Wednesday, July 29, 2009

To Ning or not to Ning

I am getting ready to start the set up of the class blogs for the upcoming year. As usual I will have the blog hub which needs very little tinkering but I will have to create 4 class blogs from scratch and place 4 more in the archives!!!

Last night got me thinking though. I was listening to a PLP group present their projects from Australia. It was a wonderful experience seeing these educators talk about their growth over a year long journey. Key to their success was the Ning that PLP created for them. They were able to network and have input from expert voices to guide them on their journey.

Do students who have blogging experience need a Ning to nurture their learning and educational experiences? What is the value of using a Ning over blogs and wikis.... Do students need another learning environment or is this going to be the straw that breaks the camels back?

I am still struggling to figure this out. I love the blogs because it gives the students a genuine audience that promotes growth and quality of work. Wikis offer a space for collaboration. Nings are enclosed communities where only group members have access. This goes against the entire notion of audience. I need the work the students do out there. Not in there.

Gate on Flickr
by fensterbme

With all of that said. It would be interesting if more of my team members at school wanted to blog. Creating a community where many different to create a Ning community. Here there would be groups for different types of work, math, language arts etc. Having a platform for all to participate in ...... Once again the only problem would be audience. Do I want to put the walls up or keep them down for all to see.

I think I am seeing this properly or have I missed something.


Graham said...

Interestingly, as I type this I have two Ning chat windows open - Classroom 2.0 and one I created for my own staff. I really enjoyed the same PLP Ning that you are referring to and I think it is an ideal tool for staff development, for those in our line of work whose first struggle is with the tools involved in social networking. They need a safe haven as they are not used to thinking out loud in a public space, exposing their ideas to scrutiny and sharing with people who they do not know. Our colleagues and us have the luxury of a secure job (albeit one that faces upheaval in the very near future) but our students do need to have their work out in the open. Ning is training wheels for educators so that they eventually will embrace the open web, and allow their students to learn online during class time.

Mr. H said...

Thanks for the comment Graham. I am pretty sure that I will create a Ning for staff and get some of the techno savier teachers to help out. As you say Nings are good for training teachers. I would even bring in some "expert voices" to help out with their staff development.

I am curious what Clarence has to say. He set up a ning for his students at the end of last year. If he has some positive points for using it with kids then..... but for now it will be the usual blogs and wikis.

Seeing that you commented, I should fire up the Google Reader and see what I have missed over the last month..... too much I am sure.

Thanks again for the comment.