I would like to thank District Administration magazine for an article entitled: Social Learning Networks for K12 Education by Courtney Williams, in the product focus section of the magazine. Ms. Williams writes about how even though “Facebook and Google+ are popular social networks for everyday life” they are not safe for the education world. That is why there are several networks that have been created with the idea of providing a safe social learning environment that is not only effective but entertaining as well. She talks about some sites that are free and others that require a fee based on school population but all have the ability to become a valuable tool for educators, administrators, parents and students.
Here are the ones Ms. Williams have mentioned.
This site allows teachers to customize the classroom experience online while providing the students with the necessary tools for in class collaboration.
Blackboard is an education technology and solutions company that offers free social networking to districts. CourseSites allows the educators to add materials to the web in order to accompany five traditional classes per site. Or they can teach courses online.
Pricing based on number of students
Gaggle was initialed used as a safe email site for teachers and students; however, it has grown to become a safe online learning experience as well. Students can submit and store files electronically, as well as collaborate with other students. There are also Social Learning Wall and safe SMS texting functions available.
This platform can function as a classroom management, online learning or social networking site and even allow students to collaborate on projects and classroom discussions.
Ning, starting at $19.95 per year for small groups
“Glam Media, a vertical media company with hundreds of lifestyle blogs and Web sites, acquired Ning last year. Educators looking for a custom social network tailor-made for their district should consider Ning.” All pricing is based on size of the group, the bandwidth and storage you require, and the tools you wish to include.
Learning Space, pricing based on number of students
ePals allows for efficient collaboration and communication and allows users to create and organize safe Web 2.0 enabled groups for classes and project based learning, as well as communication with both local and global communities.