I'm interested in feedback on the new "groups" feature in Ning that I've added to Classroom 2.0. At first I wasn't sure of how helpful it would be, but I've got some examples of additional groups that I think it would make sense to start for more targeted discussions of Web 2.0 in the classroom:

Administrators
Foreign Language Teachers
English Teachers
Science Teachers
History Teachers
PE Teachers (yes!)
Math Teachers
Technology Teachers

Now, I don't want to start them, because the person who starts them becomes the administrator of that group--and that shouldn't/doesn't need to be me!

Thoughts?

Tags: groups

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Our PE teacher was just asking me whether his input would be of any relevance on Classroom 2.0, and I answered emphatically, yes! (He's having a team of kids in my class make an iMovie of his demonstrations of exercises, combining that with music, movement, and discussion of life-style changes for building up strength.) Now you've provided a launch pad. I hope people jump on this.
Thanks for putting out this idea. Now we can recruit teachers for Classroom 2.0 who would like tailored learning communities, based on what they wish to share and need to find out. Awesome!
Hi Steve
I wonder if having groups will splinter the community into such small sections (is this the so-called Long Tail of marketing now taking place -- where small is good) that we lose track of the larger sense of community. I can see how easily it will be for me, for example, to only focus in on the elementary group in the limited time that I can spend here. Is this a fear of yours, too? I think you have crafted something special here and I would hate to see things move into little corners of the "room" where we lose the connections between people of different backgrounds, experience and grade levels, too.

Just a thought.
Kevin
Hello Steve,
I checked Ning Blog and could note, that there are some changes ... more and more. Great!
As to groups, it was necessary. Because, I wanted to start a new Ning network like Classroom 2.0 - but it´s all about using Web 2.0
Thus I started a group only.
I´m responsable for German teachers regarding Comenius and eTwinning, all about School-development and it rocks!
Keep in touch.
Hans
Hi Kevin and Steve,
So maybe we should stay attuned to the whole; that should be part of our mission. Let's say the elementary group has a discussion going that has rather broad implications, or is exemplary of some sort of main issue that they're grappling with. They should post part of the discussion on the main forum. Then the threads would reconnect. (?) (am I thinking right?)
Visual analogy: a large weaving composed of sections that tell particular stories or work with particular symbols. The integrity of the whole depends upon each part.
Let's nurture this as we go along. Thanks for bringing it up, Kevin. It seems very important to keep your concern in mind, and watch over this.
Kevin:

Good thought. I wondered the same thing. At the same time, I was concerned that the group was growing so large that it would feel hard to stay connected. And I also felt that there were some constituency groups that would really, really benefit from groups.

Most significantly, I saw Classroom 2.0 folks starting other Ning networks to get this kind of specialization, and I thought that their move to those new networks would take away some important contributors who would interact with the new folks coming in here. Better, from my perspective, to keep them here by letting them create a group...

I had hoped that Ning would let only me set up the groups, because that way we could introduce them slowly and help make sure they didn't become overwhelming. Maybe that was wishing for too much control. I didn't have that option--if you set up groups, anyone can create one. So I just turned the feature on... :)

Always an adventure!
Hi Steve,
I don't think you should relinquish your role as creator and original leader in the network. If you were to introduce things slowly, how would you go?
Please send out thoughts; share your vision.
It's a bit spooky, and a lot exciting. What are we generating? I just read Everything is Miscellaneous Fractals have their beauty--but I'm much more of a control freak than I'd ever admit!
Please do share your visions and perspective.
I just started a group for teachers who work with students with learning deficits. It is called The Inclusion Revolution - Technology in Special Education. As a special education teacher, I'm always looking for ways to differentiate instruction for my classified students and web 2.0 applications are HUGE motivators.

http://classroom20.ning.com/group/technologyinspecialeducation
I would be interested in starting a group for Visual Arts teachers who use technology and web 2.0 tools, however I would also like to be able to offer resources and links, and I don't see any way to do that. Are groups just for discussions?

Compare this to:
yahoo groups - there is a resource section to upload lessons
tapped in - members get their own pages where they can upload files and keep links

I would prefer to keep everything together rather than point to another site, eg. my web-page .
I agree that the initial page could have more flexibility. You are able to use that initial text box, though, to put in some material and you could put the links there. You (and anyone you designate as an additional administrator) will see and edit button on the top middle text box.
I have high hopes for the Elementary School 2.0 group. Teachers of younger kids have different issues to deal with to make technology work with their students. I've tried asking in the forum for elementary teachers in the larger group, but there was no way for us to meet. At this point, I think there are about 15 members who are pretty excited about this new format. Thanks!

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