In the Classroom

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announce.jpeg Introducing...Social Networking!

Social Networking, simply stated, is a social structure that connects people.

Various ties can link people. They include but are not exclusive to the following:

  • values
  • financial exchange
  • business relations
  • ideas
  • kinship

Social Networks exist from smaller units like family to bigger units like nations! It is notable that these types of communities can help bring people together in a positive way in which may allow the sharing of valuable pieces of one another's lives. Even though social networks have existed in previous years, the participation in online social networks is taking the internet by storm. In 1979, USENET, a discussion system where users read and posted messages developed. Since that time, virtual communities have come alive in an even more monumental way. Social networks have become a way of life for many, especially for those who occupy high schools and colleges. They build relationships not previously seen and also enhance those that do exist.

340px-Social-network.svg.png to snpic2.png to snpic3.png

Although social networking is a buzz word, it doesn't necessarily mean that those who participate in the networks are very 'social'. Because the online community is so vast, not all of the "actors" are truly connected to one another. On websites like MySpace and Facebook, one may request to be a 'friend' but not actually no more about that person than what is posted on their profile.

blog.jpg"Networking! Who Needs It...I Have a T.V.!"

Formed in 1995, Classmates.com 200px-Classmates.com_Member_Homepage.jpg was one of the newer types of social networking sites that allowed users to connect with people from the past. Typically, or at least for the more popular sites, the membership is free, free, free! These sites are not beneficial for personal use only, but for businesses, organizations, and entrepreneurs.

In corporations, the social network helps build power, and control in a particular individual(s). If one is able to "schmooze" and stay abreast what is going on in the network, he or she is able to use what they know as a stepping stone. Some jobs also use various networks to determine hiring and job performance reviews. Because this type of structure lends to a wide range of information, gathering it becomes less intrusive.

Marketing executives use these forums to advertise their products, as well as network with other companies. LinkedIn is a well known site for professionals to connect.

Administrators in the medical field have jumped on the social networking bandwagon, using it to:

  • manage institutional knowledge
  • convey information (peer to peer)
  • highlight physicians and institutions

In fact, 32% of the marketing budget supported the positive influence of those social networking leaders. This is big!

The rule of 150 (Robin Dunbar) says that a social network is limited to approximately 150 members. The ability to have an effective network can only go so far. When Dunbar thought of this rule, he was not connected to the internet. For today's Millennials (Generation Y) and Digital Natives, 150 is a laughable number of connects to have in one's "circle". The internet allows us to connect to people-and it isn't constricted to time, geographical, or organizational boundaries. In some cases, one person's social network can bridge to another person's network, creating an even larger number of social involvement.

Co-founders of social networking sites Jaiku, Twitter and Dopplr discuss the benefits of online social networks.

tech_class.jpegSocial Networking Meets Classroom Student...

While many Districts say no, teachers say YES! to social networking. The reasonable conflict is the worry of students encountering negative situations while using the internet. Parents and adults have the probable cause to be concerned about children's interactions with other people on the internet. Sexual predators are a major concern. Identity theft, stalkers, and even hacking become easier because of how public the websites are. Personal information is available to whoever "looks you up". In some cases, third-party companies gather a person's information from these websites themselves or buys it. CyberBullying has also been a hot and sensitive topic when talking about these types of websites. Social networking websites can also be used by authorities at universities and within the government to gather evidence individuals.

Despite the possible negative impact of social networking online, teachers have gained so much ground in the classroom by using networking tools such as blogs, podcasts, vodcasts, and other forms of media communications. The blog alone provides many benefits:

  • interactive
  • promotes conversations between students (about particular topic)
  • promotes writing instruction
  • engaging (everyone loves the internet)
  • convenient (student can also access at home)
  • mobile-student can access blogs from any computer
  • promotes independence and responsibility
  • blogs serve as an ongoing reference
  • lends to working at your own pace (within reason)
  • can include other forms of media such as podcasts, or the use of pictures
  • can promote creativity
  • can promote collaboration
  • can promote asynchronous communication

Students tell the Top 10 Reason's to Use a Blog in the Classroom

Please listen to the podcast below to hear some very important statistics about social networking and it's usage in connect to school and students.

