Summer Projects: Getting Started With Ning

A number of teachers that I know plan to spend at least a part of this summer getting themselves acquainted with Ning in an effort to extend their own learning opportunities or those of their students. I belong to several networks myself, and although my participation in them tends to wax and wane depending on my schedule, there are several that top my personal favorites list, including the English Companion Ning and Working Together to Make a Difference.

When I’m asked to provide examples of how teachers might begin using Ning with their students, I always find myself steering them toward The T-Bird Times, which is the newspaper for Northfield Middle School that Kevin Jarrett has worked on with his students. 107 Voices offers great inspiration as well, and English at the Tens is another example worth sharing. I find that sharing well-established and very active networks is helpful in terms of providing new users an idea of what is possible, but when it comes to getting started, most of the teachers that I work with really enjoy getting themselves connected to others who are just beginning as well. I also find that learning from others who are engaged in the process is just as important as getting “how-to” information.

Those who are beginning to use Ning for educational purposes might consider joining this network or checking out this wiki of Social Networks in Education.

I’m on the hunt for more examples of how ning is used in classrooms. If you have any to share, please do so in the comments section below, send me an email at stockmanangela at gmail.com, or a direct message on Twitter.

5 Comments

  1. Steve says:

    Here are a couple of Nings I’m currently working on with my students.

    1. A year 11 extension class currently reading ‘The Odyssey’ and exploring the theme: text-culture-value and ‘Why are certain texts valued?’
    http://extension11.ning.com/

    2. Two Year 10 classes doing a unit on Satire:
    The work the boys are currently doing is less interesting (for a wider audience wanting wanting to find out about how Nings might be used, but some of the earlier blog posts and discussions have been good.)
    http://2009satire.ning.com/

  2. James says:

    Steve tweeted this blog post, so I’ll share my two nings as well. They are both only a year old, and one is void of just about any student work because I’m just making room for new students (a decision I’m not sure I totally like right now, but I didn’t know how else to get rid of the old content without manually deleting all of it. I’d rather reuse my discussions and questions than create all new…)

    Creative Writing:
    lhscreativewriting.ning.com

    Freshmen English (check mostly the summer work tab-that’s what’s going on right now):
    lhshonorsla9.ning.com

  3. Angela!

    Thanks for the mention. Just to clarify, while we started off intending for the T-Bird Times to be a ‘newspaper,’ it quickly morphed into more of a ‘media club.’ To wit: there isn’t much in the way of ‘school news’ there but the kids all had a blast and learned a lot!

    For what it’s worth, members of our club will be presenting a Student Showcase at NECC in a couple of weeks – Wednesday, July 1st, 12:00 am – 2:00 pm. It’s going to be awesome to see them talking about their experience with teachers and other students!

    Thanks again for the mention!

    -kj-

  4. msward says:

    I’m finding this post a bit late, having just recently found time to scour through the posts in my RSS reader. I loved using a Ning with my 10th grade English students. It is amazing how much it opens up class discussion. Students were excited to go home and respond to each other, post questions, and discuss our current reading. They would come into class ready to discuss. And even more powerful was that it was a great way to hear from those students that wouldn’t necessarily take the lead in our in class discussions.

    Many of the teachers in my building are now starting to use Nings as a way to take learning outside the confines of the classroom. Some really cool stuff happening.

    It’s pretty empty right now because it is summer, but here’s my Ning: http://msward.ning.com and a link to something I put together for a conference session where I presented to those just starting out with Nings: http://wardsworld.pbworks.com/Nings

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