I am on the same page as you. I created a test site through ning and love it. I really want to move forward with it. I emailed them asking them to call me personally and have not heard back. If your district is seriously considering the use of ning my email is email@example.com and I am curious to here where you guys are at.
Hi Fred, We have a couple of teachers using Ning, but our Director of Technology is considering blocking the site. There is some concern that once in Ning, the students will be able to access some content that is inappropriate. I think there could be benefit to using the site, but am trying to determine the risk to students.
I have started using one this term. I am moving slowly with it and have been asking a couple of other teacher to try to "break into" the site. So far so good. Im a search I have discovered several other that like mine require permission to join.
Really wanted to use a Ning with My 7th grade Media Class, but realized you have to be 13. I contacted Ning about this and they were not budging. Some of my students told me they lied about their age to join (have not approved their registration), but I am holding off using it this year and trying to decide what else I can use that is similar. Any suggestions?
Melissa, I've said this in dozens of other discussions but I think ning is scary for middle schools anyway. There are too many nooks and crannies--inviting friends, messaging, blogs, uploading copyrighted material etc. You would have to be ever vigilant to watch out for untoward messages, uploads or comments. Kids that age just don't think sometimes and one bad situation could blow up in your face!! I know there have been options mentioned in other discussions, what is it you actually want to do? Does your district have Moodle? That might work.
I used Think.com for 5 years (wanted email and safe environment) and was never thrilled with it. It is too locked down for me---only get emails from other think people for instance. The kids loved the rinky dink homepages but there was a lot of d/l of copyrighted material and silly messaging. What exactly do you want to do? I (or others) might be able to suggest a solution.
You can see what we've done here and see if that fits any of your needs. I teach gifted kids k-6 and have tried and used many of the new technologies.