Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Ning in the New Year

Posting at the New Year's about my Personal/Pro Learning Network, I noted two Nings.

The NCTE Ning
and the Jim Burke's English Companion Ning.

I joined NCTE's in 2008 and EC's in 2009.  Two years, two Nings. Still, when I mention Nings to colleagues I have to explain.

1. Ning is a site offering social networks that are more customized than ones on sites like Facebook, Twitter, or MySpace and geared for group discussion and sharing content as well as the random idea.

2. Nings are to social networks what wikis are to websites.

3. Cousins to blogs with reverse-chronological listings and posts, descendants of discussion threads.

4. Perhaps best of  they can share multimedia podcasts, including slides, video, audio, and documents. (Great for catching presentations and lesson ideas and plans!)  It's as if I have scores of talented colleagues across the hall, even though they are across the nation, and beyond.

If you are new to Ning, I'd suggest giving it a try and giving it some time. (As I uploaded these Ning screenshots and revisited the sites, I noticed that I had actually belonged to three other Ning Networks. I guess they were just not holding my interest.)

So I have actually belonged to Ning for four years!  I just didn't "get it."  They became part of my PLN when they started to attract meaningful, useful content.  After the NCTE Convention in November 2009, the Ning called for presentation materials from event. Now it's rich with media.  And Jim Burke's, which recently won honors from the Edublog Awards, is brimming with meaningful conversations and effective ideas.

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