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The statistics point to fairly safe use of social networks, don't they?

people.jpg Let the People Speak!

Here is what some educators think about social networking online:

"The development of PLEs (personal learning environments) and ubiquitous and mobile computing means I now start my classes with '...open your blogs, refer to the class wiki...etc' rather than '..take out your books and copy from the board." Julie Lindsay, Head of Information Technology at Qatar Academy in Doha.

"Social networking sites have taken us, educators, outside of our comfort zone. Like all other new technologies, we need to explore how we can continue to educate students about how to use these sites wisely. Blocking them from our school networks and encouraging our students not to use them certainly has brought a shift to our thinking.........Teaching safety about sites that aren't accessible on our schoool resources seems counter-intuitive for teachable moments."

eyes.jpegSee What Social Networking Can Do for You!

Below is an extensive list of various social networks that can be used for educational purposes; for teacher, students, and other professionals.


(Updated list will be posted to http://education.ning.com regularly.)


  • 12SCR - the greatest tutor group in GCUS, UK - A social networking area especially for 12SCR Tutor Group at GCUS, UK.
  • Alabama Educator's Network- For teachers living in Alabama (Please join if you live in AL.)
  • Alaska 2.0 - A network for educators in Alaska to facilitate sharing and collaboration within Alaska, and the world. Everyone welcome.
  • Apprendre 2.0 - Social Network accross the world about Education 2.0 and Learning 2.0 - Most of the activities are in French on this network !
  • AsiaTeach.ning.com - Teaching and Education in Asia: Communities of Hope - Asian Educators discover and discuss common and unique challenges and experiences in Asian teaching contexts.
  • Campus FLE Education - A network for FLE (français langue étrangère)
  • Classroomn - A network to be used as an online classroom.
  • Classroom 2.0 - Web 2.0 in the Classroom
  • College 2.0 - Higher Education, Online Education and Web 2.0
  • Comenius Programme Network A network for teachers accross Europe to seek support, share ideas and experiences to help ensure successful Projects
  • Coming of Age - The Book on Web 2.0 in the Classroom
  • eCollege - This is a Network for e-Learning professionals to share their experiences and discuss the evolving world of on-line learning. We have a particular interest in ubiquitous technologies, global learning resources, web 2.0 services, social networking software and all things open source. We think this is where the future of learning lies.
  • eLatin eGreek eLearn - Helping Classics teachers (Latin and Greek) understand and incorporate technology into the classroom.
  • Edu4DRR - A social network by and for teachers who want to make a difference in disaster prevention.
  • EduBloggerWorld - International Edubloggers
  • Fielfindr A portal to connect classrooms to the world: Global citizens can share talents and skills with students.
  • Fireside Learning (ning) - "Conversations about learning. Sit by the fireside and share your thoughts." This is a network of educational leaders and do-ers, people from around the world who care about educational reform and want to share and think things through as "reflective practitioners."
  • Gifted Education Ning space for parents and teachers started by Ginger Lewman to discuss gifted issues
  • Global Classroom - A social network of students, teachers and adult learners who want access to education and top educators across the globe. Providing free online classrooms for Teachers in order to integrate the internet into today's classrooms.
  • The Global Education Collaborative - Promoting Global Awareness
  • INTERACTiC 2.0 School With Social ICT - An informal Portuguese researchers and teachers community of practice. It takes the potential of multiple collaborative tools available on the Internet to join people able to reflect on Education, teaching methodologies and learning using ICT.
  • International Collaboration - High school and university students worldwide collaborate and learn about each others' cultures and life styles
  • International Classroom - Social network created for classes around the world. Space where pupils can share, talk about themselves ,show pictures and videos etc,and get to know each other's culture.
  • ILTCE - Illinois Technology Conference for Educators - Learning Without Boundaries 2008
  • ISEnet - Independent School Educators Network for k-12 educators & students
  • Laptop Learning Community - Preparing Students with 21st Century Skills
