When Classroom 2.0 started, there was a big question about whether social networking would even be an appropriate tool for an educational network. I believe that was quickly answered, and for many of us, CR 2.0 became a place of some amazing and engaging dialog.

The original purpose of the site was to provide an easy, user-friendly entry-point into using Web 2.0 for those who didn't have much (or any) experience with the collaborative web. I still think the site does that, but now that it's grown to almost 3400 members, I get the feeling that some of the sense of being a "community" that originally developed is harder to experience. And maybe that's OK, as lots of you have taken Ning and built your own communities that are more specific to your particular needs.

But I'd also like to tap into some of the "old guard" and find out if there are things you think I could be doing to improve/grow/facilitate what takes place here. When you take the time to participate, you make a huge difference and are appreciated.

(I also have to say that I really think it's time for some kind of a Classroom 2.0 get-together, virtual or physical. I'll be announcing EduBloggerCon 2008 soon, to take place in association with NECC, and this year we're also going to have EduBlogerCon West in March as part of the CUE.org show in Palm Springs. I'm hoping a lot of our CR 2.0 friends will come. But I keep wondering if there is enough critical mass to do a Web 2.0 in Education conference by itself... It wouldn't have to be huge, but I think it would be an amazing event.)

So, old and new guard, where do we go from here?

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Just have the Classroom 2.0 Conference in Kansas City. We have great BBQ, Jazz, shopping, casinos...we could have a great time.
Hi Steve,

I completely agree that this has been a great success. I've really enjoyed using this space and have been very surprised with the activity in here. This is, by far, the most active Ning group that I belong to.

While meetings abroad would be impossible for me, and likely others spread throughout the world, it would be nice to have local meetings. Informal get togethers at local conferences might be the best approach.

In the next month, there are at least three conferences in Seoul that might be of interest to those in the area: KOTESL, ALAK, and KAMALL. If others are going to be at these, I would love to meet up.

I started a new thread here (http://classroom20.ning.com/forum/topic/show?id=649749%3ATopic%3A58942) for anyone who is interested in meeting.

Dan
Hi Steve,
I guess I'm "old guard" here, which means what, like more than 6 months? ;-)

Every party needs a host, and you filled that role admirably since day one. But I think it's gotten too big for one person. I'm not blaming you, or saying you bailed, because you've been awesome! And it felt self-sustaining for a while. But I don't think that's really true, this is a place where people have to be welcomed in with care, and treated the same way that we were all treated even when there were only 200 people here. And it's too much work for one person to maintain that role.

But what if there were some designated hitters? Like a sub-committee of people who would make sure that every introduction post got a response, every time someone asked a question it got answered, etc. I think a role like that (not in charge, but helping) would appeal to people here.

What does everyone think?
I have had the same thought! We could even have the role filled by folks for a period of time, and have a little box on the front of the network: "Your CR 2.0 Guides This Month" with their pictures and links to their profiles.

I'm interested to see if anyone else responds to this idea...

Good luck on your red-eye tonight!
I know I'm a little behind in this discussion, but when I logged on today and saw the CR2.0 Hosts, I thought "what a great idea!" Other networks may do this behind the scenes, asking certain people to share in the management of the network, but to do it publicaly seems to make it less "creepy;" some may think that a person responding so quickly to a post, or to several posts, may be a bit nosey! To have people posted on the main page is a nice gesture to their committment and energy toward the network.
Well, as a relative newcomer, I've enjoyed, first of all getting some smarts on this technology. I've just created a ning for our own staff as we pursue an in-house discussion of digital learning and its implications and consequences for us (any helpful information will be gratefully used).
I used up a fair bit of Steve's time on my first few days here, but I haven't felt bereft of his guiding hand subsequently. As to the idea of an f2f bash - good-o for you folks in the US of A (and the Americas in general.) However, I for one would feel somewhat disenfranchised as an Australian with finite funds - unless there was on-line presence possible.

The other point to make here is the one of genuine finitude. In a community, there are only so many relationships you can have at a certain depth - and you can't keep adding, expecting the same intimacy. As in the physical world, you have to choose which relationships to keep deep or deepen, and which can't be maintained. To have carers for subsets may be nice, but isn't that spoon-feeding us who should be able to maintain the links of value ourselves.

There are boundaries - remember the Something's not quite right discussion. You and I cannot be connected everywhere to everyone - and neither can our students. We need to be responsible citizens in cyberspace, and educate our students likewise. (This may be a fruitful new discussion - How big can a family grow?) Or do we technologise these relationships and send a bot through the blogs to filter our feeds and wake us up when a 'significant other' has posted?
I'm really appreciating this thought thread. I have taken some refuge in the idea that much of the relationship building in CR 2.0 has a life of its own, and that to try and "manage" the future of the network based on any current concerns might limit the ability of the site to morph in unexpected ways. Smaller communities are likely needed to really grow relationships, and it would be unrealistic to try and have CR 2.0 fill every need.

