Who knew that there was a tool out there that would let you create your own social networking website? I certainly didn't. What a great idea. Definitely one of those ideas, yet again, that I wish I had thought of first! For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, Ning is a website that allows members to build there own social networking websites.
Once again I am blown away by yet another tool designed to connect people. I think that these Web 2.0 tools are really valuable for educators since most spend their day in four walls (with no windows) with a group of twenty two (or so) students. One of the greatest features of professional development is the opportunity to interact with other educators. Social Networking websites provide a way to interact and stay connected with the outside world from inside the four walls of your classroom.
Besides providing great professional interactions, Ning could also be used with students. The teacher could create a Ning for the class to use throughout the year. Students can then bring the social networking tools that they are so comfortable with in their personal life to a website with academic aims. Nings could be created for each classroom and also the school library, allowing students and teachers to connect in a dynamic forum.
Most of all, Ning is a great example of meeting students where they are at and integrating technology tools that they love into the learning experience.