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Created in October of 2004 by Gina Bianchini and Marc Andreessen Goal was to create a social networking site that was very customizable. Site can be public or private. Originally set up to allow anyone to create his own custom social networking site but educators have seen its value as a collaborative tool and are jumping on the bandwagon and creating countless Ning sites which cover a myriad of topics on education. Ning.com
Users may embed music and videos Can create blog posts May add RSS feeds Has a chat feature Has an event calendar Photo album Each member can create a personalized page. Collaborative features
Very easy to use and navigate User may move features around their main page to customize the look of their site Usability
Can set up a Ning site specific to an area of education and collaborate with people all around the world. I could see Ning being used as a professional development tool because one can begin by posting a topic then invite others to join in the discussion. As the discussion progresses, people can add media and documents and reply to other people’s thoughts. In the classroom, the teacher can assign each student her own page. The students can then post assignments on their page or join in a class discussion that can be initiated by the teacher or the students. Uses in Education
Clicking on the “help” link on the bottom of the page takes you to the Ning Help page where there is a search engine to help find answers to questions. One can also email Ning directly Tech Support
Would be nice if one can set up a page like a wiki Many of the features such as video, photos and blogs are blocked by BCPS. Drawbacks
Lucy Gray from High Techpectations writes, “I think Ning is a powerful tool because it makes it easy for educators to take charge of their professional development by interacting virtually with other like-minded souls.” What do others say about Ning?
Elizabeth Rich of The World’s Largest English Department tells a story of how a soon to be English teacher was searching for information on the web as to what to expect once she starts teaching. She stumbled upon The English Companion Ning and in the discussion section, posted a thread entitled “New Teachers.” In her thread, she wrote of her trepidations for the upcoming year and within twelve hours, she had received 60 responses.
There is a plethora of Ning websites dedicated to educators. The major ones are classroom20.com and education.ning.com. Just typing in “Ning” and “Education” in the into their search engine will bring up a over 7000 sites. A sampling of Ning education sites are on the following slides. Useful Information
Many educators have already discovered the benefits of using Ning to meet and collaborate with colleagues from around the world. Ning is a powerful tool for collaboration and professional development because its many customizable features allow users to post information and hold discussions synchronously by use of the chat or asynchronously by use of the blogs. Conclusion
Created by James Farmer to give a way for educators and students to collaborate. According to Wikipedia, it has a membership of 300,000 educators and students from around the world. A version called “Edublogs Campus” allows schools and universities to host Edublogs on their own domain. History and Description
Strength of platform is its blogs which are presented first and center when one accesses an Edublogs page. Can add a calendar, search engine, and links to previous posts to either the left or right of the blogs. Customization is done in the Dashboard page. Highly customizable. Especially if one becomes a paid supporter. Key Features
Can be set up in a matter of minutes. Simple to post a discussion in order to elicit feedback. Customizability allows edublogs.org to appeal to different folks with different agendas. Strengths of the Platform
While the site is easy to set up and customize, I found it difficult to make it uniquely mine in appearance. This may be because I am a member of the free site. Changes in appearance made to the dashboard page does not carry over to the blogs page. No synchronous feature such as a chat room. Besides blogging, not much else unless one is a supporter. Must be a supporter to add podcasts, video comments, twitter tools, widgets, and plugins. Disappointments
Edublogger link takes the user to a site that explains how to find and use web 2.0 technologies in the classroom. Edublogs Help and Support link is for questions and tech support. Has a Wordle-like feature to find out which topics are being researched the most. Did not see a way to contact Edublogs.org directly. Support
Since it is geared towards educators, it is not blocked by BCPS so teachers can use it to create classroom blogs so that collaboration can take place after school. Students can use it to work together on group projects. In Language Arts, the teacher could post a writing assignment and have the students reply by blog post. Students could use edublogs.org to communicate with students in other countries. Use in Education
Patricia Donaghy lists Edublogs.org as one of her top ten tools for learning. Larry Ferlazzo states that edublogs.org is “a great free blog-hosting site for teachers and students alike. It’s specifically designed for educational use and is incredibly responsive to user needs, suggestions, and problems.” What are others saying?
For ideas on how to use edublogs to teach, click here. Miraculously, even though it is a blog, it is not blocked by BCPS. There is an edublogs.tv site which functions just like TeacherTube: one can post or view videos created by educators to educate. Following slides are examples of the possibilities… Useful Information