communityWhat can I say? Whatever plans I had for last night were distracted by Graham’s BYO networks post. Why? Because he reflected on Ning communities vs blogging and highlighted that while Ning is a good starting point for new educators he worries that people may limit their online learning by staying within these Ning communities and failing to realise that building your own network from blogs, wikis etc provides greater potential for learning. [image by circulating]

Why the distraction?

Now at this stage you are may be pondering why Graham’s post would lead so much distraction. Well his section on Ning started with Clay Burell’s thoughts on “Is Ninging the same thing as Blogging – and other questions about 21st c staff development“. The distraction? Clay and I debated Ning while Graham sat back, probably chuckling, and went to bed (check out comments on Graham’s and Clay’s posts — plus follow up post by Clay)!

Without writing a really long post Clay is reflecting on how to run workshops for teachers. His “goals are to make them not need to learn from me, but to get out there and find their own pathways” and encourage their creativity. (You really need to check out comments on Graham’s and Clay’s posts — plus follow up post by Clay because it is not possible to summarise all the thoughts and ideas)!

My Ning Passion!

Well lets just say that I am a bit passionate about Ning at the moment! As Michele says, Ning is my shiny new Web 2.0 tool. Etools and tips for Educators at Ning was set up for my 1 hr online presentation on Video in Elearning for various reasons including:

  • Ning’s designed to appeal to users who want to create networks around specific interests or have limited technical skills
  • So members could interact with me before and after my presentation– and to ensure that their learning was much more than just an hour online session
  • So experienced members can share their tips
  • To demonstrate how an online community’s knowledge gain is greater than a person working individually. Collectively a community will always help each other more effectively than I will ever hope to achieve
  • To showcase why communities are important for personal learning

I love Clay’s analogy to a driving instructor because that is exactly what I tell participants in my f2f workshops. My challenge is most of my participants are starting their first driving lesson with their parents and need me ready to grab the steering wheel. Overwhelm them too much and they will crash into the tree.

Outcomes from using Ning

It has been almost 1 week since my Video in Elearning online session and benefit gained from using the Etools and tips for Educators Ning community include:

  • Members new to participating in the online world report the community makes them feel
  • Several have been inspired to go on and achieve personal first’s like blogging, embedding videos, replying to discussions and creating their own videos using Ning
  • Their questions and responses have given me a far greater understanding of who they are and their needs; far more even than my f2f workshops
  • Collectively we have all gained more than working as individuals

There is no way I would have achieved these outcomes if I only interacted with the participants on my blog or if I had played it safe, stuck with just a 1 hr session, and not gone out on a limb to use Ning for embedding video during a live session.

Final Thoughts

I think that Brian C. Smith’s advice for getting others to buy into elearning is good advice. Check out this video of an interview he did with me! This grasshopper needs to remember this Master’s advice more often.

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