This year, Nings have taken root all over Nashoba Regional High School, where several educators are using the closed online networks. Last summer, Mary Marotta, integration technology specialist at Nashoba, joined a Ning set up forparticipants of a technology conference. She was impressed, and she started to learn about and share other educational networks she found with others on the Nashoba staff, starting with
the English Companion Ning. “I like to refer to it as Facebook for English
teachers,” she said. “It’s a place where teachers go to help other teachers.”
“Journalism in the 21st Century,” a senior elective taught by Nashoba English teacher Adrianne Locke, was a natural fit for Ning. “The current tech tools aligned with the journalism,” Marotta noted.“With Ning, we’ve been able to create a virtualnewsroom for the journalism courses,” Locke said. “It was a forum for students to continue class discussion outside of the physical classroom and a
legitimate place to publish student work.”
Collegiality among students is also a theme over at Laura Pagington’s AP Government Ning. “Students use the Ning to discuss current events outside of class,” Pagington said. The online forum saves class time needed for instruction, she explained, and good online conversations also find their way back into class discussion.
Marotta and her Nashoba colleagues point out that an important feature of Ning sites is a set of administrative controls that enable teachers to close a site to outsiders and create an approval process for posting that is appropriate for their classes. (It is worth noting here that Ning is discontinuing its free
educator accounts in July. As MTA Today went to press, its Web site said the company was hoping to
secure a sponsor for educational accounts.)
Andrew Garcia, who is featured on the cover article on social media in education, offers tips for fellow educators on the MTA YouTube Channel.
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