Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Thanks, Ning.

I just got a call from my primary contact at Ning, letting me know one aspect of the support they've been so generous in giving to educators--the funding me as a consultant--has fallen victim to this economic downturn.

While I am of course, disappointed, it's been a great priviledge and pleasure to represent Ning to educators, and to represent educators to Ning. The build-your-own-social-network model has opened many doors to thinking about professional development and classroom work in the context of social media. I want to say it's been historic. I think it has been. I hope you'll consider leaving a comment here letting Ning know if you feel it's made a difference for you. I'd love to leave them with a parting gift celebrating what they've done.

I will miss the opportunity to get paid to work on something I truly love. Classroom 2.0, which is just about to reach 15,000 members, will stay unchanged as it's never been a part of the work I've done for Ning. It was, however, the impetus for calling Ning co-founder Gina Bianchini last year and suggesting that I could work for them. I felt that CR 2.0 would have a hard time growing and making a real difference for educators if I had to "monetize" it, so working for Ning would be a justification for my keeping it free. That turned out to be a great idea. Because I had paid work to do for Ning, I felt comfortable keeping CR 2.0 open to, and encouraging of, other educators starting their own networks. I believe that was a critical part of the broader adoption of social networking by those who were a part of it, and Ning deserves a lot of credit for that.

If you do a search at for networks tagged with "education," there appear to be over 9,000 results. A look at shows some of the depth and variety of educational networks that have been created. 15,000 members (almost) in CR 2.0. Over 3,000 members in Ning in Education. Most everyone I know in ed tech has created a network or two or more. Isn't that amazing when you think of how hard it was, even just a few years ago, to imagine social networking as a part of educational practice?

It's been a great ride. No doubt, there is still much fun ahead of us, but I'll miss my formal association with Ning.