Connecting educators and learners

What does Perpetual Beta in web2.0 mean?

In the discussion that can be easily Google searched of Perpetual Beta can be also known as End of the Software Release Cycle. In the internet era, software is delivered as service instead of in a product form. Multiple constant changes in the business are required to shift from a more basic to a radical structure.

Perpetual beta is an open development of new features in a timely basis that could potentially involve users for a test trial for real-time monitoring. – Tim O’Reilly 

Base on the case study stated in the O’Reilly’s website, Microsoft is one of a clear web application that has constant extensions that is dependent on the employee’s job of upgrading the computing environment every 2-3 years. Comparing Google and Microsoft, both strong competitors are striving to achieve a frequent change as to release early and release often. Most importantly, both big organisations require in-depth analysis to avoid excessive delivery of new features that can put off current and potential users.

Edmodo

Edmodo is a social network platform for educational purpose. The main users are teachers and students. It is a safe platform for teachers to upload teaching materials on Edmodo. It is a free and safe collaborative way to connect teachers and students. In the current internet era, many students are equipped with a laptop. Students are always on the edge of exploring different collaborative platform.

This web application has also integrated a link between other different popular social media.

It is an excellent way to build network of communities internally among classmates or across different schools. Edmodo has a similar look to Facebook, therefore users of Facebook would not find this application hard to use.

How does Edmodo contribute to the pattern: ‘Perpetual Beta’?

In the early release of Edmodo, there are constant updates with new features added frequently. Edmodo went through private beta testing which gave the programming team sufficient time to polish the platform for official release. Edmodo had monthly updates from the programming team. With the constant enhancement of the web application, the real-time approach has been a great start which allows the organisation to see a growth in the number of users.

Teachers are invited to join the “support group” where they can post questions for any new features. This creates a combination force from the organization and the user (teachers) to test out new features and get instant feedbacks/suggestions. This process of engaging users has been adopted by many organisations such as Facebook.

Edmodo is programmed on more than one programming interface. It utilises Javascript, PHP, CSS and HTML. With the vast variety of different development approach, it increase flexibility and suggestions by the users can be integrated easily.

Many other interesting articles/blogs can be found here.

The downsides of Edmodo

Currently, keeping the downtime as low as possible is an issue that has been debating among Edmodo’s users. In a situation when a teacher is uploading a document that is to be distributed to the students in the classroom, and a downtime has unexpectedly been issued, frustrations from the users will increase.

Other Links:

About Edmodo

Developers of Edmodo

Tim O’Reilly’s full detailed explaination

Wikipedia on Perpetual Beta

 

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13 Responses to Connecting educators and learners

  1. atang28 says:

    Hi Jerfen,

    Wish this was around when i was at school! So does Edmodo downtimes have specific timeslots? Say during non-peak hours of usage? For example Saturday 10pm onwards because of it being a saturday and 10pm not many students and teachers would be on compared to other day/times.

    This could be a way to limit frustrations of users not knowing when downtimes will occur 🙂

    Andy

    • ngjerfen says:

      Hi Andy,

      Emodo releases at around 2008 but it wasn’t known to the public as it is a start up web organisation. Edmodo do try to handle maintenance during off peak hours (During the night) but most of the time, the unforeseen circumstances arises when the downtime drags till morning where students and teachers are having their lessons! Edmodo always tries to have minimal downtime but minor issues after releasing new features always comes up.

      Cheers!

  2. sukhshans says:

    Hi Jerfen,

    Edmodo use of a support group is a great way to gain input from its users and from the information, they can refine and improve. The idea of support group should also allow Edmodo to try new features and experiment with features that could be implemented for all users. In terms of tracking usage, do Edmodo track information that are uploaded on the website and use the information to create new features or suggestions for future versions?

    -Sukshan

    • ngjerfen says:

      Hi Sukshan,

      Apparently not, But Edmodo do utilise a technique that facebook does as well which are to pick a small amount of users and introduce new features to those users. If good reviews and feedbacks are given, edmodo programming team will release it to all users. The disadvantage of this being having more maintenance/downtime due to several releases of upgrades.

      Edmodo does have a feedback/suggestion column where users can provide feedback to the edmodo team and edmodo will definitely have a look at those feedbacks. Cheers!

