Ning – Create your own Social Network

Facebook, Facebook, Facebook… have you heard of it yet? If not, maybe your head is buried in the sand. In my classes, I was looking for a solution that would provide me with the opportunities and features of Facebook but with more privacy for my students. I found Ning.com – a site that allows you to create your very own social networking site. 

Ning.com offers you many features in your networks. You can have a photo viewer, videos, audio, chatting, forums, notes, games and even more. What I love about it is that you create the network and everything is self-contained… like a mini-Facebook just for you and your students! What my students seem to really love about it too though is that they can configure what their own profile pages looks like. There are dozens of themes they can choose from as well as having the ability to change colour themes and so on.

What Ning has opened up for me though is the ability to draw my students into something outside of class. I will sometimes post a new forum topic right away after class. By the time students arrive at their house, they will see the forum topic and they CHOOSE to respond. No pressure involved and they do it! I am very excited about the possibilities. 

Another feature I like is that with my music classes, the students belong to a more vast music student network belonging to the school. For my individual classes, however, there are subgroups within the network that I can allow for more specific discussions and posts. 

With all of this, I also am aware of the security issues when dealing with students and online behaviour. This is why I have set up my Ning.com sites to only allow new members based on invitations and my sole approval. Without my approval, NOBODY can become a member of the group. Without membership into the group, people can not see inside the network. 

Check it out and see for yourself. Ning.com

Did I forget to mention that it is free?