Rliberni's Blog – Radical language

May 10, 2010

Thoughts on Ning announcement & its implications 4 the future of tech


5-4-2010 – 18:00 CET 12 PM EST

Thoughts on the Ning announcement


Tuesday’s edchat session saw a sudden change of topic just 15 minutes before we began. As we were approaching the start of #edchat,  several tweets came through desiring to discuss the announcement made by Ning about their new pricing policy. There were also a few tweets pointing out that the topic scheduled was not only quite similar to the previous week’s but had also been discussed a month or so ago. The discussion was lively and @ning participated (see highlighted link below – we await comments!)

Our thanks go to Melissa Smith (@EduTechSmith) for the guest summary this week. She is a regular edchat participant and great ‘evangelist’ for technology in education. We are very grateful to Melissa for finding time to produce this summary despite having had a sudden family emergency over the past few days.

Today’s #edchat focused on the change that NING announced – making creators of NING networks pay for their services. They explained 3 different payment options for those creating NINGS to choose from, keeping a free NING option for those in education, but limiting its members to 150. With the reform going on in education, bringing a new type of learning environment into the classroom via Web 2.0 tools, educators expressed the need in continuing to use social media sites to improve on their teaching skills and practices. It seemed that the majority of education-based tweeters understood the desire and need of the business world to earn money off of their products, and recognized the need to pay creators for their work, but also felt that those using this sites for education should be excluded from fees or have a very low price. Teachers are excellent adapters to change, and since we are on limited budgets many folks brainstormed different ways to continue to grow via social networks such as #Edchat now showcasing itself on Facebook, Cybraryman (Jerry Bumengarten) offering to create a databank of our ideas on his site, or partnering up with local businesses to sponsor the NINGS. As the conversation continued several voices discussed the lack of funding that education has in the United States. Ning just seemed to be another great online tool that is now going to make the financially struggling teacher turn his or her focus on finding funds and away from their number one interest: educating the future of America. Voices expressed a push towards businesses coming in and supporting schools, children’s learning experiences, and teacher development – I feel this is what we are going to need to do in order to support, educate, and prepare our youth for the future.

Here are some of the main themes from the discussion:

@rliberni: Should edu always have free access?

@MissCheska: Can anyone really put a price on learning? true but people creating need to earn too

@rliberni: (RT) Edu should have either free access or very low cost options. Biz can write off the expenditure differences

@pysproblem81: #edchat – Ning is just a brand – they come go. Real question, should ‘social’ development be recognized as essential CPD?

@andycinek: Wikispaces did this and allowed free private access for K-12, hopefully Ning will continue this trend.

@andycinek: My question is, what does ning intend on doing with the $? If it means making their site, and education better, I’m ok with that

@andersch: The whole Ning issue illustrates how our network connections need to be networks of ppl, not platforms. #edchat would continue w/o Ning.

@olafelch: Don’t want this to sound nasty, but a grp with several 100 members could find a way to raise the funds.

@reportertanya What lessons should we learn from Ning’s news as well as other sites that have changed their services?

@psyproblem81 Good point on brands; social development = already essential PD in 21C environment

Here is a selection of some of the comments:

@cybraryman1: On my Blogs page I have Ning explanation, sites & alternatives (left column): http://bit.ly/8mcqcC #edchat

@sarabest: For use with students 2.95 a month isn’t a lot, but if I have to pay that for every online tool I use it would add up to a lot.

@olafelch: I have a feeling this may be the dawn of an era where we have to get used to paying for good services

@EduTechSmith: nothing in education should cost teachers and students to use – companies should get $ for corporations & sponsors

@MissCheska: I know it makes sense in business side, but that makes me 😦 bc I don’t have $ to pay for all the tools I use for tech PD

@aeringuy: Who is the education company sponsoring free Ning for teachers? http://bit.ly/azYQb2

@seanbanville: All providers of free services need to explore better ways to keep their services free #edchat

@musicfan214: This content is great for @ning. I hope they listen to what educators want and need out of their service and make the changes

@kevcreutz: A ning offers a great variety of ways to collaborate and to provide a forum for a group. I do not know of a more comprehensive site

@ akenuam : I hear you, i just see what happened to teachertube and grow fearful of ads. It ruined the site.

@ksivick: we have some serious work to do educating administration if we hope to continue with Ning #edchat

RT @esolcourses: one of the problems w relyin on free online tools is there’s no guarantee that they will always be there

RT @WeAreTeachers: We are able to keep our communities free for educators by having companies sponsor grant opps

RT @anderscj: Ning Mini they are offering is not the Ning we have been using. No groups, no file uploads, limit of 150 members,

@k_shelton The problem is we as Edu aren’t even floating…we’re drowning due to budget cuts!

@rliberni (RT) http://bit.ly/hBH6Q This is a great site with many open source alternatives helpful to edu and tight budgets. #edchat

@kalinagoenglish: Not sure every1 wants web2.0tools 2 all b free 4ever. Educators get salaries. Software co.s have employees

@edutek one of the problems with relying on free online tools is that there’s no guarantee that they will always be there

RT @k_shelton: I would like to see more cooperative relationships between biz. all benefit for the sake of our students and schools

@kevcreutz Would it work to have students involved in obtaining sponsorships? Authentic learning opportunity? #edchat

@shellTerrell It’s a positive sign when Apps begin asking for educator input

I would ask that the following question is added to the poll next week:

Creating a plan. What can we actually go and do to help one another create learning environments so that we aren’t reinventing the wheel?

