Showing posts with label Ning. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ning. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Wack Wall is now Wall.FM

WackWall, a free service for creating your own social networks, has changed its name to offers all of the same great features that it offered when it was called WackWall. I reviewed WackWall in August and you can read that post here.

Applications for Education
If you were a Ning user who was left without a network when they switched fee structures, is an alternative you might want to explore. could be useful for created an online environment in which you, your students, and their parent can share information related to your courses.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Lefora - Create a Free Message Board Forum
Ning Ends Free Networks - Try These Alternatives

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Vanilla Forums - Open Source Forum Software

Update September 2022: Vanilla Forums still exists, but it appears they no longer offer a free version. 

Vanilla Forums is free, open source software that anyone can use to host an online message board community. As you might imagine message boards powered by Vanilla allow your users to create member profiles, give you administrative control, and the ability to create sub-forums. Vanilla Forums software can be downloaded and installed on your own server(s) or you can use one of the hosting packages offered by Vanilla. The hosting packages range in price from free to $199. 

Applications for Education 
Since Ning went to a fee-based model, many people have been looking for alternatives. If you have someone in your school that can install Vanilla Forums on a server, Vanilla could be a good way to build a school message board. You could also explore the free hosting package offered by Vanilla to see if that suits your needs. 

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you: 

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Now Live - Archive Your Ning Network's Content Now

Ning's April announcement that they were discontinuing their free services left many people wondering what would happen to their networks' content if they didn't upgrade to a paid plan. On Monday, Ning announced that they were developing a tool that would allow network creators to download all of the content of their networks. That tool is now live. To use the Ning network archiver you will have to install it on your computer, you can download it here.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Free Ning Accounts for Educators

Ning caused quite a commotion last month when they announced that they were planning to discontinue their free services this summer. Today, Ning announced what the new fee-based plans will offer. None of the options appear to be all that reasonable for a classroom setting. The good news though is that an unnamed company in the education market has stepped forward to sponsor free accounts for K-12 educators. The free accounts will be the equivalent of Ning's fee-based Ning Mini service. Read more about the Ning Mini and free education accounts on the Ning blog.

Ning Mini won't replace the old free Ning accounts, but they should still be useable for classroom settings. Though with a cap of 150 members it probably won't be useable for building a community Ning around a whole school or PTA.

If you'd like to explore some free alternatives to Ning, please read this.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Ning Ends Free Networks - Try These Alternatives

White label social network host Ning, announced today that they are discontinuing their free offerings. This will force the organizers of existing networks like The Educators PLN to upgrade to premium plans. For large networks the cost may not be prohibitive, but for small networks such as those organized around a school or small organization the cost may force them to search out some alternatives.

Here are some alternatives to Ning that you can use to organize your own social network.

CubeTree is a free service designed for companies that would like to build a social network of wikis, shared items, and microblogs for their employees. On CubeTree anyone can create a network and invite colleagues. All colleagues must have the same email domain. For example, if I wanted to create a network, only people with an domain could be in my network. Everyone in the network can create a profile (Facebook-like), post updates, share documents, collaborate on documents and spreadsheets, and share items from their RSS feeds. The video below offers an overview of CubeTree's offerings.

Jabbster is a free service that allows families and groups to create private online communication networks. Within your private network you can host discussion boards, share photos, post an event calendar, and share bookmarks. Setting up a Jabbster group is quick and easy. Simply register for an account, name your group, and send invitations to the people you want in the group. If you create the group, you are the group administrator and can delete any content or user from the group at any time.

ShoutEm allows you to make your own public or private network. As the administrator of your own network you can restrict access to only those people you invite. You can also exclude entire email domains in the adminstrative settings. Your ShoutEm network can be as simple as Twitter or as robust as FriendFeed. As the administrator of your ShoutEm network you can choose to allow users to post pictures, attachments, and have threaded conversations. The video below provides a quick overview of ShoutEm.

ShoutEm Demo from vikot on Vimeo.

Edmodo is a microblogging system designed specifically for teachers and students. Using Edmodo teachers can create a microblogging network for their classes. Edmodo allows teachers to create a group specifically for their students and exclude those not invited to the group. Edmodo provides teachers with a place to post assignment reminders, build an event calendar, and post messages to the group. Just as with any good microblogging service users can share links, videos, and images.

