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 Ning.com for networks tagged with "education," there appear to be over 9,000 results. A look at http://socialnetworksined.wikispaces.com 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.

57 comments:

  1. Happy to be the first to express my appreciation of your personal advocacy in using Nings for educational purposes. I have learned immensely from the various sponsored Nings, including Classroom 2.0 and Teacher Librarian Network Ning. I experienced my first management of a ning in November of this year at the School Library Journal Summit and their Ning, and have even convinced my state library association to consider a Ning as a more effective avenue for sharing resources and networking. I have to credit you, Steve with my introduction and now comfort level using them. Thanks for being a great leader and advocate. Maybe when the economy rebounds they will realize your educational impact and bring you back on board.

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  2. Wow, great work, Kathy! Thanks for the kind words. :)

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  3. Yikes--who is going to solve all our issues like getting rid of the commercial vendors and rude kids!!
    Will you still host CR 2.0? Hopefully you'll still hang around CR20, you always have great insights to share.

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  4. BTW, I tried to use the "Thank you" link but it didn't work. N.

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  5. @nbosch: Classroom 2.0 is unaffected, since while it's built on Ning, it's never been a part of my agreement with them. I'll keep doing it, that's for sure--and will just look for other opportunities to allow me to do so! BTW, you deserve MAJOR KUDOS for your support of the network. You've made a real difference, and I've been meaning to thank you.

    I hate broken links! Darn!

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  6. Steve, thanks for all that you and others do in the name of education and humanity. I had no idea you were getting paid, that was really gracious of Ning to accept your offer and for you and the network to carry it all out in a grand collaboration of diverse peoples.

    Edublogs just cut features too, announced yesterday ,,, and as I result I will be shutting my blog down. So, I think many of us are feeling the pain of economic times.

    Somehow I know that this crew of worldwide educators will still find creative and thrifty ways to keep us moving forward through the 21st century. Thanks for continuing on. It is important!

    Frank in Mexico (Salty Saenz in Second Life; and metaweb20 in Twitter)

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  7. Hi, Steve! I'm very sorry about this announcement and for you because you have done a wonderful job with this community.
    I want to share with you my admiration and respect about all the work you've done to support the leadership.
    NING is really a wonderful network for educators. And as we talked sometimes ago, I created myself the INTERACTiC 2.0 community for portuguese educators on Ning and they are very happy to be members of it.
    The teachers need this service from NING. Educators must be motivated by people like you. We are learning together and gathering talents and knowledge in the same places.
    I hope the CR 2.0 will continue with it's mission.
    Thank you for all to you ando to NING.

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  8. Steve, thanks for the work you do - on CR2.0, Ning in Education, k12 open source community and so much more. I found Ning in Education, to be an excellent support network for educators using Ning, and am truly sorry to hear that it is being shut down.
    Susan Tsairi

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  9. I am happy to express my gratitude to Ning for their support of education. I presently host a network for teens worldwide that has around 280 members and is serving to support cultural understanding without pressure. Thanks
    Sharon

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  10. STEVE!!! This is a loss for Ning, and I hope you will be able to keep working your amazing magic in other venues online. We need you!!!

    If the guys at Ning are reading this, they should know that they got at least one paying customer out of your evangelizing! I have a Ning for the online courses I teach (oumyth.ning.com) and a Ning for my upcoming book (aesopus.ning.com), and for both of these Nings I gladly pay the monthly premium to remove the ads.

    Having these two Nings has become a vital part of my work, and I owe it all to YOU since you are the one who got me hooked on Ning, and I have since been preaching the gospel of Ning to everyone I know for the past year and a half.

    THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU HAVE DONE: you have made a huge difference in my life as a teacher and educator online.

    Laura

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  11. Steve, your Classroom2.0 ning was the beginning of a very exciting journey for me and my students who have been using nings in an educational context for much of this year. Some have been projects set up by other teachers and some have been ones that I have created. I love nings for so many reasons. But mainly for the fact that it enables us as educators the opportunity to reflect in a safe and secure way, the experiences that many of our students have in the 'real world' when they create profiles, participate in forums, post images and comments in other social networks. It has given me so many opportunities to observe and talk about ways to behave ethically and safely online with my students. It provided many many "teachable moments" that would have otherwise gone untaught because they occurred out of school time or in a different context. I really do hope that the ning company will recognise not only the work you have done in being a pioneer in this area but also the potential that nings have in the educational sector for both our students and their teachers. I look forward to continuing a very interesting learning journey with nings as my vehicle.

