The social-networking tool Ning has announced fees for its use but says its some of its services will remain free to educators in kindergarten through 12th grade thanks to underwriting by an unnamed education company. Educators have been using Ning to set up closed social-networking sites -- some without advertising -- to work with students, and many have also built successful sites to collaborate with fellow teachers. "All of a sudden, these educators could build around their specialty. It was brilliant for educators to connect to each other," one former consultant to the company said.

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