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TCC 2009: Using Social Networking Tools to Build Learning Communities: A Case Study of the Punahou Technology Lab School Ning

my live notes from TCC 2009

Using Social Networking Tools to Build Learning Communities: A Case Study of the Punahou Technology Lab School Ning
by Judy Beaver and Tedd Landgraf


  • overview – what is the Punahou Technology Lab School?
  • Last Year’s Challenge – to expand and deepen the Lab School experience
  • Web tour – lab school ning and summary of Summer 08 experience
  • analysis – what worked and what didn’t, what were the limits and greatest challenges
  • where do we go from here? – future plans for the Lab School Ning
  • Q&A/Discussion

Punahou & the Technology Lab School

  • Punahou School – Honolulu, Hawaii–K-12 Independent School
    • oldest private school west of the Mississippi
  • One-to-one computing program – student laptops, Grades 4-10
    • started over 10 years ago
    • every student has a laptop provided by the school and paid through a technology fee charged to the families
    • all the faculty k-12 have a laptop as well
  • Punahou Technology Lab School – Entering its 4th year
    • intended to all school to open doors to teachers across the state and allow their teachers to learn something new in the area of technology
    • during the summer to take some risks, learn something new, and possibly apply it to the school year
    • started with Apple partnership and has evolved

Last year’s challenge for the lab school

  • goal of previous years’ programs
    • originally used blogs to catch up on info
    • used a blog in 2007 but feedback was that they wanted to participate in the conversation
      • wanted to look at info and participate in it
    • looked for a tool that would allow them to have a variety of conversations
      • found Ning
    • try to involve more people but keep the feeling of intimacy
  • growth objectives for the program
    • develop a lasting social community
    • presenters and participants to connect at a level they had not had before
    • allow for different levels of conversation
    • reach out to the greatest number of people because the F2F has a limited amount of room
  • choosing the right and best tool
    • 2008
    • use Moodle at Punahou school
    • looked at Ning and loved all its features
      • found that they could customize it to a certain extent that they couldn’t do with other services
      • had to get the ads off (had to pay a fee to do so)
      • private space (control access to information so participants¬† felt comfortable with it)

Web Tour & Summary of Lab School Ning

  • http://pstechls.ning.com
    • register for the site
    • invite anyone in the teaching profession or talking about technology in education

What we learned from the experience

  • methodology
    • not really formal in assessing the experience from 2008
    • used SurveyMonkey
    • feedback was generally good
      • comments too
    • also used PollEverywhere during the Lab School
      • allows you to set up a text number so you can answer a question with a number
        • allowed them to get immediate feedback
  • the good
    • creating a community
      • one of the goals was to move beyond the fences of the school and to create a bond beyond the Lab School itself
        • the feedback indicated that the Ning had done that for them
    • some who were virtual partners who followed along in what they were doing
    • as a repository for learning
      • was an excellent tool
      • could put up videos and pictures
  • the bad (more disappointed than bad)
    • in the final debrief, talked with participants and one thing they said was that they loved the Ning itself and did not want to end
    • BUT they described themselves as lurkers and did not feel comfortable to put themselves out there and want people to read what they had written (comments left behind)
    • a bit ahead of the curve since many of the participants were not familiar with the technology
      • hopefully this will not be as much of an issue this year
  • and the unexpected
    • presenters used Ning as part of their instructional tools
    • the events tool
      • post to a calendar of things that were coming up
    • RSVP tool associated with Events

The Future of the Lab School Ning

  • getting ready for this years event
  • this year, they are looking at continuing the Ning of part of the Lab School experience
    • breaking up a single week and make them into separate 3 day events
  • creativity and innovation (theme year)
    • geotools for education
    • immersive environments
    • possible series of workshops in creative expressions (still being decided upon)
  • makes it more compact in the F2F and the Ning gives it continuity
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