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  12. Well I've been wondering how long all these free educational networks would exist. Sad but not unexpected.

    So are we ready to pay for Web 2.0.

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  13. i admit i am fairly new to this network and i am a lurker but i have learned a lot and still have lots to learn.

    thank you steve for opening my eyes to what is possible. thank you ning , though i hope you could re-consider, when the times will be favorable again. I am hopeful they will be soon.

    I am sure this is not the last phase of the ning educational evolution. I have a feeling that something better will come out from this episode.

    Thank you very much Steve and Ning! <*clap*clap*clap*stands*clap*clap*clap>

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  14. To Dierdre--Been saying that for several years. How many online timeline generators do we need? My guess? 80% of the tools will be gone, 10% will be subscription and maybe 10% will get the ad revenue to stay around.

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  15. Steve,

    Thank you so much for all you've done to connect educators to each other and to Web 2.0 -- I really appreciate all you've taught me during my early exploration and exploration with Ning in the classroom.

    ~Barbara

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  16. So appreciate the comments. It's important to clarify some things!

    1. Ning in Education (http://education.ning.com) is not shutting down! :) I set up the network and saw my active participation in it as part of my advocacy for Ning, but the community goes one and should still be of great benefit to all of us!

    2. As far as I know, Ning's plans to offer ad-free networks for student-based networks remain unchanged! This is a great thing they do.

    @Frank: I feel your pain. But you're right--we are part of a pretty resourceful community!

    @Jose: Muito bem, meu amigo! So glad you've had success. CR 2.0 lives on!

    @Susan: You are one of my great heroes. Squelch that rumor right away--Ning in Ed lives on, too! :)

    @Laura: You are too kind. And I think you are right--for every educational Ning network, I hope they are finding several others being created because of the initial introduction to Ning. It's their magic "double viral" model.

    @Anne: Great points. Especially about the training that students get in using social networking when under the tutelage of caring educators.

    @Deidre: The rumors of anyone's death here are greatly exaggerated! :) Yes, the economics of Web 2.0 are trick, but Ning and their educational benefits live on. It's a great testimony of Ning's commitment to education that they have done as much as they have, and I believe they will continue to do all they can.

    It's also hard for companies to build a business model of profitability in the Web 2.0 world, and Ning's done a great job of balancing their financial needs and supporting education.

    Thanks for all the good replies.

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  17. A few months ago, just after I had taken a volunteer position to create and manage a group of volunteer content developers for a new non-profit website -- a time when I was giving a lot of thought to how to bring them together and how to teach them how to write for the net . . . I bumped into the Work Literacy course (WOW!), and within about six minutes I had learned about Ning and also the many helpful sites based on Ning, and Iwas on my way.

    I have to confess that I paid very little attention to the Work Literacy course after that because I had to learn Ning and build my Writers Group Ning space and I was VERY BUSY. But I also have to say that Ning changed my life -- well, my work; but the two are hardly separate. I am SO pleased with what I have accomplished. Which is just another way to say that I am so pleased with what Ning enabled me to accomplish. Thank you, thank you.

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  18. The world of education is changing and the teachers have and will continue to need the supports offered. It is unfortunate that the supports that will bring us into this new age of learning is being impacted by the economy. I hope that the funds will be returned to teacher support initiatives as sson as budgets allow. I still have so many unanswered questions and concerns.

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  19. Ning and Steve,

    I have enjoyed participating as a member of Classroom 2.0 on Ning. In particular, I have enjoyed the opportunity to collaborate with Steve Hargadon through the web as well as at NECC meetings. As a result of his efforts, I have been able to encourage many other teachers to make use of Ning as a web 2.0 tool that may benefit their students.

    I personally want to thank Steve for his encouraging comments and dedicated work in the support of education. Your impact on me personally and the education community will be felt for years to come.

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  20. My quiet students now have a voice that is heard and a personality that is known among their peers, all thanks to Ning blogs. While I'm still on technology training wheels, Ning has made me feel like a pro, thanks to all you've done.

    Like all good teachers whose job it is to equip our students to speak and be heard, you, too, now disappear physically from our sight. But the dynamism of your work continues.

    So heartfelt gratitude for all we can see that you've done and also for the million-and-one other things that we will never know that you've done to make these educational communities possible.

