EduBloggerWorld (EBW) is dying.
With Ning's announcement several weeks ago that they would be moving toward a pricing structure that doesn't provide free services to networks with more than 150 members, we're not sure how we won't be forced to close the doors and gently nudge EBW's members to another network. What's worse, it feels like it's the network that's really tying all of EBW's 1,600+ members together, given such a wide distribution of varying national representation. I would estimate that less than 5% of EBW's members have ever met face to face.
As a result, I'm doubtful that large pockets of members will shift spaces together and sadly suspect that closing the doors to EBW will mean the end of many meaningful relationships forged on the site. Sure, there's Twitter, Facebook, Classroom 2.0, and the blogosphere itself, but the membership of EBW seems to occupy a niche of international flavor not openly expressed, emphasized, nor embraced in other spaces.
Honestly, I'm torn by many things related to this turn of events. First, I'm frustrated by Ning, Pearson, and the commercialization of education. One walk through the vendor floor at any major conference and you can tell that education now means big bucks. If we truly believe that education is for the benefit of greater society, then why don't more companies give more for our future? I think Wikispaces, for example, has set a very good example along these lines - as Ning once did. But Ning's sell-out to Pearson frustrates and saddens me, all at the same time.
A second area of trouble for me in this regard is that of focus. While my job now consumes much of my time and requires me to focus sharply on the needs of teachers and students in my District (and rightly so), I still feel strongly that the key to our future success depends greatly on how much we're willing and how well we're able to help and work with others outside our immediate sphere. Honestly, I think the answer to the question I posed during Richard's ISTE keynote (shared below) is a resounding "YES!"
If those of us living in favorable circumstances don't take the time to make the effort to help those less fortunate, then how can we say, at the end of the day, that the sum of our efforts has been a success?
I'd love to hear your thoughts on how we might save EBW or your predictions on what will happen to the communities formed in the network after its demise.