So I keep coming back to the core value I wanted CR 2.0 to provide: an ability for educators to quickly and easily step into the engaged dialog of Web 2.0 and to discover for themselves how valuable and productive it can be for their own learning. To try and keep CR 2.0 as the center of everyone's world after that would seem self-serving and unrealistic--and out of harmony with the whole Web 2.0 thing... However, I do appreciate that the history of thoughtful conversation that has taken place here allows it to be a potential touchstone for those of us who want to talk at this deeper level.
You said "...an ability for educators to quickly and easily step into the engaged dialog of Web 2.0". I think Classroom 2.0 does this. At first I wanted to go back 3 months and see every response to every forum. Once ning gave me the ability to follow certain discussion I just check back to those. If I have extra time, I check the older posts for activity and will glance daily for new posts. I think it is up to the user to get involved at their level of interest.

It's like a monthy neighborhood get together. Everybody comes the first few months. As people talk to their neighbors they find they have things in common with some and look forward to speaking to them again. Some people find they have nothing to say; they don't come back to the next gathering; some neighbors are very interesting and people go back to the gathering to hear him/her speak. Some just come for the food. Some just come for the beer.
Hi Steve and Everyone,

CR2.0 is invaluable as a network for professional development, for learning new tools, for sharing philosophy and questions with educators all over the world.

I do wonder about the questions you are asking here, especially the part about how CR2.0 can maintain a "community atmosphere," as it grows larger and larger. The main thing I notice is how quickly forums cycle through and are gone (unless actively searched for). It's beneficial to have some time to think about some of the postings and make a reply in the next day or so. So what you (Steve) said, "I do appreciate that the history of thoughtful conversation that has taken place here allows it to be a potential touchstone for those of us who want to talk at this deeper level"--well, how can we promote that that remains a key feature of this site? (And how many participants value this part of the site?)

One thing I'd like to see is that the main forums can be scrolled back through even if you don't know the categories they were posted under. I wish we could easily scroll back through the last 30 or so most recently-posted forums. (Then they'd be in archives based on categories and tags.)

I like the intent of Sylvia's message, that people are acknowledged and welcomed, but I'd add that maybe not every question needs an answer, just as every post doesn't need a response. (And if we add yet more "traffic" through sets of proscribed rules, we might be exacerbating a numbers issue.)

Surely this is what all successful networks go through, as part of their evolution. Has anyone found examples of how other social networks have managed this phase and preserved a sense of integrity and community? It may be that subgroupings or sections can be developed that become more like "mini-societies." Is this happening now, would you say? What would motivate a person to post something in the main forum rather than in a subgroup? What subgroups are missing that could slow the rapid turnover of forums; how would they be "themed" in new ways? Or am I not even thinking along the right lines with the subgrouping idea?

Anyhow, CR2.0 is a visionary, supportive, innovative, congenial, collaborative, exploratory, experimental, philosophical, playful, inviting, nurturing and informational network--a thousand thanks to you, Steve, and to all the participants. It's good that we're asking the questions about how we move forward while holding onto what's best about the site. Maybe we do need to discuss what's best about the site. Are there different "strands" or pathways, that should be laid out? Are the pathways "groups"? What are the aspects of "community" that we value?

What have people found out about growth of networks in general? Any lessons for us?
I agree with Connie, could there be a side bar that list the last 30 forums by title only? I have noticed that if a forum gets buried way down in the heap--some one will repost a similar topic and the discussion will refire. If someone does find and comment on an "old" forum, then that forum resurfaces to the top of the pile under "Forums". It all works for me.
Connie and Nancy:

I love hearing from both of you.

I hope that the tag list on the right side of every page helps to keeps post more accessible. I really developed it based on the same concern about valuable content that just gets buried and hidden. But I've also asked Gina (hurrah for Gina!) about having the forum page do exactly what you described--default to a list of forum posts in reverse chronological order. As I recall, she liked the idea and was going to put it into their development hopper.

As much as I love Ning, I've never loved the groups function. I feel like good conversations go on in groups that are hard to track and may never be seen, and I wish that just the administrator could set up groups. As it is now, you either have groups turned on or off--and I've chosen on because I can see some real value for a school, or a smaller community, having their own space. But that also means that all kinds of 1- to 2-person groups get formed and I'm afraid the "clutter" makes it hard to feel that there is anything good there.

You can subscribe to the activity feed, and then look at it in your reader/aggregator. I find that most effective for me is the trick to subscribe to all forum posts--new or comments--and then look through them in my reader. I've posted that trick here: http://classroom20.ning.com/profiles/blog/show?id=649749%3ABlogPost....

I felt like I had a good model in my head for what CR 2.0 would be when we were smaller. Now I wonder what that model might look like if we had 5 or 10 thousand members. Of course, only some small number will be active. Does CR 2.0 become a starting place to learning, and then a portal to other sites? Can you continue to have great discussions with that many people? I will say it again, though--even with our numbers, I still find some of the conversations here the most intelligent, thought-provoking, insightful ones that I see anywhere. Many thanks to you and others for that.
Unlike a personal blog, I jump in and out of conversations here based on topic not who is involved in the conversation. Some of the blogs I read seem to attract commentors who just want to joust with each other; kinda like bull goats!

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