Learn more about Edmodo in the video below.

Thanks to Kevin Jarrett for the link to TechCrunch's article about Ning's changes.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Embed Google Docs Presentations in a Ning Network

Last week when I shared the news of Ning's new applications options, one option that I missed was the option to embed Google Docs presentations into your Ning pages. The Official Google Docs Blog carried the news today and you can read more about it there.

Applications for Education
Embedding a Google Docs presentation into a Ning network that you create for your course(s) could be a good way to share information and start a conversation around that information.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Ning Adds New Apps

Ning, the free platform for creating your own social network, has just announced new applications to include in your network. Some of the applications that could be of use to educators are Social Giving, Huddle Workspaces, and Poll Daddy.

Applications for Education
The Ning Social Giving application could be used as a fund-raising option for PTA groups, sports teams, and extra-curricular clubs that have created a Ning network.
Huddle Workspaces gives members of your Ning network a place to share work and collaborate on the creation of new content. Poll Daddy gives you a tool for quickly gathering informal data from your students. For example, I use a poll on my classroom blog to get a sense of how my students are feeling about an upcoming quiz.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Ning Hits One Million Networks - Have You Joined?

Visit Classroom 2.0
According to many sources today, Ning, the do it yourself platform for creating social networks now hosts one million networks. Reading the stories about Ning hosting one million networks made me think that it might be a good time to remind people of a few good Ning networks for teachers.

Classroom 2.0 is probably the largest and most well-known Ning network for teachers. Classroom 2.0 has nearly 22,000 members from a wide range of academic disciplines. The discussion forums and groups in Classroom 2.0 can provide a wealth of information. I am a member of Classroom 2.o although I'm not a particularly active member.

The EFL Classroom is a network for EFL teachers. EFL classroom has more than 6,000 members.

The National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) Ning is a network of more than 300 social studies teachers. I joined this network a couple of weeks ago and immediately started learning about great resources and ideas that I can use in my US History courses.

There are hundreds of smaller niche networks for teachers of all content areas and grade levels. If you're looking for a way to connect with people that teach the same things you teach, try Classroom 2.0 or do a search for one of the many niche networks. If you still don't find just what you're looking for, create your network and send out invitations.

FREE National Geographic map with purchases $65+!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

National Council for the Social Studies Ning

If you teach any Social Studies topic on any grade level, you may want to consider joining the NCSS Ning community. I joined this evening and I have already learned a few things and got a couple of ideas that I am going to try in my classroom this month.

FREE National Geographic map with purchases $65+!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Capitalize on Your Students' Myspace Skills - Try Neetz

Last week during my presentation at the MLTI Student Tech Team Conference, I used the phrase "capitalize on your students' Myspace skills." In the future that might be a better title than "Blogs and Wikis and File Sharing, Oh MY!" for my presentation. What the phrase "capitalize on your students' Myspace skills" means is that today's student comes to your classroom knowing how to do a lot of things online. While a student may not have ever made a wiki page before they came to your classroom or written a blog entry before they came to your classroom, if they have a Myspace or Facebook profile they have all the skills needed to make a wiki or blog. As a classroom teacher I try to capitalize on those skills my students bring with them from their Myspace and Facebook worlds. With only a few minutes of instruction a class of students can be building multimedia blogs and wikis about any topic a teacher assigns.

Continuing on the idea of capitalizing on Myspace skills, capitalize on your students' Myspace interests by building a social network for your classes. Ning and a new service called Neetz are white label social network builders. On Neeetz teachers can create a social network built around their class(es). Teachers can use the homepage of their Neeetz network to link to assignments and resources, post video and image files, and create discussion forums for their students. Students can build their own Neeetz profile page that is linked to the network created by their teacher. Neeetz allows network creators to determine the privacy setting for their network. Networks can be made public, semi-public (membership must be approved), or private (only those invited by the creator can join).

Applications for Education
Neeetz and Ning can be used to create a central, online, location for assignments, resources, and discussion related to your classes. Having students create a profile page (they can customize the page in numerous ways) could be a great "getting to know each other" tool for the beginning of the school year or semester.

Neeetz and Ning networks could also be expanded to include parents. If you're a sports coach, extra-curricular club advisor, or PTA member building a Neeetz or Ning network could be a good way to foster communication and build community around common interests.