the left to the right side of the screen and there are no longer different tabs – just one long menu that lets you edit your profile and access your blogs in one place:

Again, this is a good thing — it’s quicker and requires less clicks, and for new users it eliminates the step of remembering whether you want to edit your profile or go to your blog since both options appear at once.

Nevertheless, I’ll admit that my heart stopped for a second when I opened my trusty wordpress.com and didn’t know how to sign in.

We are all creatures of habit, but I would characterize myself as more of a fan of routines than the average Jane or Joe.  That being said, I have had to become MUCH more flexible because my entire adult life has consisted of teaching in one form or another, and flexibility is one of the most useful tools in a teacher’s toolbox.  If you can’t go with the flow as a teacher, you lose those valuable “teachable moments” that crop up in the most unexpected places and at the most unexpected times.

I have found this flexibility (which is still a work in progress) invaluable with my work with technology, since the internet is, of course, the most flexible and dynamic place on earth (if we could even consider it a place on earth).  It would be deadly for wordpress to stop tinkering with its platform in an industry where everyone is constantly striving for something new and improved.  (Not everything new in the world of technology is necessarily an improvement — stay tuned for more on that.)  However, since we are using this platform, we have to just go with it and trust that the people at wordpress are committed to making a good thing better.

Finally, flexibility and comfort are intimately linked.  The more comfortable with wordpress and the more you know about its ins and outs before a big change happens, the less likely you are to freak out and the more likely you are to be able to figure it out on your own (or with a quick visit to the trusty wordpress help site).  So practice, play, and then prepare for the next change — who knows, you might even like it.

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