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Started by ddeubel in Websites / links / access to new resources / communities.. Last reply by Nadeem Nawaz Jul 16, 2019. 102 Replies

We are now in our 3rd edition of "Site of the Day"! Hundreds of the best sites for teaching/learning. See #1 and…Continue

Tags: collection, list, web 2.0, resources, websites

ABCs - Alphabet Resources or Ideas?

Started by NEWS NOW in Teaching and Methodology. Last reply by Amelia Meirizka Jun 20, 2019. 73 Replies

I guess the alphabet is our bread and butter.Got any good ideas for teaching it or using it…Continue

Tags: children, abc, kids, phonics, reading

Learning Designs

Started by Elise in Teaching and Methodology Mar 27, 2019. 0 Replies

I was wondering what you all thought of learning designs pertaining to English language teaching? What are the ways in which you design your lessons to achieve better learning in your students?Continue

A NEW way to teach PHRASAL VERBS so that your students understand and remember them

Started by Andromeda Jones in Teaching and Methodology Dec 31, 2018. 0 Replies

Phrasal verbs are a verb + preposition, adverb or particle. Teaching…Continue

Tags: prepositions, teach, verbs, phrasal


My Summer of Discontent

"Living is an affair for those who turn on the ovens"

Believe it or not - I'm usually a very positive guy. In life, in the classroom and online. I'm accused often of being too positive and forward looking, being naive and idealistic. I used to take those condemnations and wear them as a badge of honor. Optimism is my Pascal's gambit - there is no "win" in being negative so all things being equal - I'll be happy. NOW, I'M NOT SO SURE IF I'M RIGHT.

edvard-munch-the-scream-c-1893What do I mean? Well let me explain, using just one recent example that has led me to my summer of discontent.

I put heart and soul into "getting teachers the goods". Four or five years ago, I saw the future of Web 2.0 and started sharing resources and forming professional community online. Truly, I said to myself, "David, you make good money, you aren't starving, this is what you are good at - pay it forward!" So, I optimistically started and built many websites, platforms, applications for teachers and students. I shared and made thousands of resources and spoke in a thousand conversations (this blog is but a drop compared to what I write in forum discussions). I really TRIED my best to give what I got.

Now, to get to the point - my idealism got the best of me. During these 4-5 years, corporations have started to "consolidate" the wild, wild web. Consolidate is code word for "control" which is a code word for "squeeze money out of those online". This is not just in education. I've become caught up in it.

Ning recently sent me this email for the umpteenth time....

5 Days Left to Choose a Plan

Friday is the final day for free Ning Networks

On 6/22/2007, a new social network popped up on the Internet. Yours.

Your network has grown up a bit since you started the ball rolling. You have grown to 16043 members who have collectively helped you add 2143 photos, 901 videos, and 1311 spirited discussions. Well done!

We'd like to see you continue

We're contacting you today to remind you that you still have time to choose a new Ning plan. But, time is running out. If you do not choose a new plan by this Friday, August 20, 2010, the community you built will ultimately be lost.

Now you see - when I created EFL Classroom 2.0 and it "popped up" - it was under a TOS (terms of service) whereby I had control of the content and community. Ning sold me on this. They offered the "platform" but I controlled the code and the ability to transform, change and develop based on this. They also provided many free networks and said the world had changed - now anyone has a voice!

So I built many communities. 10 in total - 2 of which I paid $19.99 a month for. I put up content, spent days designing, spent days promoting and now they will all disappear. All of them. And along the way, Ning just kept changing the TOS on a whim, just kept making changes that kept putting a noose around those like me who believed in their "vision". Over the years you could do less and less. Now they are hanging a whole lot of people. The noose just isn't tight, they are pulling the lever. Here is just one of my communities that will be gone.

What I'm saying in a nutshell is that this is but one example of what is coming to the web. (see the comments at this article - The Death of the Open Web). Where there weren't any walls - walls are being built each day. In education, we think of the possibility of the internet but I now, discontented see a prison being built. I don't exaggerate. It is happening each and every ticking second. Companies are pulling in valuable teachers and one day they will spit them out or corral them as the walls close in.

People tell me - there is no such thing as a free lunch. Well, there is for these corporations such as Ning. They wined and dined us with "free" and now they are whistling to the bank. "The loss" is the free flow of information - which is to wit - the basis of all our prosperity and wealth.

I don't begrudge companies or individuals making money online. They should be profitable. Just don't change the rules of the game while playing. That's disgusting. So be warned everyone - there are a lot of companies doing the freemium thing and they WILL change the rules.

When discontented, I turn to poetry. I'm losing all my thousands of hours of work. I'll remain positive, in some way, like my friend Basho who sang,

My barn having burnt down

I could now see the moon

Downloads: 52

Comment by George Swen on August 18, 2010 at 6:33am
It is so sad, David.

It is extortion and a man doesn't want to play a pledge. They know well how precious it is to people who have built it from the ground; they gave you enough time to grow it and now they hit you on tender spot (clever).

Life is everything but fair.

But the moon is worth it! ;-)

One more thing, when I am overcome with these little temporary things, I remind to myself - there is nothing I am going to take with me to the grave, only my conscience and this must stay clear.

:-) Hope all will be well for you again !!
Comment by Ellen Pham on August 18, 2010 at 8:09pm
That is one beautiful community that is going down, David. I really think the Seoul Board of Education (however they organize it) should put up the $50/month to keep it running.

