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Nings

Page history last edited by msward 8 years, 8 months ago

 

Learning about Nings


 

 

 What the heck is a Ning?

A Ning is a social network that "...empowers people to create and discover new social experiences for the most important people and interests in their lives. Ning was started with a simple premise: when people have the freedom to create a new social experience online, uniquely customized for the most important people and interests in their lives with no effort and infinite choice, the world is a better, more colorful and certainly more interesting place in which to live." Check out www.ning.com to start your own network.

 

What can you do with a Ning?

  • Create a discussion board where students can respond to your questions and to each other

  • Post assignments or link handouts

  • Enable each student to create a blog

  • Encourage students to respond to one another's posts or blogs

  • Link files, images, audio, and video files

 

Check out what teachers are doing with Nings:

 

Advantages of Using a Ning with Students:

As many education technology writers like David Warlick, Will Richardson, and others have pointed out, when students write for an authentic audience they not only grow as writers but as thinkers as well.  In his book Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms, Will Richardson explains how the collaborative nature of Web 2.0  encourages students to "read more critically, think about that reading more analytically, and write more clearly. And, they are building relationships with peers, teachers, mentors, and professionals..." (21). In publishing their writing to the web through platforms like Ning, students "become active participants in the design of their own learning, we teach them how to be active participants in their lives and future careers" (129).

 

Joyce Valenza, a local librarian, has created a  wonderful list of reasons why teachers and students should use Nings.  Check it out on her wiki page - Top Ten Reasons for Using 2.0 in Learning. Some of the advantages of using a Ning include     

    • opening up opportunites for students to write for larger, authentic audiences
    • creating class environments for interaction and media sharing
    • promoting, supporting, and modeling creative and innovative thinking and inventiveness (NETS*T)
    • engaging students in exploring real-world issues and solving authentic problems using digital tools and resources (NETS*T)
    • promoting student reflection using collaborative tools to reveal and clarify students' conceptual understanding and thinking, planning, and creative processes (NETS*T)
    • customizing and personalizing learning activities to address students' diverse learning styles, working strategies, and abilities using digital tools and resources (NETS*T)
    • collaborating with students, peers, parents, and community members using digital tools and resources to support student success and innovation (NETS*T)
    • advocating, modeling, and teaching safe, legal, and ethical use of digital information and technology, including respect for copyright, intellectual property, and the appropriate documentation of sources (NETS*T)
    • promoting and modeling digital etiquette and responsible social interactions related to the use of technology and information (NETS*T)

 

Complications of Using a Ning with Students: 

 Let's brainstorm this together as we talk today.

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Ideas for using Nings in the classroom:

  • Check out this great resource produced by EduCause: 7 Things You Should Know About Nings

  • Suzanne posted this blog entry about using a Ning with her high school students.  Check out the comments, too.  Some great ideas!

  • Mrs. Follis offers some wonderful reflections on how she has used the blog portion of the Ning to help her students better understand Frankenstein.

 

How to Create Your Own Ning

  • First, head out to Ning.com to sign up. Then use the linked tutorials below to help you set-up your Ning network.
  • In setting up a Ning-mini, you will be asked to enter payment information. However, K-12 are eligible for a free Ning-mini site by applying for a Pearson-sponsored grant. You will need to first set-up your Ning site, and then apply for your FREE Ning-mini site HERE.
  • After you set up your initial page you will be able to make changes using the tool icon in the upper right corner of your Ning page.
    • Liz B. Davis has put together a wonderful presentation on how to set-up your own Ning.  Find the directions here.
    • These embedded tutorials walk through the basics of setting up a Ning. Although the new Ning format is a bit different looking, the set-up is basically the same.

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Tips for Creating Your Educational Ning:

  • Liz B. Davis and educator and writer has a wonderful blog reflection on using Nings with students.  Check out her post "Doing the Ning Thing"
  • Jenny Luca, a teacher in Australia, also offers her reflections on using Nings with students.

 

Cool Nings for Educators

 

 

FREE Alternatives to Nings

  • Grouply is similar to a Ning, and for those of you that have previously free Ning sites, Grouply will help you upload your old Ning's content over to their site.
  • Moodle, though not as visually oriented as Ning, is another online social networking environment used in many schools.
  • Edmodo is a social networking site specifically for classroom use. And many find it to be better than a Ning. Here's a helpful explanation, tutorial, and associated lesson plans for using Edmodo.
  • ePals is another site created for use in the classroom, specifically for use with younger students. 
  • TIGed not only is a great way to find other classrooms to connect your students with, but it also offers online classroom space. There's a bit of an awkwardness to the layout, but once you figure it out, it is easy to use. 

 

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