This session (recording here) was truly topical as the news had just broken that Ning sites were no longer to be available free. This is the second similar such issue within recent weeks that is making huge waves amongst educators in the E-sphere. The first being the (as it turned out) temporary loss of Wordle.
There was no question about the choice of topic for this session as the majority of those in the room at the polling stage very much wanted to discuss the impact of losing free Nings on the educational community and to share preliminary thoughts about options.
We started by capturing initial reactions to the news on the whiteboard.
As might have been expected the reaction was of strong concern and anxiety about the available alternatives and about how to maintain communities through a probable transition to a different platform. These sentiments also continued to be expressed through text chat and audio.
There had already been considerable activity on Twitter and elswhere relating to possible alternatives – one of the initiatives is a collaborative Google document – Alternatives to Ning where people have added any potential substitutes that they are aware of. We moved on to take a quick look at these by Application Share of the Google doc. There were a variety of mostly free platforms of varying types listed some with comments from the lister or others who had used the platform. We used this listing to invite comment/information from those in the session with experience of any of them – providing useful input for everyone on some of the options.
Towards the end of the session we were joined by Sue Waters of Edublogger fame. Sue is currently involved in work on Buddypress for Edublogs and gave us a quick “heads up” on its features, including briefly sharing one of her trial sites.
At this stage we were fast running out of time so the session drew to a close. This was a very lively session – as always when the topic is one where passions run high. It seems that debate will go on for some time until people find alternatives or decide that paying for Ning is easier than moving platforms.
Next Week’s Webinar
Join us on Thursday April 22nd at 23:00 GMT/UTC (7pm USA EST, Midnight BST) or Friday April 23rd at 1am CEST,7am West Aus, 9am NSW, depending on your timezone – in the usual Elluminate room