Ning: More than Facebook

[Editor’s Note: This article was written by the CTL’s Jessica Lofton.]

One of the more interesting tools that have grown out of Web 2.0 is social networking.  Social networking is more than just Facebook and is a great way to enhance instruction in either an online or traditional classroom.

As I was presenting on how to use social networking to enhance instruction, at the 2010 NCTIES Conference, many of the participants asked such questions as:  How do I get started with social networking?  What about privacy concerns?  What if I already have a wiki or blog, how can I add it to a social networking website?  If I am not allowed to use Facebook at work, what are other social networking websites that I can use?

To help answer these questions, I created a special Ning about social networking, as an example of how instructors can utilize social networking to foster the “3 C’s (collaboration, cooperation, and communication)” in the classroom.

Here are few tips to get you started with social networking:

  1. Choose a platform that meets your needs
  2. Make your content relevant to the subjects or grade levels that you instruct
  3. Always ensure that your content is updated
  4. Create fun activities that draw your students to your social networking website
  5. Utilize the social networking site as your main classroom’s portal
  6. Familiarize yourself with the site in order to help students with any questions or comments they may have
  7. Do not use too many website widgets or add-ons
  8. Consider privacy rules and regulations when designing your social networking website
  9. Consider copyright restrictions when posting content
  10. Know your audience

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