Today we surpassed 1,000 members on our Classroom 2.0 social network. Very, very cool. Congratulations, everyone.

Here are two challenges that I think we face:

1. How do we keep a large network both inviting and helpful to someone just learning about the technology, and yet still responsive and interesting to those who are more actively engaged?

2. How do we record the success stories and best practices that are occurring in a way that they are easy to find? (I created the Classroom 2.0 wiki for this purpose, but I'm not sure it's working as I had hoped. Should it be changed, revamped, or scrapped?)

Your contributions to this dialog will be greatly appreciated...

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Hi Steve,

Yes, indeed, a milestone. I've been watching the numbers, and also trying to see if there are patterns in increase. I would still love to see stats on the site; don't know if they're available or whether you want to share them. (Who's on the site by professional category, what percentage are contributors, what are patterns of participation, what is the average daily increase in membership, what is the stability/variability of rate of increase, etc.) Numbers would be fun, just to think about. I think they could inform us.

Your question number one: I don't think there's any problem here. Things seem to be working out nicely. Advanced technos hop on with advanced techno questions; the rest of us can watch in fascination and learn a few things. New people (new to the network or new to the Web 2.0 stuff) hop on and ask anything that comes to mind--and that keeps everyone fresh. We should all have to think back to the beginning on a regular basis, and explain ourselves. Some of the questions that are most "simple" are also the most profound (very Zen, huh?) such as "Why do you teach?" or the one about Rocks and Flowers. We are a social network, and philosophizing together is an important exercise. I see no problem. Things are working.

Your number two: I wonder that, too. When I got back a number of tremendously helpful responses to my question about making movies with clay critters, I had to build a bookmarks file on just that. In fact, I have kept such a file of bookmarks from recommendations from CL2.0 that that file now is larger than my regular bookmarks list. I'd love to see everyone's file of bookmarks; does the Wiki enable us to superimpose and integrate "del.icio.us-type" referencing? (I'm guilty of not having used or learned the CL2.0 Wiki, but plan to this summer. Please don't scrap this; learning to share through Wikis will help us to develop the skills we need.) But maybe there's an additional way to keep track of success stories and best practices. Surely someone out there on the network will have some more organizational ideas for resource sharing--I think it's something we must do and can do. Suggestions, everyone?

Joining forces and resources, sharing ideas, encouragement, and questions--Classroom 2.0 is a SUPERB setup for all of this.

By the way, you are doing a good thing with the Secretary Spellings forums. That was a brilliant move.
There are not really any stats other than the number of users. This is something I am sure is on Ning's radar for future development. I can tell you that I think we get a lot of signups from educators who have little prior Web 2.0 experience, but I don't think most of them have participated yet. (This is also a hard time of year to expect much.) I also think that it's a fairly small minority of members who are actively posting, but I have no idea how many are reading and waiting to feel more comfortable, or just reading because they'd rather read.

I have to say, I love the social network concept, and really like having this forum for discussing "Classroom 2.0."
I agree, and I am hopeful Ning will add that to their features. They seem to be working very hard and very fast on many fronts. You could start a forum post asking for those in the UK to join a group you create.
Steve, a small suggestion here. I found it helpful on many sites/blogs when a sidebar has a "favorite posts" set of links. I think you've done a fine job of having categories on the forum page, but think a most popular resources/posts link set on a sidebar on that page would be helpful. It could include links to the classroom2-0 wiki, too.

I think some posts with lots of helpful replies (like what 2.0 tools are you currently using) belong on the sidebar and on the 20wiki--I keep heading back to some posts when I finally get ready to approach a subject. Like, podcasting, or screencasting...You encouraged me to post a lesson plan for my social bookmarking usage, and I think that motivated me to write it up and get it on the wiki--so, maybe, you just need to keep encouraging us to use this site to its max!

Ahh, no rest for the organizer!

pax,
Book
I am constrained a bit by the Ning setup, which has limited flexibility. I do like the idea of somehow gathering forum posts that are most helpful and popular... but you are right, getting that material to the wiki would be best, although best isn't always the right answer, if you know what I mean.

