I just recently trained a core group of our staff on how to setup and configure a Ning. Ning is currently an open site at our high school, but Facebook and MySpace are blocked. What have your experiences been around students creating their own Nings and using them in a "not-so-nice" way. How do you or have you policed instances like this?

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Hi, Neil!

So, are you asking not about the student use of the Ning networks you have created, but about them creating their own Ning networks separate from schoolwork?

If so, I'm guessing you've had some specific experiences, and I'm curious as to what they are and how they relate specifically to Ning (knowing that I do consulting work for Ning and so my interest is in helping as much as I can). And is their use of Ning networks outside of school-related work different than their other non-school Web activity?

I'm also wondering: Does the medium somehow promote "not so nice?" Is "not so nice" just more visible for some reason--are students linking to their personal networks from the school network? Is there possibly a valuable training opportunity here?

This might also be a good discussion at http://education.ning.com/.

Take care,

Steve
And is that any different than their ability to do so on MySpace or other sites? I guess I'm wondering if this isn't already something that is possible in the many social networks and Web 2.0 sites that students have available to them outside of school, and if it's possible to see this in another light: that one of the benefits of your use of good social networking practice in education is an opportunity to be training them in their decision-making about what they create or post.
I think he is saying that MySpace, etc are blocked at school but Ning is open. I think his question is " What about kids creating and accessing social "non-educational" ning sites during the school hours?"

I agree about the teaching benefits, but there is a con also. 90% of students will follow the guidelines on posting appropriate items but you will have a few that abuse it.
Good clarification. Depending on the filtering, I guess, you could just allow access to the specific networks that are allowed. (You also have to open to http//api.ning.com for images, as I recall.)__I'll be interested to hear from educators who are actually using Ning in the classroom to get feedback on acceptable use guidelines and enforcement.

What I meant to communicate was a more general ability to teach about the use of the user-contributed Web when using social networking in education. I think there are some compelling pedagogical reasons for using appropriate social networking tools themselves, *and* I also think that since 80%+ of older students are doing social networking outside of schools, we should be seeking for ways to discuss appropriate use--otherwise they are learning behaviors based on the norms of particular networks, rather than the norms of caring adults. :)

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