6: Nings

Ning.com is a platform site that lets you build interactive networks quickly and easily. If you have a profile on Facebook or MySpace, Ning’s functionality will seem very familiar.  All the hallmarks of interactive online activity (a.k.a. Web 2.0) are here:  once you’ve joined a Ning.com network, you can post pictures and videos, have discussions on the network’s forum page, write to the network’s blog, post events, and even form your own interest groups within the network.  From your personal page, you can add friends and keep folks informed of your whereabouts and activities via a short status message.

There is only one Facebook but there are many Nings.  Each Ning has its own focus and list of members.  In this sense, Ning is more like Moodle than Facebook.  Some popular Nings are:
The nice thing about Ning is that once you create an account for one Ning, it’s easy to join other Nings. 

Although Ning.com lets you create your own social network, we are going to simply look for Nings to join as part of Thing 6. 

Discovery Exercise:
  1. Go to the main page at Ning.com, and you will see a "Discover More" link.   Visit some Nings of interest.  Most Ning networks allow you to view some content without becoming a member. Ideally, for whatever network you choose, you’ll be able to view a list of members, see photos and videos, and read forum and blog posts.  If you don’t find a Ning to your liking, try using Google to search for “Ning” and a topic of interest.  So, if I'm a math teacher I might try “ning” and “math.” 

  2. If you find a Ning you would like to join, sign up for a Ning account.  (Note, some Ning networks require a moderator’s approval of your membership.)  Read some of the blog posts and discussions that you find. How many members are within the Ning?  How active or current is the Ning? 

  3. Make a new post in your blog for Thing 6.  Record your thoughts and observations about Nings. You might discuss the Ning you reviewed and/or joined.  Why would one blog in a Ning and not use Blogger?  Starting your own Ning is free.  Do you think teachers could create Nings for students?

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