Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Nings in Education

Looking for a job as a new teacher? Looking to connect with other teachers even if you have a job? Nings, professional social networking sites, are expanding exponentially. Check out this article The World’s Largest English Department to find out how teachers and would-be teachers have been using Nings. Beginning teacher Laura Abercrombie, anxious about her first year on job as an 8th grade English teacher, joined The English Companion Ning, and within 12 hours of posting a “Help” message for ways to teach Thoreau’s Walden received 60 teacher replies. Also, explore the Web 2.0 Ning, a social networking site for teachers focused on technology and Web 2.0 tools.

In digging around The English Companion Ning, I found a digital story created by a student for an English class and posted by the teacher at: The Power Of Digital Story Telling.
Here is what the teacher wrote: “My co-teacher and I spend a lot of time during the course of the year working with our students to help develop their storytelling skills. At the beginning of each year, many of our students struggle with the writing process. They lack confidence. We use digital storytelling as a tool to help inspire our students to strengthen their skill sets. After all, the digital space is a familiar place to most of them. The video below [go to the link The Power Of Digital Story Telling] was created by one of our students. The film is an excellent example of how a student has taken a lesson on symbolism and pushed it to the limit. As educators we need to continue to push our limits as well." Another teacher upon viewing the student’s work responded: “Wow! I am blown away - what a beautiful project. I am thinking that this is a perfect supplement to a Carpe Diem unit when we're in the middle of our hurry-up-and-seize-the-day discussion! Would you ask Jennifer [the student who created the film] if I could have permission to use this in my classroom? I teach AP Language and Composition in which argument, both verbal and visual, is a large part of the curriculum. I also like this idea as a way to have the kids create visual arguments…. Thanks for sharing this inspiring lesson.” This example should give you an idea of how teachers in distant schools can connect to share teaching ideas. Take a look at the student’s film via The Power Of Digital Story Telling post, and think about how you would incorporate digital storytelling into your classroom.

But also post comments on nings, and how they can help you as a teacher. Have you used them? Would you use them? Maybe it is time for teachers to say goodbye to Facebook and spend their time on professional networking nings. What do you think? Here is another one to check out: Content Literacy. In the age of shrinking school budgets and limited travel funds to attend professional conferences, maybe nings are the next best thing. I have heard new teachers no longer read professional journals in print and turn to online social network sites like nings for their professional growth? Do you see that as true for you?

Okay, there's a lot to absorb in this post, so take you time. But let's hear your thoughts about nings, the ones you have seen, and how you use them or might use them.

Image: English Companion Ning

1 comment:

Scott Kossbiel said...

THIS IS AWESOME!!! My first year teaching I was a member of a 8 teacher strong 2nd grade team. We bounced ideas off of eachother, shared projects, and rotated for different subject. This year, I am the one and only 3rd grade teacher in the school. Not only do I feel alone, but I am all on my own. I even find my self electronically corisponding with my old team to feel as though I am still apart of the team. This system really gives teachers a strong sense of collaboration. I often say that most teachers are good, but all teachers won't be as good without the teacher next door. This program allows for that kind of collaboration on a larger scale.

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