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  21. I have benefited from Steve's advocacy for Ning. I waded into the waters last year and Steve was an invaluable voice for the educational uses of Ning.

    I have since used Ning for 2 program sites, 2 conference presentations, and as part of my qualifying exams.

    I am a big fan and a big advocate for Ning. I hope that they come through these difficult times (drink) unscathed. Services like this are invaluable for educators, particularly those without the support of competent tech departments.

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  22. Hi Steve,
    I've been mostly a silent follower of your amazing work. You know, frankly, without your "live" connection to this online community, I seriously doubt it would have taken off like it did. I've been a reader and listener to your work here. And because of this, I've had the courage to have started and shared NING in my work in all sorts of places in the world. I totally credit you for bring me along - nobody can really measure this sort of impact. Thank you! I hope you will continue your leadership so I can follow you some more.

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  23. Thank you for the wonderful work. Ning is great indeed. I have created a few social networks, myself and Ning certainly raised the awareness of the power of social networking.

    Wish you all the best and keep up the good work.

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  24. Thanks for all the powerful connections!

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  25. Thank you Ning and thank you Steve. Classroom 2.0 is the first place I turn to when I need answers to questions about technology in education. Your work inspired me to share ning with my fellow elementary school teachers and we now use ning to participate in online personal learning communities. Wow, couldn't even have imagined that three years ago!

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  26. Steve,
    Your influence and impact has been tremendous. Thanks! And kudos also to Ning for bring you to us! It's been real... and I'm sure we shall continue to hear you around :-)Cheers!
    Sanjay

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  27. @Jun: thanks and *claps* to you! I agree--the best is yet to come. ;)

    @Barbara: you are most welcome.

    @Jen: don't worry--there will still be lots of opportunities for asking questions and learning! There's a great community still growing at http://education.ning.com/.

    @Glen: will look forward to much more. Am excited particularly to see where Intel goes with their educator community.

    @Jane: I hope I don't disappear! :) But I am glad it has made an impact on you!

    @Kathleen: now you've put the pressure on... :) I hope I can live up to it. But so glad you've had success.

    @Elise: so glad CR 2.0 works for you. When we were at 500 members, I worried that the size would diminish it's usefulness. But now I see it in a different light--not so intimate, but a great starting place to find and talk to others. Thanks for being a part of it.

    @Sanjay: it has been real. Yes, it has.

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  28. Dear Steve,

    First, thank you. You have truly been an inspiration. Your passion and your dedication to the public, in particular, educators, has been seen and felt by many. You have clearly made an impact in the world of social networking.

    Many times after reading your posts, I have said to myself - when does this guy sleep? But as most of us have learned already, the impact of social networks and its allure goes far beyond posting a comment or two to someone in a "network". Social networks are more than a means of collaborating. They impact people psychologically, in essence creating an online space where people have a choice about where they want to belong.

    I don't imagine that anyone knew where social networks were going two years ago. Ning was created during a time when I was craving exactly what it was offering. It still remains my social network platform of choice, not only because of the ease of its features, but because of the way in which it has evolved.

    There have been many times that I've come back to the Classroom2.0 site just to catch up with what you are doing and saying.

    Your direct support will be missed. You've kept me motivated to keep on posting. Personally, I've created over 6 Ning sites and tout Ning's praises to all. I strongly emphasize that without your encouraging words and interactions, I would not have stayed as connected with NING or my own communities as I have.

    Thank you for all you have done in the world of education, educational technology and social networking. Looking forward to the new venture.

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  29. Hi Steve,
    Sorry to hear about the change in your status. However, I am sure money was not the reason you got into Ning. All I can say is:
    Welcome to the real world where group creators work hard to upkeep their Nings.

    Warm wishes,
    Nellie Deutsch

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  30. Hi Steve,

    You are a great champion for Ning, Education and all things Web 2.0. Keep up the good work.

    Congratulations on all the good work you have done and good luck with all future work.

    Steve

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  31. Anonymous5:14 AM

    Teaching in a small, rural prep to year 12 school in Australia, it was my membership of classroom2.0 that gave me the resources and the connections to start an amazing journey into the use of web2.0. My students have been part of the flatclassroomproject2008 and a ning has been used for this, for social networking purposes, sharing of images, movies etc. This has linked my girls who live in a monocultural community to connect and work with students from the middle east, Spain, USA and fellow Australians. The benefits to them and the powerful learning outcomes are immeasurable. I have so many valuable connections from both nings. We have gone from rural isolation to being televised by a Russian film crew (in Russia) who wanted to film the skype videoconference between a Russian school and ours, to an Antarctic linkup with Jean Pennycook who is studying the penguins and global warming. This converted our whole school to a virtual one, where each classroom teacher took control of their virtual classroom and linked up via software to Jean. Steve, your ning sites have done so much for us and we thank you for your commitment to the future of education.

