Saturday, March 28, 2009

Ninging it

With the popularity of Nings increasing, I've been giving some thought on how we can leverage them within our courses at our respective schools. I belong to several Nings that are extensions of my PLN and they have proven to be valuable resources time and again. But what makes them so valuable as a resource is the broader network of individuals that participate in the various nings.

The ISENET ning for example, was developed by @demetri has become a tremendous resource for educators around the world. Although I tend to stay in groups related to technology, there is a group for just about any facet in education. This ning is 1800+ members strong.

So how do we leverage the collective wisdom of educators around the world? I believe teachers need to open up their nings to other teachers and resident experts in the fields being explored within their ning. The ning is a powerful tool but if used solely for the class of students being taught, then the classroom walls have moved only slightly. A concept I have learned over and over again in the International Cohort for PLP Ning.

A few weeks ago, Debra Garcia at Fredericksburg Academy asked if I wouldn't mind joining FAT BIO(Topics in Biology at Fredericksburg Academy). I accepted the offer and was thrilled at the opportunity to read and participate in topics related to Biology.

You see, before I moved into the world of educational technology I was a MS science teacher but my degree is in Biology from the College of William and Mary. Although I have a new found passion for educational technology, I will always be a science guy first-look out Bill Nye.

The ning is indeed a wonderful opportunity to share but I say let's move beyond our classrooms a little more and ask a colleague from another school, university, or profession to share their experiences with your students.

I hope school's of education consider this model because there are lots of grad students who could certainly benefit from this type of experience.


J. Clark Evans said...

Great point, Hiram. I had a similar experience when one of Dean Shareski's students joined my class blogs and left students comments and reactions. But, at least one student thought that it was really me incognito :)

Anonymous said...

I agree with you, Hiram. Opening up to collaboration is the way to go. I've just started a ning and need help to build it, and then I'd like to open it up, get some collaboration happening.