As I am a member of a number of educational Nings I was none too happy to hear the announcement recently that Nings were to come at a price from July onwards. For anyone else who uses Nings I have summarised the main points from a number of sources to give you a brief overview.
Ning Blog announces:
We’ve also heard from many Network Creators who use Ning in the classroom as an integral part of their curriculum. I am particularly excited to announce that a major education company will be sponsoring Ning Mini Networks for educators in primary and secondary education. Ning will remain free for K-12 educators and their students. We’ll have details on this program soon!
Ning Plans: The Good, The Bad, and the Unknown states:
•The "major educational company" that has no name could be good or bad. I'm assured it will be good, but I can imagine more than one large educational company whose providing Ning Mini networks for free would be looked upon with suspicion. What's also not spelled out is what kind of control that company will have, their ability to market or message to the creators and members of the networks, and if there will be any advertising by that company on the networks.
For further insight into the ramifications of this descision go to Steve Hargadon's K-12 Educational Technology Blog.
Ning Planning to remain free for teachers
Ning, a company that allows users to build their own social networks, says it has signed a letter of intent with a major educational publisher to keep its service free for educators.
“The big lesson for nonprofits and education technologists alike would be to keep in mind that if you want absolute control over the way a certain platform or solution works, the only way that can be accomplished is by housing it yourself,” he said. “Unfortunately that comes at an additional cost, and that cost has to be taken by someone.”