Ning is a ring of social networks run by participants who start and build the social network. I’ve found that Ning can be a great place to learn from others in your own field who have the same interests as yourself. I’m part of a Ning network called NextGen Teachers. The NextGen Ning network is a great example of an online learning community where users post questions or share information on the topics of interest to the network.
As I continue to use Ning, I realize that the real value of engaging in this kind of social network is learning that there are others interested in the same topics that I care about or find fascinating. Often, these folks have the same questions and frustrations with the tools and concepts. As they ask their questions in the forums or blogs, I learn from the replies and interactions of the other network members. Also, I continue to learn a great deal by reading through other members’ blogs as they describe their own experiences with Web 2.0 tools and applications.
A few months ago I started a forum group on Ning because I was interested in learning more about how teachers or educational organizations were using mobile learning in classrooms. I did get one reply that shared a particularly interesting example of a foreign language class with students who use their cell phones to turn in results of a oral examination for their teacher to grade.
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Ning social networks have a number of other nifty features:
- Updates section which allows you to view any visits and forum an blog activity of all of it’s members.
- Video section – that allows users to upload video with introductions, presentations, or interviews.
- Individual Profile pages – members can post their blog(s) link(s), background information and facts about themselves.
- Groups – Members can start their own groups on specific topics like, mobile learning, using blogs, etc.
If you are interested in browsing through the social networks on Ning, browse through the list of networks here. Note, anyone who registers can start their own social network.