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Ning: A Social Network for Adults

| Chris O'Neal

Have you checked out Ning, a new social-networking Web 2.0 site? Ning, primarily geared toward adults, is more a place to create social networks rather than a social network in itself. Lots of social-networking groups are being built at Ning, which describes itself as "the only online service where you can create, customize, and share your own social network for free in seconds."

I'm still playing around on the site. I have lots of "friends" there, as well as some legitimate friends I actually know. I visit frequently, read the discussions, post when I think I have something worthwhile to add, and so on. I haven't yet created my own network on Ning, though, primarily because I think my social-networking needs are met with the groups already there. Plus, there's that whole time thing.

I'm a member of two Ning groups: Library 2.0 and Classroom 2.0. Our hope for the Library 2.0 group is that it can take advantage of groups, discussion forums, chats, blogs, resource sharing, and so on, all geared toward tools and resources for the modern library.

The Classroom 2.0 group is not unlike the other one, although it focuses more on general classroom use of Web 2.0 tools and resources, and lots of discussions are taking place there, too. Classroom 2.0 describes itself as "the social-networking site devoted to those interested in the practical application of computer technology [especially Web 2.0] in the classroom and in their own professional development.

Especially, we hope that those who feel they are 'beginners' will find this a comfortable place to start being a part of the community dialog and to learn more." It's a very friendly place, with lots of resources, links to teach you what Web 2.0 is all about, and classroom examples of Web 2.0 applications in use.

Go check the groups out, and find me there. Do you think this kind of online community holds real value for adult learners? Do you see a place for it in your own environment? Is this the MySpace for adult learners? Share your thoughts.

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Dan Morris (not verified)

Ning: A Social Network for Adults

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Ning is a great place to get your "feet wet" in using social networking. In my district (Academy 20 in Colorado Springs, CO) we set up a private Ning community just for our principals and central administration. We wanted a place where administrators could experience and "feel" what a on-line community was.

We have used the Academy 2.0 community to start some discussions about what 21st Century Schools and Classrooms might look like in our district. The experience is new for just about everyone and will require some monitoring by our staff to keep participants engaged but it was a great way to start the discussion beyond just having discussions about how we need to "block" tools like this. We did have to do some adjustments to our network security to allow administrators access. :-)

One group of administrators has even set up a community to have a discussion around a project to evaluate the district reading program. Ideas like this on how to use a community to support our own work started coming forth after the administrators had a chance to really experience a social network.

It's a start to understanding how many of these tools can support our work and teaching and learning in the classroom.

There is a group of us (including Chris O'Neal) who are experimenting in using a blog to support sessions we are doing this summer at NECC in Atlanta and in Australia. We have started a 21st Century Leadership group to make connections and start conversations dedicated to exploring changing leadership roles in 21st century education. We have started a conversation on On-line Mentoring and will add more. We have also added audio highlights of the work of some schools teams in Illinois and principals in Chicago who participated in some ISTE Institutes this last school year.

Come join in at:
http://leadership.groups.vox.com

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