I’m working with a group of ESL/EFL teachers from around the world who have 15 to 21-year-old students. We’re developing some pretty exciting online collaborative projects, which I’ll write more about in a week or two. We’re also exploring the possibility of inviting new classes to join us.

Right now we’re using a blog to share our projects, but since we’ve begun expanding it’s clear we will eventually need to move to what is commonly referred to as a “social network” of some kind.

Unfortunately, my District’s filters continue to block images from Ning, including the CAPTCHA that you have to copy in order to sign-up, so that’s not an option right now.

We’re considering a number of alternatives, and I’d love it if people could share if they’ve had experience with any of them. They are:

Brica Box

Big Tent




Six Groups




All of them are free, and it only takes a minute or two to start a network. They all appear, at least, to have many of the same features as Ning. Some of the main criteria we’re looking at are:

1) Are they simple to use and accessible to English Language Learners?

2) Can you easily embed slideshows and videos?

3) Are there strong privacy and moderation controls?

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated!