Ning – why would you use it?

Image representing Ning as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase

Why?

Because a ning helps build community amongst your students. And a community that is supportive of one another and where students feel comfortable sharing is one where learning can thrive.

So what does it need to achieve this? It needs motivated and interested leaders who can prompt discussion and help foster it. It needs buy in.

It’s what I’m trying to develop this year with  the Year 9 English students and staff at my school. I posted this comment on our International PLP ning in reference to it;

 I launched a ning this week for our Yr 9 English students- approx 80 students in all. More than half the yr level have already joined and some are posting comments over the weekend. One student even signed up at 10.55pm tonight! When I introduced it I made it clear that at this stage it was for our school community, but explained that we may invite classrooms from beyond our school in or eventually make it open. Right now, I’m interested in seeing how community forms amongst the yr level inside the ning. I’m pretty sure my colleagues will be supportive and will encourage their students to participate.

The sheer fact that kids have been participating without prompting has me excited. Now we have the platform to showcase what they can do. I hope to get them working on some digital tasks that they can upload and share with their peers. Linking our classrooms is the first step. Next step, the world! 

One of the things I think I’ve observed over the past year is that there are many people in our networks who participate but don’t do. I think I ‘do’ or at least try to. We have to start thinking about the tools we can use that are going to extend the thinking of our students and help them make some connection to the idea that they can make use of these tools for their educational benefit. When I launched this with the students I asked them did they belong to any social networks. They didn’t know what I was talking about – the language was unfamiliar to them. When I mentioned myspace and facebook at least 95% raised their hands. I’m hopeful they will start to see the connection between what they are doing socially and what they are going to be doing educationally. Then they may see how it is they can create a very positive digital profile for themselves that will serve them well as they make their way through life.

I’ll keep you posted as to how our community forms and what kind of buy in we have. And I promise I’ll be honest about it. If it’s not succeeding I’ll let you know, and if if it’s thriving, I’ll be doubly sure to let you know!!    

 

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3 responses to “Ning – why would you use it?

  1. Great analysis and detail! I’m going to use this in support of opening unblocking Ning for us. Thank you.

    • jennylu

      So pleased you found it useful. I hope you see some progress towards getting Ning unblocked. It’s been wonderful seeing our learning community form.

  2. I agree, I’ve also been using Ning in the higher education setting, utilizing Blended learning. Check out my Ning site from last semester. Me and Ben Nesbit also conducted Research about the use of Ning in the ESL environment and it’s impacts on autonomous learning. We will be publishing it this year and it backs a lot of the points you made above. If you are interested in the results I can send them over to you.

    Ning Site
    http://paichaitourism.ning.com/
    Login- guestguest@hotmail.com
    Pass – guest

    Tell me what you think. We used it for Project and Problem based learning which was an incredible for utilizing the social network and Web 2.0 through group and individual work.

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