  3. adamhijazi says:

    Hi Jerfen,

    This is a good post indeed. Edmodo is an excellent example of perpetual beta if only for all of the sites it has to remain current enough to connect with. If Facebook updates, it has to be on top of that and accommodate the update. Twitter decides to change an aspect of its API and Edmodo has to be on top of that too. Constantly keeping its finger on the pulse of all connected sites and adapting to changes as they arise, as well as responding to the needs of their own users is an absolutely mammoth task.

    Teachers being able to log in and actually request features that would improve their ability to instruct their students eliminates the need for them to utilise third party applications and provides a one stop, ‘perpetual beta shop’ where they know that not only will their requests be reviewed but also likely implemented if they gain enough support through relevant feedback communities.

    This is a long way from the days of printing out class notes and distributing and changing syllabus for students once every couple of years at best (which wasn’t that long ago!)

    Great find and great blog!

    Cheers,

    Adam.

    • ngjerfen says:

      Hi Adam,

      Thanks for all the details that you provided me! It has given me a huge insight on the different things that has been going on for awhile. Facebook and twitter has been in the limelight. Edmodo needs to take Facebook and Twitter as a positive deviant to learn from those successful organisation.

      The great thing about Edmodo is that it caters to teachers and students. Not so much to a large crowd like what twitter and facebook has been catering to. Edmodo does not have a large amount of users as well but it is still developing new features.

      Edmodo is great to use in class provided students and teachers are provided with desktops/laptops to download some files or have a collaborative discussion around classes. Definitely great for class-class collaboration without the need to combine classes and have a messy and loud discussion. Teachers can keep track of which particular students are being more involved in the discussions and which are not.

      Once again, thanks for the great insight adam! Cheers!

  4. robakom says:

    Hi Jerfen,

    Edmodo seems like a really good platform for communication purposes. It must be quite competitive with Facebook and Twitter in terms of the social aspect in the education industry. One of the features that I like is the ability to integrate other apps to the system such as Google Doc’s and RSS feeds as this would enhance the way communication is used throughout Edmodo. One question, do users get notified as to when the updates will occur to the system as well as what’s contained in the update?

    Thanks, Rob

    • ngjerfen says:

      Hi Rob,

      Oh, definitely less as developed compared to Facebook! The style is so similar to Facebook that i do think that both applications are vying for the status of who has the right to use such design interface first. Facebook first came up in 2004 while Edmodo in 2008. If they do some changes, edmodo will do their best to tell you in advance by placing a notification on the edmodo.com website. Cheers!

  5. Matt08H says:

    Hi Jerfen,

    This would be so handy! I would assume that the update system would be similar to Facebook, but more than likely more buggy due to the resources available. The unexpected level of downtime is definitely something that should be addressed though in order for Edmodo to move forward and grow.

    – Matt

    • ngjerfen says:

      Hi Matt,

      Yes the update system is somewhat similar to Facebook just that the downtime are longer as what you depicted, insufficient resources. I am sure there are many upset users which are giving plenty of feedbacks to Edmodo for their high level of maintenance that last for several hours. Cheers!

  6. Hi Jerfen 🙂

    I’ve never heard of Edmodo but it seems like a great application! It looks like Edmodo really keeps up to date by releasing updates. Its layout looks similar to Facebook which I think is a good thing since Facebook users would be able to understand how to use Edmodo easily. Do you have to create an account to use Edmodo? Or can you log in using your Facebook account/use it as an offline user?

    • ngjerfen says:

      Hi Laura,

      Edmodo is an educating social ground where it has the interface that looks like Facebook which you mentioned. Unfortunately, one do need to register an account in edmodo to be able to use it. It is not integrated together with Facebook thus one cannot log in using one’s facebook account 🙂 Cheers!

  7. PrapatW says:

    Hi Jerfen

    Edmodo is really nice. I wish I had that in my high school which will help me a lot with my study. It is really nice to have teacher and student be in the same community. This will create a strong bond and perhaps respect between students and teachers. There are not much communication between students and teachers in my school year and I would love that to happen which Edmodo could be one of the answer to that solution. I also really like the way that teachers can join the support group to help Edmodo to improve.

    Prapat W.

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