  • Learning 2.0 - Creating Collaborative Learning
  • LITE - Leading Innovative Technology use in Education - Glenview School District 34
  • MACUL Space - Michigan Association of Computer Users in Learning. Educators Pre-K to 20.
  • Michigan Classroom 2.0 Michigan Classroom 2.0 is for Educators interested in integrating technology into the classroom. A collaborative site where"beginners" and pro's can find a comfortable place to start being part of the digital dialog.
  • Nanopaprika.eu - Network of NanoScience
  • New Teacher Resources (A Supportive Community for New Middle School Teachers)
  • Next Generation Teachers - Improving Teaching and Learning with New Technologies
  • Voices Of The World - Teacher's community to learn about new technologies to connect children around the world together using their voice rather than the written or typed word.
  • Online Projects 4 Teachers - Linking Teachers Together
  • PBS Teachers - Using a private Ning network to Connect with our Teacher Advisory Group
  • ProjectsByJen - PreK - 6th Grade Teacher Collaboration
  • PSUCast PowerSchool users network.
  • Rolling on the River - An educational resource for the interdisciplinary study of water; collaboration opportunities.
  • RBG Worldwide 1 Nation (ning) Afrikan Centered Cultural Development and Education
  • School 2.0 - The Changing of Education
  • Schoolwork Together - Space for teens from Israel and Dutch school to meet and discuss ideas for a common project
  • SIGTE 2008 Book Discussion; Steering committee currently discussing book choices. Using NING as communication tool.
  • Smallsteps - a class based network set up to support 14yr old design students with a design and make project centred around the topic of waste reduction.
  • SPEMFS - an educational network dedicated to helping people become the best that they can be - spiritually, mentally, physically, socially, emotionally, and financially; and teaching them how to learn from everything in their lives and to be creative.
  • SPLICE - this is part of a JISC funded project run by CETIS at Bolton University to explore social networking for creative industries students, teachers and practitioners. SPLICE = social practices, learning and interoperability in connected environments.
  • teachustech.ning.com - A network of teachers using technology
  • Teacher Content - A network of teachers using technology to teach content
  • The Innovative Educator - Connecting teachers using technology to enhance instruction in the content areas.
  • Tictech 2.0 - A forum for Seattle (and beyond) educators to explore/share ideas on using web 2.0 techologies in education.
  • We Are Teachers IMAGINE Network- Online Knowledge Marketplace (this is a users focus group / forum to gather input and development)
  • WorkForce Educators - Distance Learning and Teaching
  • World Englishes Project- Blended Learning Course about World Englishes in collaboration with Waseda University, Japan.
  • WEBTAS (Web Teaching and Academic Support Learning Community)
  • Web2learning (For Teachers interested in using Web 2.0 technology’ to enhance online teaching and learning activities)
  • Web 2.0 Applications and Tools (Web 2.0 online discussion site about applications and tools related to multiple topics in research and education. Mainly in Portuguese.)
  • Self-educate.com -A free online self-education knowledge and social network on IT
  • Information Technology Tools for Engineers- A course that is offered to the graduate engineers to built up their skill levels in the use of Internet for gathering, communicating and sharing information. The course topics also includes social bookmarking and social network. The course topics are general enough to interest and benefit wider audience, therefore, it is open to visitor, guests, and non-credit students.
  • WiZiQ Meeting Place This is a meeting place on Ning for users of WiZiQ, the online teaching and learning platform, which provides a free virtual classroom for teachers and students to interact online in real time.


  • Art Snacks- Teaching Art
  • Arteda.net Art Education in the Digital Age - lots of videos of Exhibits/Lectures/Artist from Boston and a Web 2.0 Hybrid Drawing class.
  • Comic Art School Open community with resources for drawing and making comics.
  • Drawing Faces - Course for drawing faces, portraits, cartoon heads and caricatures.
  • Museums and Students - A network for museums and students to interact and learnAg
  • UTA Film and Video Network - for art (film) students and faculty of the University of Texas, Arlington
  • UTA Animation Network - for animation students and faculty of the University of Texas, Arlington

Classroom Networks:

