Thursday, 7 May 2009

Ning

I've been using Ning recently to set up a social network for a short course we are running. It was clear to me early on that having a social network was the best way to go but the question then was which one. Facebook was the obvious first answer but the group function didn't seem to have the right flexibility and functionality we were looking for. Also, this brings up the issue of whether facebook is suitable for learning. The answer is YES for the concept of social networks but NO for facebook, certainly to a large extent. The argument that we should use it because they are is also true for the concepts behind social networking. I have a strong suspicion that kids don't want school/college intrusion into their world of facebook or bebo. But this doesn't mean we should ignore it completely. Why not have something more akin to facebook than the now common VLE oe LMS.

This is where Ning comes in. Although I've been hearing some bad things about it recently it does the job when it comes to quick and easy social network creation. It's strong on discussion, embedding video and photos. We've put resources up but it wouldn't be my first choice if that's all I was doing with it.

When I get a chance I'm going to tour around all the social networks that I can find. it would be good to be able to make an informed decision on all their pros and cons.

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