This might be of interest to teachers blocked from using Ning because of the COPPA age restrictions. is an open source social network with unlimited everything (including video), no ads or branding, domain masking, and its totally free.

Wilkes IM Grad Assistant

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Does anyone have any experience using with students? I have been exploring this as a possibility since Ning does not allow students under 13. I work with 7th & 8th graders, so most of our 7th graders are not yet 13. I have done quite a bit of exploration & everything seems highly customizable, although the site seems a little "buggy" in general.

I would love to hear from anyone who has used with students.
Sorry, Trisha, I haven't used it myself, but here are a few links that might be useful:

#1 is their Twitter Feed; #2 is a teacher's how to videos; #3 has an email reply offering contact information and help for education groups from the founder. Good luck.
Isn't it still against COPA law? Can people using it get in trouble under that law? I think so, no?
My understanding is that because it's completely open source, there should be no trouble with COPPA limitations. has a terms of service that states: You agree not to knowingly collect any information from, or develop any Networks that are targeted at, children under the age of 13. (
Ah, yes. That is what I thought. So, the question is how do we teach into this for the under-13 crowd???
COPA has to do with online safety whether open source or not. Ning is free to educators which is technically open source. I think it's worth investigating.
That looks like an awesome tool in terms of features. I just started my own Group. I would also be curious on how it is used for educational purposes.



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