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  32. Ning has been the single most important product to help me gain confidence in expressing my edtech views in a blog or my ning page. Steve your encouragement has ment a lot to me. You always answer email questions, no matter how trivial and make everyone feel that their input was important to the development of the ning group. The two most influential nings to me have and will be the CR2.0 and NECC. I have made so many contacts through these resources. I teach courses for Wilkes U and had requests from fellow educators about teaching them about this thing called Ning. My hats off to you for all of your dedication and helping all of us get fired up to use this product.

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  33. In our technology department in an educational service agency we use your Ning site as a showcase to demonstrate to others how social media can be used in education. Thanks for your advocacy for using social media in education and thanks to Ning for all their support.

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  34. Steve,
    Thanks for all you do for us and thanks for introducing us to Ning. I know you will not let a little thing like a consultant fee keep you from being an advocate for Ning. If Classroom 2.0 and the Teacher Librarian Network did not exist my students would not benefit from what I have taken away from my association with Ning.

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  35. JSager8:47 AM

    Thanks so much for your assistance to educators. I know blogging has been a wonderful teaching opportunity for my students. And connecting with other educators to discuss technology matters has personally benefitted my professional development.

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  36. Anonymous9:01 AM

    Ευχαριστούμε πολύ!!!
    Thank you!!!
    P. Faliro High School, Athens, Greece.

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  37. I just found and got started on this network! I can already see why it would be so beneficial to so many of us around the world. I'll never forget the time I popped onto Classroom 2.0 and chatted with you live on site...I have never in my decades of life, experienced such fasthand online consulting. I'm glad to hear you'll be sticking with that one. Best of luck!

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  38. Classroom 2.0 was my intro to Ning. I am currently doing a few subjects for a M.Ed which uses two different antiquated social networking social networking apps and they are very difficult to use. They have none of the elegance and ease of Ning. I am working at convincing my Uni to make the change but I guess they won't want to make the jump from their own server. I've also created a Ning site for my school to invite teachers to collaborate on Action in the Primary Years Program of the IB.

    Thanks Steve for your personal welcome to Classroom2.0 months ago and your inspiration to so many.

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  39. Armando9:24 AM

    I just began using ning this semester with my students and it has made a tremendous impact in my instructional delivery. I often looked at what other ed ning sites were doing as a way to navigate my own online instruction. Thank you for your leadership in this process.

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  40. Hi Steve,
    Sorry to hear your news. I learned of Ning through Classroom 2.0 and have since started two networks with Premium Services.
    Thanks, Steve!

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  41. Steve, thanks for all you have done for the Flat Classroom projects and for educational use of the Ning. We love it! I was also thinking about this time last year when we asked Ning to take advertising off for students under 18. Through your influence and passion for making these spaces viable and safer for learning Ning agreed. Thank you Steve, and thanks Ning. I looked up my blog post from this time and share it again here. http://123elearning.blogspot.com/2007/11/straw-camel-and-ning.html

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  42. Ooops...here is URL to blog post as promised in last comment
    http://tinyurl.com/6fqd2h
    Julie

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  43. Ning is incredible and we love it! I hope that they know that "Mr. Ning" has done a lot to further Ning in the education sector. It is such a great tool!!

    Providing ad free Nings has been an enormously positive thing for all of our projects and we appreciate Ning's support.

    I think they (and we) are going to miss your advocacy for Ning. I hope that they will want you back. (soon)

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  44. Thanks for everything you've done, Steve. It is a great loss for Ning and for educators around the world.

    I know that you will still be advocating no matter what because like many of us, this is one of your passions.

    Let's hope that our economic woes improve in the near future and Ning will be able to support your efforts again.

    I hope to see you at Classroom 2.0 events and conferences. I have learned so much from you and others through this amazing network.

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  45. Mark Clive1:06 PM

    Thanks Steve, and a HUGE thanks to Ning. I've been using Ning to keep our students and staff connected here at the UTA Art+Art History Dept. Film/Video Area, and the results are nothing short of spectacular!

