Background Thing on Ning

Sorry, it’s hard to resist coming up with goofy rhymes when you’re talking about Ning. I love Ning. Ning is a free web 2.0 site that allows you to create a custom social network for your own needs. It’s a terrific site, one that can be used to communicate on all levels with colleagues, parents, students, and even to use as a tool for learning. A teacher I know created a Ning to help her students understand the relationships between European countries during World War I. Students broke up into groups and became countries, creating their identities and friending their allies. Another teacher I know created a Ning to demonstrate the Indian caste system.

I’ve created a few social networks, one being the Teachnet Institute Ning from last school year: It’s not currently active, but come check it out to see the work we did, and sample some of our fabu ideas.

This year, the Teachers Network Leadership Institute asked me to prep a Ning tutorial for the teachers in TNLI this year. I’m a tech advisor to the group, which focuses on policy issues in education and how the teacher’s voice can become an essential part of educational decision making. They have a 21st Century initiative this year, and I’m happy to say I’m a part of it. We created a Ning as our main vehicle of communication and therein lies the reason behind the tutorial.  I’m reposting it below, but you should also check out the TNLI Ning at

1) Ning: What is it? How are other educators using Ning?

(NCTE, Classroom 2.0, Ning in Education, NYC Teachers)

2) Our Ning: Getting to know our site and how it works

-Notifications: follow sections of the site or subscribe to RSS

3) Possibilities:

-Create your own group for an advocacy issue

-Create your own Ning for classroom use

-Social networking for policy change/organizing/getting the word out (Howard Dean, Social Media Strategery, The Internet and Civic Engagement from PEW, Obama & Social Networking from the NY Times)


Ning video tutorials

Creating a Social Network

Social Media in Plain English (video)

RSS in Plain English (video)


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