1, 2, 3, 4 – Which Web for me?

“Web3.0? what’s that!” Is there such a thing? Isn’t web2.0 just a way of differentiating the passive, expert driven world-wide-web of Tim Berners Lee (Web1.0) from the two-way interchange publishing and of sites such as wikipedia? So what’s next? Well it might be Web2.1, 2.2 … or Web3.0 – no one knows for sure, and everyone has a different view. What happens between now and the much talked about ‘semantic’ internet that ‘learns’ from us and about us.

To many parents, the Internet is the same now as it was before, still confusing, just faster. Those who have little use for it at work have often had little exposure to how it has transformed our previous ideas of the workplace – and are less able to prepare their children at home. They rely on schools to teach them ‘digital literacy’. Even late teens have no idea of some of the spaces that their younger siblings use – though for both, it is all about strengthening  ‘friendship’ networks.

Today, being able to fax, email, print and use a word processor is no more skillful than working an ATM machine to employers, and not really ICT ‘skills’, more processes.

The maturation of the internet has so far been like riding a Saturn rocket. Stage 1 was de-stabilising, took a lot of effort, noise and energy to get into cyberspace and it’s approaches and components burned up when Web2.0 offered a Stage 2 of rapid shift in the way we communicate and share digital assets – but still disorientating to many people stuggling to deal with Web1.0. Web2.0 changed our perceptions of ‘digital literacy’ from ‘information literacy’.  Fewer people are Web2.0 savvy, but for those in orbit, there is massive functionality and connectivity for almost zero effort. Stage 3 will be the re-establishment of new ‘standards’ and ‘skills’. Web3.0 is yet another seismic paradigm shift, but I’m not sure it will be the ‘semantic’ web just yet.

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Which web do our children use at school?

Schools use Web1.0 as their baseline. Virtually none are ‘Web2.0 native’ in Australia. Yes, individual classroom teachers use it – but not at the ‘system’ level, we are not designing learning spaces around it. We are experimenting with some of it – and if you look at some of the media they create, you’d might be convinced that schools are ‘on the ball’. They are not. Much of Web2.0 is unsupported, un-accessible in classrooms or simply banned though vague policy. But since when has good learning got in the way of great PR.

Web2.0 is not the standard operating environment, despite its virtually ‘zero’ costs. Instead we use Web1.0 badly by blocking, filtering and failing to provide effective, systemic professional learning for teachers or school leadership. So children in school experience the digital winter. Wrong ideas, poor methodologies, un-imaginative, repetitive, predicable experiences.

According to Netpop Research, October 2008 “The research estimates that 105 million American broadband users (76%) now contribute to social media  … Photos are the most common type of information shared online … changing the face of how entertainment is defined, and giving rise to a new form of leisure built around talking, sharing, and providing opinions and perspectives.”

What does Web2.0 offer us?

Web2.0 is an ideology that manifested in tools we used to form, maintain and influence social connections, usually for free.  Web3.0 is the final stage, being explored by those digitally literate enough to have understood the impact and potential of the paradigm shifts presented in Web2.0. As we move forward, we jettison a vast section of our society and increase the digital divide. We don’t want our children to fall into this divide.

Who is paying for the upgrade?

Where we don’t like to ‘pay’ for online web-services in Web2.0, we are less opposed to mobile phone based pay-for-use content and services such as news, sport and television. We are not yet keen to return to the high costs of digital media and proprietary software – illustrated by Apples price increase on it’s iTunes business from $0.99 to $1.29 – a 30% rise in cost, which saw a 23% drop in sales.

But micro-payments are something that we do accept more readily on mobile devices and therefore will be more attractive to people developing Web3.0 business ideas.

Will schools get the upgrade?

Microsoft, April 2009 postedIf current growth trends continue, the internet will overtake traditional TV as the most consumed form of media for the first time in June 2010”, they go on to say that contend is “No longer a one-way broadcast experience, TV becomes a two way connected experience delivered via broadband to multiple screens – TV, PC, mobile” and that “see the PC move from being almost the sole provider of the internet (95%) to representing just 50% of internet usage as other web enabled or connected devices grow in popularity – such as TV, mobile phones and games consoles”.

In education, the current rush to put laptops into schools does not take into account that fact that the content creators (teachers) now hold the IP. This is the ‘upgrade’ in quality teaching and learning. They are not creating ‘for their employer’ who largely offer nothing in the way of time, equipment or training. So the content that students will learn from is increasingly ‘digital’ and licensed by the teacher, not the system. Not all students have school-based access to these teachers and resources.