    Our students are always producing and shooting short films and animations and they do all their scheduling on our network, which has greatly lessened the frustrations of this daunting task. Collaboration on projects has increased exponentially, and the quality of our student's work has skyrocketed.

    I appreciate your advocacy Steve, it's been invaluable to we educators.

    Best of luck with your future endeavors.

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  46. Anonymous4:41 PM

    Thanks, Steve, for all you've done for us! What I and many others have received through CR2.0 and the other networks has been infinitely valuable. And I'm sure you can use all these comments as a 'resume' to show someone else why they should hire you as a consultant!

    John Toomey

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  47. thanks ning. This was a lot better stuff.

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  48. nbosch said...

    "Yikes--who is going to solve all our issues like getting rid of the commercial vendors and rude kids!!"

    That's also one thing I thought of when I read your post, Steve. You are being extraordinary fair to Ning. Without you, Ning would be
    just like any social network. I remember the first educational Ning network I joined: it was exciting, yet there were also kids joining and fighting and insulting other members.

    Another of those Ning networks I first joined was full of spammers for an unlikely "Dubli" pyramid
    scheme to get rich following the precepts of some D movie called The
    Secret, about which there was a brawl between the film maker and the
    author of the original book.

    Your Classroom 2.0 changed that. Perhaps because the first people who joined already knew each other through your podcast and hence your
    wikispaces wiki.

    Above all because you really took Ning's potential
    for education seriously - beyond just getting rid of boisterous kids and commercial spammers, which was indeed needed - so we took it seriously instead of just an opportunity to try out the Nth social network hosting solution. And Ning seemed to take it seriously too.

    nbosch also asked
    "Will you still host CR 2.0? Hopefully you'll still hang around CR20, you always have great insights to share."

    Thanks for having answered "Yes" to that, Steve. What matters is the personal links you have enable us to create, the discussions we are able to hold, whatever the platform, and whether the platform owners really believe in its educational potential of that platform or just choose to use education as promotional argument.

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  49. Anonymous4:04 AM

    Thank you, yes, it certainly made a difference. Could we have found a system of sponsoring? it is so sad... but the achievement is so great, it will live for a long time. "Chapeau bas!"

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  50. Steve, your contribution to educating the educators about Ning and building Edu communities has been phenomenal. You showed the Edu world how powerful a tool Ning is to network and share.

    We also created meeting places for users of our services on Ning because quite a few of them are already on Ning so it helps them find relevant information easily and it helps us to reach out to more who can use our services.

    Best wishes,
    Jagdeep Singh Pannu

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  51. Thank YOU Steve for advocating such a sweet tool...Ning has been a GREAT addition to the Digital Arts Technology Academy at Cathedral City High School! I have been so excited about the power of Ning that I ran a staff devo for career tech teachers last week at our district office and hope to be further sharing the concept at this years California Partnership Academies conference. Since tapping in last year as a presenter at CUE- Palm Springs, I think I have spawned 10 new Nings in the district as well as joining many other global Ning communities. Thanks for serving up the 'punch'... I am chugg'n it.

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  52. Ning doesn't know what they'll be losing. Ning is the ideal platform for learning communities. Right now, there is nothing better on the market. Thanks for all you've done to make this tool more edu-friendly and bring it to the attention of educators.

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  53. Lorraine2:04 PM

    Steve, First of all thank you for Classroom 2.0. It is perhaps the most comprehensive free educational resource on the web today. It just keeps on growing with educators across the planet who are willing to volunteer their time to support each other in professional development of web 2.0 tools. I'm not sure that it would have gotten off the ground as quickly had it not been for your unending support, patience and enthusiasm. I'm convinced that not that far down the road, Classroom 2.0 will make it's way into educational history books as a 'first' of it's kind. I hope that Ning realizes your unique talents and continues to support your endeavors in whatever way they can. Again, thanks!!

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  54. Hi Steve,
    First of all I just want to say "THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU" for giving the educational community Classroom 2.0 and NING. these two sites have helped to raise the bar for educators and students.
    I check Classroom 2.0 each time I receive an email notification that a new comment has been posted. Though I am a lurker I have been able to benefit from the links and comments of everyone.
    You are an inspiration and a gift to this community, so fear not "When a door closes, the WORLD OPENS". I know that greater things will happen for you. "For GOD so loved the World that He gave His Only Begotten SON, that who so ever believeth in Him should not perish. But have everlasting LIFE". Your work will live on and so will you.
    Thank you NING

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  55. I'm so appreciative of the comments that have been made. It's certainly gratifying to have many of them be personal to me, but I'm really glad that Ning is getting some deserved praise for all that they have done.