  • Across Generations Homework help, resources, projects from students, resources for students and parents.
  • Big Dog Science - eighth grade science class network for student collaboration on chemistry projects
  • CCM Music - a network to connect students and staff across music courses at City College Manchester, an FE and HE college in the UK. This is a closed network but a video tour is here.
  • jaffyHead - an educational & social networking site that links students (grades 10, 11, 12) and teachers throughout South Africa, offering a variety of free exam papers and summaries, with blogs, forums and games.
  • The Connected Classroom - Private network connecting 7 grade 4 classes in international and public schools around the world (looking for members in Japan, Australia and China).
  • Creative Media Classroom - Private network for 11th-12th grade students taking Creative Media (an evolution from Creative Writing) as an elective at a college preparatory school.
  • Dio Digital Learning Lab Classroom based interactive network at Diocesan School for Girls in New Zealand (Private)
  • Flat Classroom Project - Planning, communication and collaboration Ning for the Flat Classroom Project
  • The French Connection - Private network connecting 2 grade 6-7 classes in the US and France for communication, language practice.
  • GCHS Theater Arts Online reflection space for GCHS theater arts students (closed)
  • Global Classroom - A social network of students, teachers and adult learners who want access to education and top educators across the globe. Providing free online classrooms for Teachers in order to integrate the internet into today's classrooms.
  • The Global Cooling Collective - Planning World Concerts, Creating World Change, Empowering Global Youths
  • historycentral.net A networks for 7th grade history students in a small K-8
  • Hurricane Maine - Network for my students but hope to open it up for collaboration
  • IntroTV/Video - 9-12th grade TV/Video students use this as a place to upload their work (closed - due to copyright issues)
  • Kerr Honors - 9th grade English Network for Reading Reflection (closed - could open up)
  • Kingswear Network - a private UK primary (ages 5-11) classroom network but main page is public
  • McCorrmick31 - 11th grade English Network for reflection on independent reading projects. (closed - could open up)
  • Maine Holocaust Education Network - We are a group of educators and students sharing and collaborating with each other in order to understand the Holocaust and work towards preventing future holocausts, genocides, and other human rights atrocities.
  • Mr. Edge's English I Space at edgespace.ning.com
  • newentenglishsixth - private Ning for 6th Form students of English Literature at Newent Community School, UK (closed)
  • Odyssey of the Mind - A closed network for students at Odyssey Charter HS in Nevada. There are seven teachers participating with about 250 students currently in the network.
  • Readin' Writin' Techin' - Closed network run by four teachers in Southern NJ as part of a study group looking at ways Web 2.0 technologies can be used to generate interest in reading and enhance writing skills. Network has 14 members (four adults and ten students).
  • Reading Revolution - This network is to promote student interest in reading books. The network is between a class in an inner city school in California and a class in rural Iowa. Students are encouraged to be social and talk about the books they are reading or want to read. Students make and post videos and podcast about their favorite books, authors and their communities.
  • Second Grade - Private network for a 2nd grade class students and parents to share multimedia, to communicate and practice writing in an informal environment.
  • StroudAce - Private network for Stroud Access to Education staff, students and their families to communicate.
  • TLGplace - Taking Learning Global, a place for students 15+ and their teachers to share inter-cultural experiences while learning.
  • Truss2YPI - one of several private Gr. 10 class networks, "Learning about grassroots organizations in our community." see YPI
  • WellesleyHigh - High School Faculty/Staff Network (closed)
  • World Village - Private network connecting 3 grade 2 classes in Thailand and the US to learn about different cultures.
  • Xtreme Learning - Private network connecting highly able students in 9 grade 5 classes in international and public schools around the world - focus on reading and literature.
  • Learning Options Social Network - A private social network of students in a very small high school in northwestern Wisconsin, who are taking online classes through a variety of vendors for enrichment or credit recovery.
  • OraDeInfo - A private network of Romanian students (Psychology field) using Web 2.0 tools


  • CUE Community - Conference website for CUE.org and 2008 CUE Conference (with individual forum threads for every session and speaker pages).
  • The Illinois Technology Conference for Educators- A social networking site for conference attendees, vendors and speakers. Educators following the conference from afar as also encouraged to join this ning. Stay tuned for handouts, pictures, and video of our 2008 event!
  • Learning 2.008 Shanghai - Educational Technology Conference held in Shanghai in September for international teachers in the Asia region.
  • MACUL Space - The Michigan Association for Computer Users in Learning

