I wrote this summer about my plans to use a Ning network in my digital photo class. I created the network, making it private and disabling the ability of members to invite other members. No photo would be posted until I approved it. However, our tech department could not approve it because of the inappropriate networks within Ning. They said that my network was secure enough but there is no way to keep the students away from the inappropriate content in some of the other networks. I understand completely. I wish there was a site that was dedicated to only educational networks. I am really disappointed. I considered inviting the students to participate from home. The only problem is that I have at least two students with no computer access at home. I haven't deleted the network yet. I am still considering my options.

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Comment by Hans Feldmeier on August 23, 2007 at 5:21am
Hi Melisa, I´m sorry about what happened.
Pesonally I´m working on fronter.com (but it pay from Norway) - or Moodle or http://www.lo-net2.de
The European Commission - I´m working for- recommended my to try out
Feel free to check it out!
Comment by Nancy Bosch on August 23, 2007 at 8:24pm
I feel your pain! I've been lucky so far to be able to do what I want, with only one minor exception. After the district blocked flickr, I wrote to the tech committee (adminstrators) to plead my case. They turned me down (even though I pointed out that students could access images on a dozen sites just like flickr that wasn't blocked--at least I tried.

If you feel up to it, you could research the whole social netwroking thing and go "to the top"! or you could find a different way to do the same thing.

My last suggestion is to have the 2 students without computers submit the work to you and you put it online, or give them time at school. I hestitate to do something outside of school for a school class which may get you in trouble.
Comment by Steve Hargadon on August 24, 2007 at 3:58pm

I posted some notes on this at http://education.ning.com/forum/topic/show?id=1027485%3ATopic%3A138. Are you able to access www.classroom20.com from the school network? Because I bought a domain name, and then applied it to the Ning site, I'm wondering it it gets filtered in the same way...
Comment by samccoy on October 8, 2007 at 2:42am
Melissa, I wish they could hear their illogical logic for not letting you use .ning. What? Are they thinking that kids can't go to other sites that are not appropriate even though they think they have blocked them? Oh well! I am empathetic to your cause.

This may be too late, but have you ever considered TappedIN? http://www.tappedin.org

You might want to consider a wiki. There is a wiki professional development class each month at TappedIN with Michael Misovec of helpingstudents.org. He is also a member of Classroom2.0, co you could contact him.
Wikispaces at http://www.wikispaces.com is another very powerful wikispace that is well accepted by schools.


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