    @David: I would say the same thing--Ning has changed my life. I think that they have done something very special.

    @Blanca: Six Ning sites! Way to go! Hey, I'm not going anywhere, and neither is Ning--just their ability to let me focus on Ning in education. I've got some fun things in the works, but that doesn't mean I'm going away. Just maybe not *so* focused.

    @Nellie: No, it was not money! Nor is it still... except a little. :) But the model of building and audience, then offering authentic services to them, is one I really like. So I'll be turning my time more toward the authentic services and maybe a little less on building the audience.

    @murcha: your story is great, and truly warms my heart. P.S. One of my next ventures is called "Future of Education" and will be at futureofeducation.com! :) I can't wait.

    @Robin: Great stuff. I love that NECC Ning network--it was one of my favorite to build because of the easy color matching and I loved how it ended up looking. I also appreciated the fact that NECC really took the bull by the horns to not only showcase the use of social networking for a conference, but to then use it in such a significant way to get feedback on their media policy.

    @Congerjan: You're right! :) Ha!

    @Dim: Είστε ευπρόσδεκτοι! Hope Google translate did that right!

    @Eden: That's a great compliment. I'm so glad.

    @Leigh: You're so welcome.

    @Armando: That's exactly what I hoped would happen. I'm glad it's working for you.

    @Tony: No tears for me! Let's just do all we can to get Aspen making inroads!

    @Julie: You are one of my great heroes, and with Vicki and Ning deserve ALL the credit for the ad-free program. I was just glad to be there to relay the message.

    @Vicki: Another genuine hero. If I was/am Mr. Ning, it's a title gladly shared with many now. You have done GREAT job showing what can really be done where the rubber meets the road--int the classroom. Can't wait for future adventures with you.

    @Ann: such generous words. Thank you.

    @Mark: it's projects like yours that help me to realize how rich this arena still is! Wow.

    @John: yes, I've thought of that, too! :)

    @Almansi: Thanks for posting those thoughts. I do harbor a hope that CR 2.0 has made a difference in the way that you've described. Here's to a new year and hopefully many more good lessons and fun there.

    @Christine: I look at Wikipedia, and I think it would have been hard for it to become what it is if there had bee commercial sponsorship to get it going. I think CR 2.0 is a little bit the same--in order to show the potential of social networking in this way, it had to be seen as independent of any bias. I'm really glad it has been that way.

    @Jagdeep: Thanks.

    @MCauthron: 10 networks!? You are "chugg'n" it!

    @Lorraine: when I let down my guard and I'm feeling too smug, I want to agree with you! I sincerely hope in some small way what you've said is true. Thanks!

    @Allymac: Hurrah for lurkers! I've been tempted on a couple of occasions to make it so that people would have to sign up for CR 2.0 to be able to browse past the first page (which might raise the number of members dramatically) but I've always come back to the need for people to be able to come and see what it's about without requiring anything. Glad you've found it useful.

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  56. Steve,

    Not only has my understanding of the potential of social networking in education been enhanced by Classroom 2.0 but I have also integrated Ning into two of my online classes this past semester. About 70 community college online art appreciation students interacted in a Ning community that was linked into our Blackboard site this semester. The feedback (just in this week) is amazing! The students reported that Ning enhanced their connection to the class material, kept them motivated, the blogs provided them with a sense of accomplishment, they felt their work was enjoyable, and they felt a greater connection to each of their classmates. Wow.

    The full potential of online education in higher ed is still being realized by colleges and universities across our nation and the world. I truly hope more professors see the importance of reaching outside traditional pedagogies and into the world of social networking to reach our students. The results have been incredible.

    Thank you and thank you, Ning.

    One question - does higher ed qualify for ad-free Ning sites? I am aching to get rid of those pesky ads.

    best,
    Michelle Pacansky-Brock
    brocansky@gmail.com

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  57. Many thanks to you and Ning, Steve, for showing both visionary and pragmatic leadership in cultivating worthwhile educational uses of Web 2.0 media. Ning is one of the best online networking environments currently available, and its applications in support of learning at all levels are myriad. Your contributions and Ning's are paving the way for the future, and I look forward to seeing where that future takes all of us...

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I hate having to moderate comments, but have to do so because of spam... :(