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:
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!
What would be great would be a list of core features that you require from the site… perhaps we might be able to further develop some of them at Edublogs!
That would be great! I’ll talk to the other teachers and get back to you.
We actually use Qlubb for our parent group – and though it doesn’t have some of the features you mentioned above (such as embedded videos, slideshow), it was a perfect fit for our classroom since we have a lot of events and, as a result, need substantial parent involvement.
I think, as with all solutions, it depends on the organization’s individual needs. For us, the online sign-up sheet and reminders were critical; while photo/video sharing was not.
thanks a lot for mentioning webjam.com
If you have any question about it feel free to contact us.
Hi Larry, it’s a shame you can’t use ning. Is there not a way to get it unblocked? I’m using it for a museum social networking group as an alternative to Facebook and it’s proving to be fantastic. I was even able to upload a podcast I did of visitors’ responses to our new Dinosaurs exhibition. Facebook may even be an option but most people who have joined my ning did so because they didn’t like the very “public” nature of FB. I used to also use a wiki but found that a bit frustrating and hard to use. I guess, as others have stated above it’s a matter of working out what you really need.
vox.com is pretty good
We, here at Qlubb, really are trying to build a simple collaboration tool for classroom and real-world groups. As busy, multi-tasking parrents, we found that we just don’t have the time and patience to learn or register for yet ANOTHER system. And yet, we really believe in the importance of parent participation in a classroom.
So thus, the birth of Qlubb – an easy, intuitive way for real-world groups (e.g., playgroups, classroom parents) to come together to coordinate activities and communicate.
Thanks for including us in your list.
Hi Larry – you might also consider IGLOO Software for your free social network. It will address all of your criteria and more. And if you check out the success stories page, i’m sure you’ll be happy to see other educational institutions have used the platform…from projects as diverse as the Global Youth Forum to PolicyNet (a global academic network spearheaded by Princeton).
When you sign up for a free community, you can start from scratch or choose from a selection of preconfigured templates. One of which is an eLearning community which comes preset with areas for course materials, lesson plans, online discussions and resources.
Each community is a 100% secure, branded solution that comes complete with document management and collaboration capabilities (wikis, blogs, forums, instant messaging & other Web 2.0 functionality). Check it out & let me know what you think.
i heard about ning shutting down their free accounts.. i saw on webs.com that they offer the same things as ning, and have even more cool options.. i have a webs.com account- theyve been around for awhile now, and you can build a free social network website in a few minutes..
it’s definitely worth checking out: