In the months since I started the Classroom 2.0 social network, I have come to appreciate social networking as a tool for education. Our Classroom 2.0 network would likely be generally categorized as professional development, but it also seems to provide a rich environment for "conversation," support, encouragement, idea generation, and resource locating.
I've watched educators struggle through their first posts as they've bravely jumped into the world of the collaborative web, only to see them fast become significant contributors. I've watched some pretty deep, amazing conversations about teaching and learning, and have just really been amazed at the potential benefits of social networking and Web 2.0 for education. In fact, it's hard to remember that just a few months ago there was a serious question about whether a social network for educators would be valuable.
I've also interviewed both Gina Bianchini and Marc Andreessen, the founders of Ning, and have been taken with the vision that they have for Ning and social networking in general. As well, they have expressed appreciation for the use of their product in education. And so, earlier this month, I suggested to Gina that they contract with me to provide help and support to educators specifically interested in using Ning. She was very excited about it, and so education.ning.com has been born.
The goal of education.ning.com will be to provide a network of support for educators: philosphical, pedagogical, and practical. I've started a list on the site of educational social networks that are already running--I know is just the tip of the iceberg and you are likely aware of many more, but hope the list will quickly be added to and become a valuable resource in it's own right.
I also plan on holding regular (weekly?) Elluminate/Skypecast sessions as part of education.ning.com that will be open for those who want special help or tutorials on different ways to customize Ning. I'm hopeful that the forum will provide a way for those who have dealt with issues specific to education will be able to document and share their solutions. And I'm sure some of you will have other ideas of things that I can do with education.ning.com that will be of benefit to you.
Classroom 2.0 will, I hope, continue to grow and flourish, and I plan on continuing my avid interest in it. Education.ning.com will be specific to the use of Ning networks in education.
Looking forward to continued adventures...