The rapid development in Web 2.0 has seen a bombardment of various social networking sites like Facebook, Friendster and MySpace. The latest to become popular in Malaysia is Ning.com , launched in 2005. Co-founded by the former creator of Netscape, "Ning" comes from the chinese word for "peace". A great name for a Web 2.0 company as it’s simple to remember and short for a domain name (which makes its subdomains (e.g. "edtech.ning.com" more attractive than "mywebsite.freehosting.com").
As an "educational technologists", I feel that Ning can be a potentially powerful tool in ehancing our conventional classroom learning beyond the four walls of education. Unlike other social networking sites, Ning in itself is a platform for you to create your own mini social networks. In other words, you have your very own version of Facebook or Friendster. Call it with whatever name you want, and your target group can enter via URL like http://scienceclass.ning.com .You can even "port" your own domain name to the Ning networks. The features available in Ning allows it to be used for your classroom needs. As educators, you might want to setup your very own mini domain on cyberspace in which students can get engaged in various healthy activities in a fun way. Unlike e-learning portal tools like Moodle, Ning has a more appealing looks and suit the current Web 2.0 generations. it has functions for blogs, forum, chat, events announcements, photos and file sharing, etc. Moodle should improve on this if it wants to remain relevant
Instead of spending times setting up blogs and e-learning portals to be used for your classroom, you might to get involved in Ning which is free with minimal supported ads by Google. Try it and you’ll understand why it’s useful for your classroom. Ning does fulfil the vision and objectives of E-learning 2.0 or Classroom 2.0. Of course, some might argue, the success of incorporating Ning into your classroom depends a lot on other factors like internet connection speed, teacher’s capabilities in making it as a pedagogical tool as well as students’ willingness to be active participants. But at the very least, Ning offers exciting features that can pathe way for better use of the Internet for educational purposes. Have fun Ninging!!
Further details on Ning in Education can be obtained from the following social networks: