Due to recent interest and the fact that their names rhymed, I am writing this post to provide updates on two free Web 2.0 Tools used to support professional learning communities in schools.
I have joined and created several Ning networks for education and found it to be a great place to build professional online learning communities. In the last 6 months, I have not been active in those networks but recently visited the site again to check in, and this is what I found.
Ning is becoming a subscription pay service as of July 2011, but Pearson has offered to sponsor small “Mini Ning” communities for education, thereby ensuring that Education Nings can remain free of advertisements. The details can be seen in this blog post: http://education.ning.com/profiles/blogs/pearson-to-provide-ning-mini. The long and the short of it is that for Nings of 150 members or less, it will be free as long as you complete the application form for Pearson: http://go.ning.com/pearsonsponsorship/
Jing is an amazing and free tool for creating screenshots and screencasts. The free version of the software allows you to record short videos (up to five minutes) and narrate using your computer’s built in microphone (or an external if you prefer). After you’re finished recording, Jing will share the screencasts via Facebook, Twitter, Screencast.com, or Flickr AND provide a hyperlink for you to share via email, chat, websites, etc.
CNET has a great review of the software which you can check out here: http://download.cnet.com/Jing/3000-13633_4-10744274.html.
Educational organizations tend to use Jing to provide quick How-To videos for disseminating technical knowledge (e.g., how to fill out a new purchase request or budgeting form) as well as instructional knowledge (e.g., how to create an essential question while curriculum mapping).