I don't have any big losses in the ning network. I put my own stuff on my own website (weebly, cheap and effective) and did the social networking thing on other people's nings. But for the one ning that might have something for me to save and I wasn't going to get to it by the deadline, I went ahead and signed up for trial pay and got another three months of ning plus for free to buy me a little more time.

I just forwarded the email to you. The netflix offer was only good for the US, and I didn't look through the others, but it might be worth it to take a look.

Here's a copy of the text of the email:

Upgrade your Ning Network for free

We've partnered with TrialPay to bring you an exclusive offer

Ready to join the thousands of Network Creators who have already chosen a new plan? Take advantage of our new partnership with TrialPay and get Ning Mini or Ning Plus for free.

Mini Offer Plus Offer

No, thanks. I'd like to purchase a plan.

What is TrialPay?

TrialPay allows you to try or buy from a premier brand and, in turn, upgrade your Ning Network for free.


That's the url for Ning Plus. They also offer free trials for 3 months of the mini plan. The mini plan seems pretty worthless to me, but here's the url for anyone who is interested-

I really don't want to see the Seoul Education Training Institute site go. Isn't your replacement (yeah, like that would be possible <3) using it to help train teachers?

Peace my friend (and you too, George- it is so sweet that you are still here behind the scenes, ready to lend friendship and support when one of us needs it!! Hey, where's Cristina?? It's summer, someone go get that girl!)

After my father died, he came to my sister in a dream. He gave her a message for me- Don't give up! My daddy was the best daddy in the whole world. If he says don't give up, we really shouldn't!

Comment by ddeubel on August 19, 2010 at 2:26am

Yeah, I tried for years but no go.... Everyone wants something for nothing or else, if there is no "personal" gain/rep involved, they just don't care. At the end of the day, there are many in education who "pretend" to put education first but if you shine a light deep into their soul, it is all about their reputation/career/name, about "me"..... Not saying that can't be a little of it but it shouldn't get in the way and shadow. We need both light and dark to have a liveable thing.

Trialpay is still the same thing. Pay one devil or the other - LOL! But thanks, for some it might be an option but I'm a little against compromising in this very "another" underhanded way. They still get their money....that's what it is about. They did nothing/nada (Ning) for education. Just left everyone high and dry. Or sold to Pearson (in the states for the mini ) which is another subject but which I think is even worse. I remember at the beginning all Ning's pronouncements, even some private emails to me from Nina about - how education will be special on Ning and they want to develop it etc... Even Steve and Classroom 2.0 - I'm a little dismayed how he has commercialized so much nor has jumped at "Ning in Education".

Don't worry - at bottom I have a goal and am steadfast. The wind blows all kinds of ways but N/S/E/W remain where they are.

"George". I'm not so sure about your conscience going to the grave. But it will be with you right up til the last moment and that's a long time. Yes, the moon is worth it - ave luna maria te salutante! I will have to look up that poem, one of Faludy's best, an ode to the moon.
Comment by Gregory Quinlivan on August 28, 2010 at 2:10am
Hi David,
I've heard some of these same problems from the Educator's PLN and IT IS a problem that we can't bury our heads in the sand about.
I haven't been on EFL Classroom 2 long and my current situation (subbing) doesn't give me too many opportunities to try new things I've been reading about. Yet I also know that your site is the best and most active for EFL teachers.
However, I think there are a few things you could consider:
(1) move to another service. I'm using Weebly - it's free, simple, allows interaction etc. Admittedly it couldn't handle all of the extras on your Ning site, but under the circumstances you might have to consider pairing some of them back.
(2) move to Wikispaces - which is also free for teachers. You can have unlimited users and pages and 2GB file storage on the 'Plus" service for free if you're a teacher too. The storage could be a limitation for you, so you might also need a paid service.
(3) pay the fees for Ning and make the best of it. If you go that way you might need to think about a small member contribution e.g. an annual fee, or download fee, some paid elements, etc.
I'm sure I speak for others in saying that I really do appreciate your tireless efforts to keep the conversation alive and I hope you find a satisfactory solution soon.
If I can help in any way, please let me know.
Best of luck,

Comment by ddeubel on August 28, 2010 at 2:54am

Appreciate the comments and support. Good choices for basic sites that are free. I recommend pbworks and weebly to teachers ad nauseum. Also and Social Go is a Ning like site that has powerful free stuff too - I've been watching them from the beginning.

But the problem with moving is far reaching and not just about functionality etc... It reaches into what has been built and can't be rebuilt + domain recognition and all the small things I've built. Also, video. We have an amazing video library for teachers. So many schools now block youtube or videos once available aren't - teachers can find them here in better quality. My own archive for ELT.

I have paid the $500 annual fee and all in all, it is about 800-900 dollars a year now to run this place. Lots of other things that are paid for. I am hoping the job site I paid and invested lots of time in, will support us financially. Kind of a trade off. Teachers use and help build it that way and we get our network paid. However I might initially ask for donations but I'm working with Mike Marzio of Real-English to combine donating a small amount for us and supporting a deaf student in Kenya who needs help. I think when people donate - it is good to donate to a person rather than service....

We will be here for a long time - slow but sure. Like you, I'm always amazed some days about this community. So much and always gems to find. I built it but even I get lost, happily lost!


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