Thursday, July 29, 2010

Ning news

Just a flash announcement in cased you missed it, as I did, a month ago.  Have you wanted to set up a Ning for your students?  There are huge advantages to the Ning environment - blogs, forum, safe practice with a "profile" environment, file uploading/sharing, RSS feeds for teachers, centralization.  I set one up last spring for my students.

Then I learned that the free world of Ning was soon going to be a rather expensive world (see pricing plans).  The expense is magnified when (like most districts) there are no corporate cards available - I have to pay for my own classroom accounts (VoiceThread, edublogs, others that I select during the year).  Today I learned that I have to set up a Ning account by August 20 or lose LA-LA Ning.

The Mini Ning account looks just great to me - it has the features I need, blocks the extras, and is not that expensive.  I was a step away from the upgrade.

Then I learned that Pearson ("the world's leading education company") will sponsor classroom Ning accounts for 3 consecutive years.  Read about it here.  I have requested this account to support the Ning I created but did not use because of pending fees.  I think there might be some strings - I don't use Pearson products (that I know of) and don't really want to be contacted, but it looks like the contacting might happen.  Given the limited public viewing of student blogs, and the plethora of branded material on most web pages, a small Pearson's logo does not seem like much of a muchness.

But I did bite, or at least nibble. On the Pearson site I found the Grammar Prep apps for the iPhone, iTouch, etc.  I don't need them, but I know a few teachers who do.

The trade-off is a safe, administered 21st Century environment for journaling, collaboration, creative expression, and publication - hope this works out.

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