Perpetual Beta vs. Perpetual Education

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Perpetual Beta: A theme for many Web services is the idea that software is ever evolving to meet the real-time demands of Web users. Rather than releasing scheduled software updates. Web services like Google will add features as they become available and adapt dynamically to its users’ requirements, which are in turn de facto ‘testers.’ ~ PCAuthority Feb ’06

So what if schools where perpetual?

Perpetual Schools: A theme for many educators is the idea that schools are ever evolving to meet the real-time demands of students. Rather than release scheduled theory updates. Educators like Google will add features as they become available and adapt dynamically to their students’ requirements, which are in turn de facto ‘testers.’

How about a little educational decoding:

Ever evolving = continual improvement

Release scheduled theory updates = In-services

Adapt dynamically to their students’ requirements = differentiated instruction

Isn’t this what we want from our schools, from our educators? Wouldn’t we all like to believe that teachers have the support and encouragement to run a perpetual classroom? One that is constantly using new methods, fixing or tweaking lessons, and continually trying to improve? If you truly ran a perpetual classroom you would never use the same lesson twice. The lesson would be continually adapted, fixed, and improved based on what the learner needed. In a perpetual classroom, there is no filing cabinet of already made lesson plans, there might be a skeleton of a lesson plan that has been used before. But each one must be updated and adapted to the new methods and tools available to both the educator and the learner.

Some people might not be able to stomach the thought of students being testers, but let’s not kid ourselves, that is what they are in today’s system. We test them with every lesson we teach. We try teaching them and then test them to see if our teaching worked. They are testers testing our teaching. What if we turned our students into perpetual learners?

Perpetual Learner: A theory of many that students need to be ever evolving to meet the demands of the 21st century. Rather than release knowledge to students as schedule classes. Learners like Google will learn information as it becomes available and adapt dynamically to its new requirements, which are in turn tested by the learner.

This puts the learner in control of their learning. They are no longer testers but test makers. They are free to use the information around them to adapt and apply their learning to a new situation. They then test their new found information against others, fixing the bugs, tweaking their thoughts, until a new version is released, which then starts the process all over again. This is the learner of the 21st century, a learner who is perpetually learning.

I started blogging in 2005 and found it such a powerful way to reflect and share my thinking about technology, this generation, and how we prepare students for their future not our past.


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  7. Jeff, This is a fabulous idea. However, I think that there needs to be some kind of agreement, or consensus, about what kind of information is important. Or else, every individual could simply pick the topics to discuss/think about that he/she wanted to discuss/think about. I’ve started a new social network site on which this type of a conversation might take place. The address is: http://classdiscussions.ning.com

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