Using Ning In The Classroom To Create A Learning Community

Students in my senior Spanish class signed up for Ning last week as part of a class project on international business.  Our Ning essentially works like a closed Facebook.  Students create a profile that they customize to their liking.  They can arrange colors, add pictures/videos and post their thoughts.  For now, my Ning is a closed environment that only people I invite in can join.  Our classroom Ning has allowed my students to collaborate with eachother outside of the physical classroom.

During our business unit, the Ning has allowed my class to organize into specific departments.  These departments can easily communicate with other departments while following each others’ progress.  The Ning has also allowed me to individualize my comments to members of each department as progress is made. 

Twice a week departments document their progress through a report posted to the Ning’s blog page.  These reports allow departments to follow the work of their classmates. I am also giving students time in class to meet with members of the different departments to share ideas. As the students have shared ideas, they have come up with creative ideas to enhance their own department’s plan. 

As the departments share ideas, they share information and resources.  The students enjoy the fact that they can post images that they find that relate to our shoe business in Chile.  They enjoy the fact that when they find Youtube videos that might help a group, they can embed the video to the Ning.  Tomorrow in class I’m going to give a more formal explanation of how you embed images and videos to our Ning. Ultimately, the students will be able to embed their own videos and pictures to a Glog that they will use when presenting their business plans.

Ning’s ability to allow my students to collaborate has been an incredibly positive experience so far and I will try to share any new tricks that we find as we go about exploring it’s potential.

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