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Free the Nings!

The social networking service Ning—which hosts many thriving teacher groups—created a great deal of angst last month when it announced that is moving to a subscriptions-only model. The details on the pricing scheme are still being worked out, but the New York Times' Bits blog is now reporting that the company has worked out a deal to keep the service free for teachers.

They apparently realized it just wasn't worth asking schools for money. "For public educators, the process for buying anything tends to be so arduous, and we're going to make it easier to use Ning," Jason Rosenthal, Ning's C.E.O., is quoted as saying.

Well said.

Update: A colleague informs me that the new pricing scheme has been in fact been released. It sounds like only the "Ning Mini" version—limited to 150 members, no groups, no events—will be available for free to teachers.

"I've been pushing Ning so hard in my district and now I've got to tell people that it's basically useless regardless that it's free to teachers," says one teacher-commenter on the Ning blog. "We were thrown a bone."

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