How can parents connect their children with web-enhanced learning?

Mirco-payments in Web3.0 could be a sustainable way for teachers who are intrinsically motivated to use technology well – learning about IWBs, Mobiles, Virtual Worlds, Blogs, Wiki’s etc., to become micro-businesses and gives the author/creator more reason to do it. Parents could begin to select and ‘buy’ teacher developed information (which comes will massive issues about quality, copyright, ethics!).

What parents and children access right now?

Right now, most (but not all) of the stuff in Web2.0 Education is FREE. Teachers generate millions of electronic resources a year well outside of their ‘job’, for the immediate benefit of students. Most of them share it freely.

Will Web3.0 change the way children access learning?

Definitely. Much of what is ‘PC’ based will gravitate to ‘mobile’ based and lend itself to micro-payments. It is entirely possible that small micro payments to educators will appear alongside commercial models. Companies like Linden and Apple have successfully established a viable micro-payment economy, which is firmly anchored by almost nil cost of technologies building blocks. You can have a great teaching resource for $0.99 or you can spend four nights making your own.

What will make Web3.0 different to what we have now?

Web3.0 is about ideas and solutions, exploring technologies that take a further step away from traditional media ideas and revenue models. How to make micro-payments a viable global economic market-place. As early adopters succeed, they will be followed by others. In 2008, 10 million downloads in 60 days from Apple’s iPhone and iPod Touch store. That is a very attractive market.

Microsoft says “Over the next five years .. IPTV will become the norm on a TV that is really, a PC, ending the need to watch TV in real-time. Consumers will read books, newspapers and magazines on electronic devices that have Wi-Fi access. The 3D internet will become a reality, allowing consumers to virtually experience a holiday resort before they book it, on their PC or mobile phone. And smartphones will become mainstream, affordable choices. People will increasingly use mobiles as a natural port of call for web browsing, social networking, photo sharing, music, videos and other dimensions of their digital lives.?”

On the other side of this is the degree to which authors and owners of work entertain hundreds of millions of people, yet receive virtually (sic) nothing in revenue, and no one is too worried about it – as long as they can have it when they want it. It is important for students to not only respect the work of others, but to recognise that their work has a value.

Why is this important for our children?

The key point in research such as this and the Horizon report is the phrase ‘next five years’. In the next five years my kids will start High School … and I really can’t see that education is going to get past it’s old beliefs and ideology in anywhere near that time, which I find incredibly depressing. By the time they leave school, the world will be on Web X.0 and they will have had no preparation for it – as many of their teachers will have had little opportunity to learn about renewing curriculum to re-align learning with an entirely new landscape – with new models for business, hiring, development, services, marketing and so on – and this is where many of our children will be working, in jobs such as ‘demand-signal management’.

What are schools doing about it?

Will Richardson commented to me much of current global education investment is ‘old wine in new bottles’, especially in the controversial area using ‘laptops’, which leads me to really wonder how educational leaders are going to prepare my kids for a world of rapid, seismic change … when investing in people and curriculum renewal is MORE important that laptops – and that remains politically un-attractive. School are either under-estimating the size of paradigm shift, ignoring it (maybe it will go away) or investing in the wrong areas for the wrong reasons. Investment is required in people and renewal of learning strategies and frameworks to use the ‘free’ stuff that is already there. Helping school leaders establish workable solutions will lead to effective use of infrastructure and equipment. Yet laptops a already languishing in boxes as schools have no ability to deploy them effectively.

I wonder what you think will happen in your school in the next five years? What is the imperative or event that will allow change?

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3 thoughts on “1, 2, 3, 4 – Which Web for me?

  1. Perhaps the new broadband infrastructure, coupled with Rudd’s Trojan Horse (the laptops), will see a real digital revolution (in Education) to complement the political capital ‘D’ and ‘R’ one used to win elections(is this an/the answer to the imperative you ask about?).

    DET schools will have wireless shortly and generational change will see more teachers being savvy enough to make a go of it all (with the leadership becoming demographically younger). The ‘system’ will just be forced to change as tipping point becomes crushing.

    It’ll be fun (mostly)!

    • I hope you’re right, and that it is important that the system re-evaluates it’s hiring criteria for some of this stuff. Time served seems somehow less important these days. @lgresser on Twitter, great example of the next-generation of teachers – lets hope leaders too.

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