Course Material:

English as a Foreign Language:

  • EFL Classroom 2.0
  • Im with Benjamin A page for my students (primarily English classes, but others as well) in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. Closed right now, but could become open.
  • Inglês Verde e Amarelo - IVA is an established network of Brazilians learning English and English-speakers learning Portuguese of interested in Brazil.
  • ListeningPlus A network for students who felt they wanted to keep in touch and practicing English after their online session at Casa Thomas Jefferson (Brasilia, Brazil) was over.
  • Mexico English Teachers' Alliance :: META Web 2.0 - META is a social and educational network for English teachers that promotes learner-centered teaching methods and Web technologies in and out of EFL classrooms.
  • http://internationalclassroom.ning.com/ Where pupils from all parts of the world can meet chat, share, work together. Created for younger teens 12 to 14, who would like to join us?

English as a Second Language:

  • CSWE 3 Werribee - An adult ESL network for my class of new refugees and immigrants to Melbourne, Australia (closed - may open up)

English Education (Pre- and In-Service):


Language Learning:

  • Talkabout Primary MFL- for those teaching (or considering teaching) foreign languages in Primary schools (ages 3-11)


  • Education Leadership - A community for educators to discuss effective leadership, to share best practices, and work toward - lead - a culture of positive change in education.
  • SMS 5 Year Program Collaboration - A collaboration network for all preservice teachers at Suncrest Middle School in Morgantown, WV. Members are in the 5 year teacher education program, host teachers and associated administrators.
  • PYP Threads - A community for those involved with the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program. This ning grew out of a one day workshop of PYP coordinators in Switzerland, and is opened to anyone PYP. It is "a place to weave, unravel, and re-weave PYP threads into fabrics of communication with a choice of threads, colors, patterns, and textures."


Other Languages

Professional Development:

  • Readin' Writin' Techin' - Closed network run by four teachers in Southern NJ as part of a study group looking at ways Web 2.0 technologies can be used to generate interest in reading and enhance writing skills. Network has 14 members (four adults and ten students).
  • Teachers 2.0 - Teaching in the digital age.
  • The Teacher Collaborative - A social network of teachers and educators attempting to integrate technology into current curriculum practices by developing global project ideas and classroom partnerships.
  • teacher/tearner: minds of our own - A private network of independent interdependent teachers learning. The goal for this network in 2008 is to become an even more valuable professional learning network. We are also accepting membership by educators who are interested in using and sharing the use of Web 2.0.
  • Teachers as Writers - This is a place where teachers who are writers or wannabe writers can share their enthusiasm for whatever it is they have put on paper or want to put on paper. It's about encouraging people to write and "carve their niches in the edifice of time."
  • Tech Camp for Educators-With literacy as a focus, technology will be infused across the curriculum as a tool for teaching and learning. This is a hands-on, practical class. This is a face to ce week long tech camp taught by Meg Ormiston.
  • University of Chicago Charter Schools
  • Virginia Independent School Teachers
  • Web 2.0 4 Teachers - This network is for teachers and administrators who have attended my workshops and conference presentations that highlight the use of Web 2.0 tools. It provides a place for them to engage during and after the sessions.
  • Western New York Powerful Learning Practices: A social network where teachers and administrators from various school districts explore and learn Web 2.0 tools.
  • Vidsnacks: Video training for teachers wishing to incorporate video into their lessons.


Spanish as a Foreign Language:

  • Profesores ELE en Holanda - for Teachers of Spanish as a Foreign Language working in the Netherlands (in progress) | Profesores de Español como Lengua Extranjera (ELE) que trabajan en los Países Bajos.

