The term Web 2.0 or 3.0 was never meant to be a version number according to Tim O’Reilly of O’Reilly Media who coined the term Web 2.0. It had more to do with the return of the internet after the dot-com bust. However, regardless of what you call it, it does indicate a major shift in the thinking behind technology in education. As I considered what Web 3.0 would mean for my teaching and the learning of my future students it become clear that things were very unclear in my head. As Andrew aptly pointed out, “It’s the internet…but it’s really, really smart!” I enjoy boiling things down to simplest terms as I’m always telling my math students, “don’t forget to simplify.” In a 2012 article on the EDtech Website, Web 3.0 was summarized as,
“widely available videos as educational tools, the blending of the physical and digital worlds, and a web that’s capable of applying context to its processes.”
Several key themes emerge from this article but some are not necessarily new. The semantic web emerges as a major step forward in our interactions with computers. Conversing with computers à la StarTrek would potentially be more like a conversation with a human and, therefore, searching for information or creating content will hopefully be much more intuitive. The second big shift will potentially occur in the implementation of wireless links between various physical objects. Again, this is not new. Vehicles have had computer technology for several years now and smart appliances and smart homes are more and more the norm. So what does this mean for education? Photo Credit
In many ways, it may be that the lines will be greatly blurred with respect to operating systems, devices and software. At present, school divisions have to commit to single companies in many ways because there is now interactivity between systems, devices, and software. Students bring a myriad of devices into school across the world each day. I’ve experienced frustration with the fact that our division is largely Google based but many students use personal Apple devices for their video projects. Uploading and sharing becomes an issue considering student privacy and we are left searching for dangles and dongles to help us show what we’ve learned on the projector. Hopefully, in the new web, devices will be able to seamlessly interact to allow students to learn, share and grow as a community of digital citizens.
The second big piece that is already seen in education to some extent is the move to data analysis to help us determine whether learners are indeed learning. The future classroom will have massive amounts of analytics based on the students experiences using adaptive tech. Having a deep online profile will also be a must in the next web. Video will also continue to be a major theme as the flipped classroom model becomes refined. Students will also have access to personalized learning opportunities as we become more interconnected. Teachers will hopefully be able to provide more 1-1 support to students as they navigate and plan their own learning pathways.
Benita alludes to the fact that Web 2.0 is still in it’s infancy and I believe this is a key and crucial factor in the development of web advancements in education. Many teachers are just now coming to terms with things like project based learning, maker spaces, and inquiry based learning. However, if we truly think about the developments that are eminent in the world of technology, I believe that teachers will have more freedom to implement strategies for the betterment of students. I also believe we may slowly see a decrease in teacher workload as students become able to drive their learning forward on their own and learning moves beyond the physical walls of school buildings. The fact remains that the role of teachers will be to stand firm as a “guide” for the students as they make their way down the learning pathway. Photo Credit
Through reading Lindi’s blog, I came across the reality of teacher awareness of these web 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0 monikers and the reality of the fluidity with which technology progresses. As seen below, many still have little idea what web 2.0 really is. Sure, as Amy pointed out, those of us that have grown up with these technologies are comfortable giving students the chance to become creators of web content, allow them to create online connections with others around the world and allow students choice in their learning explorations. However, I think we are being naive if we think this is the way things are done in the majority of classrooms. I have students in my homeroom that routinely complain of taking notes every hour of science class for days on end. Are notes inherently evil? No, but I think as teachers we are drawn to tradition and the ways in which we were taught. All this to say, I think we still have a long way to go with the proper adoption of Web 2.0 use in the classroom.
So what does this all mean for my current practice? I hope that as I continue to develop the use of web 2.0 tools, I will be prepared for what’s to come. With the rate at which technology is moving, we may not be too far from something akin to the knowledge uploads seen in the Matrix. Does this mean we as teachers should fear the future or be wary of losing our place in society? I don’t think so. Teachers always have been and will continue to be the professionals that drive the new generation. However, I do believe we must take into account several factors as we seek to be reflective practitioners with respect to Edtech. Photo Credit
- Stay connected and grow your PLN
- Let students build their roadmap of learning
- Move students from simple search for info to network for info (Instead of searching for ‘what people eat in China?’, try to connect with someone in China and ask them.)
- Don’t be afraid to try new tools and become a master of the ones that work well for you.
The future is a place that will look very different for us and for our students. Let’s be sure that we are giving students tools for success, not simply tech tools for the sake of tech.
“It’s kind of a red herring to introduce this idea that it’s Web 3.0 or some new version of the web that’s driving this innovation,” says O’Reilly Media’s Tim O’Reilly. “I would say it’s more that the web, having disrupted media, is now looking for new targets of disruption and settled on education, which hasn’t had a great deal of disruption of innovation in a long time.”
As I continue to struggle to get my head around this, I would like to pose these questions: Other than access and data management issues, what limiting factors is Web 3.0 facing in regards to education? Does education need a major disruption? What’s our role in an educational disruption with regard to Edtech? Let me know in the comments section below.