To follow the complete discussion see here

For the stats on #edchat participation see here

As ever, there were some great links shared:

teachingwthsoul: Yay! RT @ShellTerrell: RT @olafelch: RT @ning: Looking forward to feedback about new Ning options in today’s #edchat http://bit.ly/c98Yf7

regentsreview: Here’s a documentary on America’s Digital Divide. #edchat #edtech http://fb.me/x5LJAqMG

WeAreTeachers: @MissCheska we would be happy to have you relocate to http://bit.ly/dCMUlq

rliberni: RT @olafelch: I read that Ning will remain free for K12 http://bit.ly/9JbwWL

ksivick: Announcement link #edchat http://bit.ly/aBVgba

web20education: Ning free for teachers http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/05/04/ning-planning-to-remain-free-for-teachers/?src=tptw

web20education: What platform recommand #edchat if we will must pay for our Ning http://proiectdiferitidaregali.ning.com

pysproblem81: RT @jamesclay: Makes for interesting reading http://about.ning.com/announcement/ wonder if free edu pricing will apply to UK!

@cybraryman1: On my Blogs page I have Ning explanation, sites & alternatives (left column): http://bit.ly/8mcqcC

aeringuy: Who is the education company sponsoring free Ning for teachers? http://bit.ly/azYQb2

jdthomas7: Ning Blog » Ning Pro, Ning Plus and Ning Mini Pricing Plans ( http://bit.ly/coKBXQ )

heistes: RT @pisanojm: Please Take My Survey: TweetDeck or HootSuite ~5 Questions: http://is.gd/bTFK9

akenuam: there is also schoolrack and engrade http://bit.ly/cpT6Tj

raysadad: Yes, on http://blog.ning.com but name not public yet. – It’s big sponsorship! good promo 4 them!

lemino: @anderscj It doesn’t. But how long are they going to remain free? http://bit.ly/9wXnEf

elanaleoni: I know Edutopia offers free online groups 2 any class/educator. http://bit.ly/bZh8Om (Ning alternative?)

ESLlibrary: RT @rliberni http://bit.ly/hBH6Q This is a great site with many open source alternatives helpful to edu and tight budgets

olafelch: … this may be the dawn of an era where we have to get used to paying for good services. #edchat http://bit.ly/9wXnEf

reportertanya: @MissCheska The sponsored accounts for educators will be for Ning Mini http://bit.ly/cqpZqQ

web20education: Very interesting web 2.0 expo in San Francisco this days http://www.web2expo.com/webexsf2010

k_shelton: And here is a worthwhile read about Ning and their attempts to be free to ed and non-profits http://nyti.ms/cioCXu

Nashua_Online: socialmedia / 04 – Inside Higher Ed: http://bit.ly/cqW2SZ

michellek107: @MissCheska Read this: http://blog.ning.com/2010/05/introducing-ning-pro-ning-plus-and-ning-mini.html

ShellTerrell: RT @dgende: @SeanBanville Take a look at this open source social networking: http://mahara.org/

dgende: @EduTechSmith It HAD an effect! Looks like Ning will be free for educators at some point, read NYTimes http://nyti.ms/aqk9WB

ededco:  Our new blog post inspired by our chat on differentiation a few weeks back! http://bit.ly/cwiijs

rkiker: @rliberni http://bit.ly/hBH6Q This is a great site with many open source alternatives helpful to edu and tight budgets.

*ShellTerrell: Thanks for asking! RT @Ning: Looking forward to seeing feedback about new Ning options in today’s #edchat http://bit.ly/cXGNnA

skabachia: Looks like I get to keep using Ning with my students. http://ow.ly/1GRjq

edutek: #edchat recap will be coming shortly at Learning Today Blog http://ow.ly/1GRiw

mixxt: @TalstoneDJ @xiotex Ning alternative? Give mixxt.com a try! Details & Ning-Import here: http://bit.ly/ningalt

MrConsiglio: #truth #edchat RT @getschooled Must “stop messing around with the dynamics of the system” http://ow.ly/1GQig

web20education: Now is very easy to share using mozilla add-on .Please comment if you know other intersting add-on http://bit.ly/9HAYZZ

w2e: Web2Open has arrived! http://yfrog.com/0hlvlkj #w2e Check out this free unconference on the second floor. Go now

web20education: All twitter members #edchat are welcome to use #edtech20 http://twubs.com/edtech20 and to join free http://web20ineducation2010.ning.com/

reportertanya: In case you missed this last week: #Ning News Highlights Need to Pick Online Tools Wisely http://bit.ly/dkEyoZ

@edutechsmith: Melissa Smith – I have been in education since 1997 and am currently a Technology Specialist, supporting grades 4th through 6th at Presbyterian Day School, an all boy’s school in Memphis, TN. I am also the president for the Memphis Association of Independent Schools, Technology Education Consortium.


New to Edchat?

If you have never participated in an #Edchat discussion, these take place twice a day every Tuesday on Twitter. Over 800 educators participate in this discussion by just adding #edchat to their tweets. For tips on participating in the discussion, please check out these posts!

More Edchat


If you’re new to hashtag discussions, then just show up on Twitter on any Tuesday and add just a few tweets on the topic with the hashtag #edchat.

What do you think about paying for Nings and other tech tools for Education? Leave a comment!



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