Student Organizations:

  • EARCOS Global Issues Network - Earth’s Hope is the theme of the EARCOS Global Issues Network Conference to be held in Beijing April 4, 5 & 6 at Western Academy of Beijing. The Global Issues Network is based on the ideas in Jean Francois Rischard’s book “Twenty Global Problems, Twenty Years to Solve Them.” Rischard identifies 20 urgent global problems and encourages the formation of small groups around the world to help solve them

Teacher Education:

  • DigitalInterns.ca: This is a Ning-group for the professional development of a group of teacher interns at the Faculty of Education, University of Regina. This is an on-going project and will eventually include all students from the Faculty of Education.
  • Orientamenti e Disorientamenti (negli usi didattici delle tecnologie). Orientations and Disorientations (in didactical uses of technologies)., An Italian network of teachers and practitioners wishing to make an awered and informed uses of technologie


  • Blended Learning and Instruction - Engaging students and teachers in active learning by using technology and combining online with face-to-face instruction. Members will share various 2.0 tools and ways of integrating technology effectively.
  • Elementary Tech Teachers This is the place to share plans, ideas, tools, frustrations and any other ideas related to teaching and using technology in the computer lab setting or as an elementary tech facilitator.
  • Online Instruction - Teachers need ongoing support and information to facilitate online classes. Online Instruction caters to instructors who wish to discuss ways of developing, implementing, and providing learners with the most effective means of online instruction.
  • Teaching 'N Technology - A brand new network designed for teachers and technology specialists to share strategies, ideas, and tools regarding technology integration.
  • Tech Integration - With the growth of web 2.0 applications the phenomenon rises many questions in education. Can any of this new applications be used effectively in the classroom? Should we just stick to the traditional technology integration activities?
  • Technology Integration - Gathering perspectives and best practices from teachers, administrators, students, parents, Board of Education members, support personnel, vendors and others regarding technology integration in education. Site also available by visiting TechnologyIntegration.org.
  • Video production and multimedia - Video is the language of the 21st century. Learn how to do it here.
  • WiZiQ is an online teaching platform, which provides a free virtual classroom environment for teachers to interact online and teach students in real time. Teachers can also build a profile, keep an availability schedule, and maintain a content library, which is associated with their profiles, by uploading PowerPoint presentations and PDF Files.
  • Project TREE - Technology Recycling for Excellence in Education. Partners hardware donors with schools to provide open-source computer technology for 1/10 the cost of traditional computer labs.


Non-Ning Based:


  • ChitChat - An 'educational network' that allows educators to find/share course content, make class websites, author interactive study tools, and discuss education-related topics.
  • Flashcard Friends - a social network for creating, sharing, learning and self-testing using online flashcards
  • Gifted Kids Network Network for gifted students to collaborate on advanced learning projects and enrichment clusters. (private; will accept new members)
  • MasteryMaze.com - A learning community where teachers and students share educational podcasts, videos, and discussion to improve learning in school subjects.
  • me.edu.au - A social network for educators with an interest in Australia
  • my.nycwp.org - A social network for the NYC Writing project. This network brings together the project's listserv, flickr photos, twitter tweets, blogs, and more.
  • WiZiQ is an online teaching platform, which provides a free virtual classroom environment for teachers to interact online and teach students in real time. [[http://classroom20.ning.com/group/wiziq%3C/span%3E%3C/span%3E%3C/span%3E%3C/span|http://classroom20.ning.com/group/wiziq</span]]>
  • WeAreTeachers.com - Beta Site for creating your own teacher and learner knowledge marketplace.
  • YouFig - Custom Collaboration Communities for Academia


bubb.jpegFinal Thoughts

Social Networking online does have a level of impersonality because no has to necessarily meet face to face in order to build or conduct relationships. However, social networks have opened up doors that have not been previously opened. Especially for Millenials, social networking will continue serve as a form of entertainment. For others in business, education, the medical field, and other professions, social networking enhances these fields.

In classrooms, with close monitoring and guided instruction, social networks can be all the things students need, and what teacher want: engaging, analytical, collaborative, and productive.

Get on the Social Networking Bandwagon. Everybody's doing it!

Resources Include

Social Networking in Plain English-Video
Social Networking
The Rise of Social Operating Systems
What's So Great About Online Social Networking?-Video
The Social Network Operating System
Social Networking I: Social Networks and Computer Classrooms: Where Do Collaboration, Play, and Pedagogy Fit?
Network Images
Literacy in a Digital World, Kathleen Tyner
Digital Natives
Millennials (Generation Y)
Classmates.com Wiki