I can put links in the area where the K12Computers ad is, and so we could amass a collection there, but other than that the only place to put them is somewhere on the front page. Who would pick the threads to show? You can organize the forum threads by popularity instead of most recent, but then people don't get to see what's just gone up.

Let's keep noodling this one!
Hey--less than one week later, 79 new members. Increase of about 8% in a week. Waves of new people... Echoes of American immigration at the turn of last century, with attendant issues of organization and taking care of the masses. Also, echoes of idealism and expansive hopefulness:

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free...
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
(“The New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus, poem on the Statue of Liberty)

Well, certainly we're tired, and yearning to breathe free!
By the way, I'm not saying this is an American network--it's much more worldly; just saying that it's a group undergoing rapid change through inward flux of participants.

So, Steve, you are asking really important questions. The manner in which ideas are presented and the methods that are allowed for idea exchange are crucial variables. Sue R.'s suggestions for formatting of the front page are helpful, and I believe Skip has some ideas, too. It'd be good to see additional suggestions from more people, about what they find really valuable about the site, and what "navagational systems" would help.

"Lift the lamp;" keep going! This is breaking new ground for educators being able to share. Participants on Classroom 2.0 can illuminate the way for each other. Thanks again, Steve, and many times over, for starting the network!
I was thinking some more about the numbers. With an 8% increase per week, the population of CR2.0 will about double in 9 weeks; at the end of 18 weeks there could be about 4000 people. In one year, about 55,000. These numbers are fuzzy, and based upon only one week's rate, but it has to make us think! This last week might have been artificially inflated because I invited people who are taking Harvard's Project Zero class this summer to join us, but class-groups or batches of people could be joining anytime.

You can run a check on the fuzzy math here, but no matter what, projecting forward from recent levels of increase shows that we will be in a remarkably new land in short order.

To me, this points out the need for creation and joining of groups, to keep up a sense of communities. It also points to the need for planning and experimentation with the "doorway" page.

Holding onto the integrity of the network and the personable feel of the place will offer a multitude of challenges. Let's keep "thinking aloud" with Steve about possible designs that nurture the sharing of resources and ideas, and keep CR2.0 welcoming, warm, and conducive to thought.
I agree that we need some reminder/encouragement to post to the wiki. I, for one, don't feel comfortable posting to the wiki yet, as I'm afraid I'll not have a lot of useful pieces to add. But I guess if I've thought anything here was useful (posted by me or not), it may need to go there.

Of course Steve can't do the suggesting on his own--we all need to encourage one another and spread the burden to the network, as is intended.

Thanks for making me think about this. I'm not sure I've even visited the CR2.0 Wiki.
Not wholly sure Steve, perhaps a good spring clean every now and again.
The groups certainly help. What about asking NING for a vertical ticker tape. Rolling new posts for example? Simplicity.
I have seen mentors / students signup pages. Where people wishing to share their strengths with those wishing to learn? Maybe a page on the wiki?
Fist off, Steve, I want to thank you for putting this together and bringing us together. I just replied in another post about how amazing, collaborative, and supportive this network is. There's so much good here.

Question 1: I feel that this network is very inviting, even as it grows. I invite educators, who I think will be benefit to, as well as from, the network. They've felt comfortable here and become part of the community.

I have mixed feelings about the groups feature within Classroom2.0. I know that I'm missing things that are posted in the group forums. I don't feel like I can follow them all (even though I want to and I know all it would take is setting up a few more RSS feeds). For new members especially, they may not go any deeper than the front page form, and they may be missing out too. Groups may be the solution to the growing size of the community though.

Question 2: (Okay, don't laugh) Groups may be the answer to this. There could be a Success Stories group and the forum could be used to post those stories and discussions. Sorry, it came to me as I was writing the last little bit for Question 1. :) How's that for mixed feeling about the group feature.

I love the Classroom 2.0 wiki. I've spent countless hours at the manifesto. I will spend countless more.

Again, thanks for all that you do, Steve.
Wow. Thanks for your kind words, Skip. :) It's nice to read this in these days of uncertainty waiting for the new job to start. It's going to be great adventure and I'm really looking forward to it.

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