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Re: [xmca] ning

We've been using Ning for research purposes in a few public schools in the U.S. and received IRB approval for doing so--though admittedly, our research comes out of MIT which may orient to social networking in ways that more technologically conservative universities do not. Even with MIT, this is a thorny issue because the question arises about how to categorize the participation in these spaces--we work from the assumption that it's another dimension of "student artifacts" but some IRBs may think of it more aligned with the "interviews" or "interactions" categories.

We had great fun working with Ning with high school-aged kids--and by "fun," I mean that chaos ensued and out of it we learned a lot about the affordances of social networks in schools alongside the issues of establishing norms and preparing learners to participate in increasingly public spheres. There was some scatology, there were some NSFW words, and there was some amazing collaboration and participation on the sites. In addition to the chaos, awesomeness also ensued.

Jenna McWilliams
Curriculum Specialist
Project New Media Literacies
MIT Comparative Media Studies

phone ~ (617) 324-2591
email ~ jennamc@mit.edu

On Jun 4, 2009, at 11:51 AM, Mike Cole wrote:

I can see the educational uses for college courses which are not the object of research. I am raising the question about use of purposes of research because this is where IRB issues arise. We have been avoiding googlegroups,
facebook, etc., for IRB reasons. Glynda Hull's use of a special
facebook-like medium that is totally incapsulated is a response to these concerns. They may not be a problem in many places or for many purposes. i
am being cautious.

On Thu, Jun 4, 2009 at 8:34 AM, Jennifer Vadeboncoeur <
vadebonc@interchange.ubc.ca> wrote:

Hi Folks,

We use NING in two large courses in the teacher education program, one for elementary and one for secondary teacher candidates. There are approximately 280-320 students in each course. They meet in a large lecture hall for one hour of lecture, followed by two hours of discussion in "small" break-out
groups of about 30-34 teacher candidates.

We use NING for several purposes: 1) to post writing assignments, for
example responses to weekly inquiry questions, 2) to enable additional conversation outside of class, 3) to communicate general information across all sections of the course, 4) and most important, to build community among the teacher candidates and with the instructors. We use the "forum," rather
than the blog, and create weekly forums to organize postings.

I am interested in the extent to which this technology, coupled with the course structure, enables continued professional relationships once teacher
candidates complete their degree/certification and begin their first
teaching positions. Many of our teacher candidates teach across Canada and
the US, and internationally as well.

While NING is quite like other social networking sites, when we began using it several years ago it was the only one that allowed us to form closed community groups that were protected by an administrator function that allowed us control over who could enter. We did not want to use a completely open site. Teacher candidates can post pictures, videos, their teaching activities and professional contributions, and have conversations that we did not want to give public access to. We have continued to use it because it also allows us to use a French template for the sections of our courses
that are conducted in French.

For us, NING is incredibly useful. It is easy to use and continues to
evolve and offer new options as well. So far, so good.

Best - jennifer

 Here's one example, although you need to be a member to use it:

Peter Smagorinsky
Professor of English Education and Program Coordinator
The University of Georgia
125 Aderhold Hall
Athens, GA 30602

-----Original Message-----
From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca- bounces@weber.ucsd.edu] On
Behalf Of Helen Grimmett
Sent: Wednesday, June 03, 2009 8:17 PM
To: xmca@weber.ucsd.edu
Subject: [xmca] Re: technology for Classroom use


I've recently heard about something called a "ning", which from what I can gather seems to be a way to set up your own small scale networking site (like a mini facebook) for your own circle of users. It seems to me this might be an ideal way for classrooms (or groups of classrooms or
teachers) to explore this technology and be able to share their work
without worrying about what else they might come into contact with on
facebook, myspace or youtube etc.

I haven't investigated it fully yet, but am wondering if it might be the
sort of thing that will be useful for my research project on
professional learning. Perhaps someone else has some more infromation
about nings?

Helen Grimmett

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Jennifer A. Vadeboncoeur, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
The University of British Columbia
Faculty of Education
2125 Main Mall
Library Block 272B
Vancouver BC V6T-1Z4

phone: 1.604.822.9099
fax: 1.604.822.3302

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