Social networking is a means of communicating and sharing information between two or more individuals using an online community. There are as many types of educational social networks online as there are interests and subject areas. The main goal of getting involved in a social network is to connect with others who share your same interest, learn from each other by participating in the community, and share what you are learning or creating.
HOW TO USE IT TO BUILD YOUR PLN:
- Join a Ning. Anyone who has a passion and interest can create a Ning site – but it takes a community to build it and maintain it. Choose one or several Nings to join but be an active community member. Create a profile so other educators can learn something about you. Get involved in the discussion forums. Ask questions, answer other people’s questions, share links, share real classroom projects, and use the Ning to find out about resources.
- Classroom 2.0 –http://www.classroom20.com – one of the largest educational Nings. Classroom 2.0 is great for beginners because there is a lot of activity on the Ning and you feel part of the community right away.
- The Educator’s PLN – http://edupln.ning.com/ – This Ning is for active learners who want to connect and learn. The educators here sponsor #edchat on Twitter every Tuesday. They also host webinars and interviews.
- Specialized Nings like: The Global Education Collaborative, Art Education 2.0, English Companion Ning, and those created for conference participants like K12 Online Conference, CUE and ISTE.
- LearnCentral – http://www.learncentral.org – A free social network started by Elluminate, specializing in educators connecting, sharing content, and being able to engage in live online meetings.
- Facebook – http://www.facebook.com – if you already connect with others on Facebook, consider friending other educators and join groups to have the conversation there like: Classroom 2.0, Adobe Educational Technologies, Google Certified Teachers, and more.
- Linked In – http://www.linkedin.com – connects you to your trusted contacts and helps you exchange knowledge, ideas, and opportunities with a broader network of professionals. Linked In is more professional than social.
- Can have more in-depth conversations than Twitter
- Feels more personal and easier to get to know members of your network
- Can create subgroups, share event calendars, and view profiles of members.
- Allows embedding of images, videos and gadgets.
- Easy to join too many networks and get spread too thin.
- Need to find system (RSS) to manage conversations
- Some networks are very active that results in too much information overload
Educational Networking – A listing of social networks used in educational environments or for educational purposes http://www.educationalnetworking.com/List+of+Networks
Education Ning Networks list by Angela Cunningham