You love it or loathe it.
I’ve recently read several posts singing the praises of Ning. I’ve had an account on it for quite some time & I’ve yet to learn to love it in the way that some do.
It does have some very good points – quite a lot in fact:
- It’s very easy to set up.
- It’s free (or commercial, if you choose) – though those teaching 13-18 year olds can have an ad-free version for free.
- It’s possible to have a very private network – which can give educators the privacy they need – especially for that 13-18 age group.
- It can be customisable – so different Nings can look different.
- Within a Ning, it’s possible to have forums, individual blogs etc.
So, why don’t I like it?
Well, it’s really the fact that it creates separate Nings. So, I can join several Nings, and people in one need never know I’m in another. But, *I* know, and I’d really quite like to have an easy way to see an overview of my life in all my social networks.
From an educational point of view – especially at Higher Education, all too often the structure of both the modularised curriculum, and then the VLE on top of that, encourages siloisation of learning. If we then create a Ning to support each subject – we’ll then have further siloisation of learning.
Other SNSs – such as Facebook & Elgg, make it possible for the user to see their overall activity in all their communities – but to customise (particularly in Elgg) who can see what.
My other bug bear with Ning, is that even with the communities hosted on Ning, I have to login to each one. I can’t login once & see them all. OK, so I have Firefox set to remember passwords, so it’s just a case of clicking, but I still have to do it!
So, I’m afraid that, despite several attempts to get over it & indeed, membership of several Nings (not visited that often) I just can’t see myself ever getting into the Love it camp.
Maybe, were I teaching younger students, then I might see a use; especially at class level (rather than subject level), but for me, and for what I’m teaching, it just doens’t do anything.