With the changes in Ning, Kigluait has begun the process of migrating from Ning to othe Social network capable sites that are available to teachers.
This means this also gives us a chance to model a new tool that teachers can use in their classrooms.
After much research we boiled it down to 2 alternatives to Ning. Now for those that are not aware, Ning is a social network environment that allows for the creation of groups, events, friends with members, blogs, resource sharing etc. In general, an environment where like minded people can join together, share and learn.
So what is out there that can replicate the same services, is free and provides safe features, Buddypress by Wordpress. Gro.ups also provides much of the same similar features, but has the added benefit of being hosted for you. No need for installations or plugins.
So which one to use? Well, we are going to take a year and test out both to see what you as teachers think and prefer. Kigluait Adventures Social net is now located on gro.ups and Flash Kennels can be found on the Kigluait Buddypress installation.
So which one is best for you as a teacher, well have a look at the features and applications below:
Gro.ups: Membership Required, Groups, Events, Blogs, Forums, Member Profile, Widgets. Friends and rewards. May be blocked by districts. Very easy to use and setup. Just create an account. Applications: Setting up a classroom space for sharing assignments, blogs etc. is a great way to integrate technology into the classroom.
Buddypress: Groups, Events, Blogs, Forums, Member Profile, Widgets.Friends and awards. You must install and host the site on your own server. Applications: Setting up a safe protected space for sharing assignments, blogs, etc.
A close runner up however is Edu2.0.org. This full feature and safe environment is wonderful for housing classroom interactions, but limited at connecting in terms of social media.