2011 was a very good year for EDU 2.0, with lots of growth and plenty of improvements. We almost doubled in size, adding 220,000 new members, as well as tripling the number of servers we run and quadrupling our revenue. Some other interesting numbers are:
We've recently made a lot of improvements to the EDU 2.0 mobile interface, and it's looking beautiful now! We're going to release native iPhone, iPad and Android applications in Q1 2012, as well as continuing to improvement the generic version that runs in any mobile browser.
Here's a screenshot of the new home page that you will see if you log into https://www.edu20.org from any mobile browser:
Here's a link to a nice blog entry from Disney about how they use EDU 2.0 for their Disney college program:
"EDU 2.0 is a communication resource like none other! It gives our Disney College Program participants the ability to make the absolute most out of their program via a one-stop-shop communication and resource masterpiece!"
Here's the latest EDU 2.0 growth curve, which includes June's membership numbers. At this rate, we'll pass 400,000 members in a few weeks time. And since growth has accelerated every single year in the Fall, it will pass 1/2 million members quite quickly. And last of all, the upcoming gorgeous new user interface and major new features should really help with adoption!
Amazon EC2 is having issues right now, which is affecting a large number of sites including EDU 2.0. Amazon is usually pretty good and fixing things quickly, so hopefully EDU 2.0 will be available again soon.
The Amazon status page is at https://status.aws.amazon.com/ and news commentary on the outage is here: https://www.readwriteweb.com/cloud/2011/04/amazon-web-services-experiencing-one-of-the-worst-ever-regional-disruptions.php
As the year draws to a close I thought it would be fun to outline the progress we made on the EDU 2.0 site during 2010. The feature list is not complete - I left out a myriad of minor improvements that we typically roll out each week.
Compiling this list was an eye-opener to me - I had forgotten how much the site had changed in just a single year! We plan on making even more improvements in 2011 (I posted our initial 2011 roadmap a few days ago).
Customizable home pages (blocks)
Curricula & proficiencies
Passes 125,000 members
Bronze premium plan introduced
Foreign domain support
Lots of performance tuning
New quiz design
Many district improvements
Support for class templates
Blackboard import (alpha)
Support for certificates
Ability to merge schools
Passes 145,000 members
New web site design (major upgrade)
Display of online users
New home page layouts w/ right-hand column
Ability to see schools on a map
Improved class catalog
Improvements for translators
Support for Swedish
Passes 160,000 members
Home page updates pt 1 w/ right-hand bar
Added context-sensitive help
Improved email invitations
Support for yearly plans
Ecommerce option for charging for classes
Passes 170,000 members
Added premium support forum
Lesson flyout navigation
Pop-up user information
Custom shortcuts in left-bar
Ability to launch SCORM in its own window
Ability to transfer students between schools
Doubled server capacity
Passes 220,000 members
Improved University support
Passes 250,000 members
Pagination of people
Calendar performance improvements
SCORM left-menu navigation
Simpler class configuration
Prerequisite and completion certificates
Support paypal and purchase orders as payment method
About 3 months ago I did a comparison of EDU 2.0 lines of code vs. Moodle. Since then, we've added a ton of new functionality, including:
- major upgrades to groups - improvements to e-commerce support - support for prerequisite certificates and auto-awarding of certificates - improvements to the class catalog - improvements to calendars - analytics for tracking lesson progress, assignment progress, etc. - migration of our database to Amazon RDS - significant upgrades to our online help
Here are the updated figures for our code base: - 47,000 -> 49,000 lines of code (+4%) - 858 -> 880 classes (+2%) - 6192 -> 6410 methods (+3%) - 7 -> 7 methods per class (same) - 5 -> 5 lines per method (same)
So overall, the codebase went up by about 4%, which is tiny relative to the amount of functionality. This is mostly due to the modularization of the code base and the continuous refactoring that we apply to the existing code.
In contrast, Moodle 1.x is over 1,500,000 lines of PHP. I'm not sure what Moodle 2.0 weighs in at.
"I was in my quest to find online education tools when I stumbled upon Edu 2.0. After playing with it for a while, I think it’s safe to say that Edu 2.0 is by far the most complete online educational tool that I’ve come across."
We added premium plans to EDU 2.0 for School about 9 months ago, and launched EDU 2.0 for Business (which has no free plan except for the 30-day free trial) about a year ago. Here are plots of the revenue growth for both companies (actual numbers are intentionally omitted):
EDU 2.0 for School:
EDU 2.0 for Business:
Overall, I'm very happy with the growth curves for both companies. It's too early to make any kind of accurate extrapolations, but our goal for 2011 is to increase the revenues for each company by at least 4x. At this point, this seems very doable, especially since we haven't done any marketing yet and the growth to-date has been 100% word of mouth.
"EDU 2.0 is the place I'm now recommending teacher's start their own classroom LMS (learning management system). I've waited awhile on this call - for a lot of new sites to consolidate and be built. IMO - EDU 2.0 wins for both SIMPLICITY OF USE, FUNCTIONALITY AND POSSIBILITY. Available free to all members and just follow the instructions after registration to gain admin access there. On EDU 2.0, teachers can freely and easily sign up students and create their own course environment. Unlike other LMSs, it is totally online, no downloading and servers necessary. Easy to add or change applications (of which it has a large slate - chat , video, photos, blogs, attendance, gradebooks, to mention a few). Go see yourself!"
2. EDU 2.0 is the #1 entry in this list of great social media tools for teachers.
3. This edtech blog explains why students love EDU 2.0 and why it was chosen over Moodle and Blackboard.
4. EDU 2.0 is the #1 entry in this list of 12 tools for blended learning.
When people talk about consciousness versus unconsciousness, there's usually the assumption that there's a "conscious" part of the brain that is thinking and experiencing the world, and other "subconscious" parts of the brain that are in the dark and just doing stuff without actually experiencing the world on their own.
But the disconnect/reconnect thought experiment made me consider an alternative explanation.
Perhaps a brain can be thought of as comprised of a set of regions, where each region is independently conscious? When two regions merge (i.e. integrate their information flows), they form a single unified consciousness, and when a region splits it forms into two separate consciousnesses.
For example, imagine that you're concentrating very hard on a tough intellectual problem. A significant portion of your brain would orient around solving the problem and isolate itself from other areas such as the audio region and somatic region in order to work undisturbed. According to my theory, these regions are still conscious, even thought they're much "dumber" than the unified consciousness they were part of. The audio center would still experience sounds, although it would not be able to identify them in any high-level way. Similarly, the somatic regions would still experience a movement of your leg but would not be able to articulate this in any way.
From the "dominant" brain region's perspective, the audio and somatic regions are now effectively invisible since information is no longer flowing between them. But each region is in fact still conscious in its own right. If something in the audio region was jolting enough, the signals from the audio region would probably trigger reintegration with the "dominant" brain region, which would consider the audio region as being previously in its "subconscious". But the audio region was actually conscious the entire time!
In everyday life, I imagine that the regions of a brain are continuously splitting and merging, sometimes within milliseconds. I visualize a brain as a shimmering, continuously reorganizing set of regions, and consciousness as something that merges and splits according to the topology of the regions.
And somewhere in this theory potentially lurks some more clues to the Hard Problem...