There one minute, gone the next. Or so it seems.
Ning turned out to be not just another strange internet name but a really useful method for bringing people together for a purpose.
I first used Nings to follow the Shanghai 2008 Learning conference, virtually. I was able to see those who attended, listen to podcasts and read accounts. I caught up with old friends as well as had a sense of the event.
Since that time I have used the same account to access other Ning social platforms and events.
But Nings are changing:
"New plans and pricing announced! We're focusing 100% on paying Ning Networks and will begin phasing out our free service in July". (From Ning website)
Okay, it is good to pay for things of value. But for education, Nings had turned out to be a good tool and being FREE is valuable.
Why the change? Why not have other revenue streams, or at least the free basic service and charge for the one without adverts....?
Listening to the BBC Digital Planet podcast about the IDLELO 4 conference in Ghana, brought home to me the necessity to ensure that the software one uses is UNDER YOUR CONTROL. The participants of this conference stressed the need not to rely on Western (ie US) programs which not only can be costly but are controlled by other than African interests.
The same applies to education. The danger is that what you rely on could be there one minute and gone the next.