Digital learning with Digilab

The Digilab event is a digital learning event for students, in which students can create a WordPress website for real clients. It is a challenge we were eager to participate in, not to create websites, but to share our knowledge.

Digilab event, challenge for MBO and HBO students

From March 27 to March 29, 2023, students from MBO College Almere, MBO College Lelystad, ROC Friese Poort Emmeloord and Windesheim University of Applied Sciences were working on the Digilab challenge. They worked together to overcome design and technical issues and create fantastic websites. Not just any websites, but real working WordPress websites for real clients. The best way to learn digital skills is by doing it yourself.

Introduction to WordPress

Each group was given a task to make a WordPress website that meets the client’s needs as best as possible. But that couldn’t be done without the necessary introduction to the technical side of the assignment. Our colleagues had prepared three presentations to provide students with the essential information for creating a website.

Setting up a WordPress Theme with HTML and CSS

There was a presentation on how a student can add a theme (design) to a WordPress website. We also provided information on how it can be supplemented with their code in HTML and CSS. We explained how a ‘Child Theme’ works and how it can be an addition to the theme used. This was a technical explanation of setting up a WordPress theme and how to give the website a personal touch.

WordPress Security

Because security is a top priority at Toomba, a presentation on the security of a WordPress website was essential. In this presentation, we provided the basics for a secure WordPress website based on 2 factors.

The first factor is technical security. This includes server, network, and application security. The second factor is “the human factor.” This includes weak passwords, installation of unverified plugins and themes, and incorrect configuration of WordPress settings.

Tips & Tricks

As an extra, we also gave a lot of tips & tricks as an addition to the other presentations. We provided tips on the workings of WordPress, how to choose themes, making the website searchable in search engines, and how to optimize it.

The assignments

There were many different assignments. Some entrepreneurs wanted a smart adjustment to their website, while others wanted a completely new website. These were diverse assignments, and not everything was possible in the available time, but the students went for it, and they could see how far they could get.

Working with guidance

In the following days, the students worked on the assignments from various entrepreneurs. The students were mixed and placed in groups, a mix of different schools and levels. With ultimate focus on the task, this was a lot of fun and without problems.

We, as experts, along with other companies and the students’ teachers, were available for any problems. We gave them tips to complete this project as successfully as possible. And, of course, we provided them with the necessary information if they had any questions.

Digital learning event was a success

You could tell that most students had made a fun assignment out of it. Many had given a lot of effort to get the most beautiful outcome. This motivation was very nice to see, and we saw that the teachers really enjoyed it too.

In the end, everyone delivered something, and even for the more difficult assignments, there were advisory reports and prototypes. Windesheim University of Applied Sciences has offered to continue working on the products delivered. This is to make it a larger project and to let students experience what it’s like to work with real clients.

Overall, the first edition of Digilab was a real success! We would like to thank all the students and entrepreneurs for participating. We would also like to thank the participating schools and companies for allowing us to share our knowledge in such a fun way. MBO College Almere, MBO College Lelystad, ROC Friese Poort Emmeloord, Hogeschool Windesheim, Kunstlinie, Buroflevo, Sightkick and Syscon. Thank you!

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