Education 3.0 – I’m not a futurist, but I’ll take a shot

In application programming, upgrading versions to a “x.0’ step is a giant leap in functionality and features.  Accompanied with this technological leap in software are often many bugs and problems that make transition to new promise-filled software difficult and at times purely frustrating.  Over time, these bugs and problems come to pass through new releases of software in x.1, x.2 and x.3 releases.  Personally, I always dread x.0 releases and often wait for x.1 and x.2 releases before updating software on any of my computers, phones or tablets.

Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your perspective), the paradigm shift that took us from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0 was not as drastic as in the software world.  As we were prompted by the presentation team of Jana, Katie, Brooke and Kyla O., to recall our personal experience of the shift between Web 1.0 and Web 2.0, I had a difficult time identifying any drastic transitions that changed the way I used the internet.  My experience was so gradual over time that the paradigm shift was not evident in my experience.  Perhaps due to living in rural Saskatchewan with internet access over a 28,8 Kbps modem and eventually a 56kbps modem, my experience with the web was very limited and lagged by many years those whom lived in more urban areas of the province. Although not software related, the big shift I remember as a child at the time of the transition between the Web 1.0 and the Web 2.0 was the arrival of broadband internet in my community. Having a 1.5 Mbps always-on ADSL line changed the way I was able to use the internet.  My life changed from using the internet with specific tasks in mind and maximizing my time online as to be as efficient as possible to “Browsing” the internet in my free time and exploring every nook and cranny the web had to offer without worrying about tying up the phone line in the house.  The internet became a utility as opposed to an occasionally used service.

The world of education has also witness large shifts much like the web and I would argue that as the internet shifted from web 1.0 to web 2.0, the world of education also changed forever.  As the new “social” web evolved as mentioned by Daniel Nations, so did the relationship students and teachers also had with technology and the internet.  The internet was initially used as source of information that tried to emulate libraries and did fairly well to a certain extent, however, once the internet became interactive, it transformed into a versatile tool where the possibilities are endless.  From enabling effective communications to opening new windows into the realities of the world, students have never had so much power and control over their education. As it is said: “With great power comes great responsibility.”  Our students have grown up as digital citizens and have been thrust into the world of the social internet without necessarily having the tools to cope and navigate this vast world.  As a result, our jobs as teachers has transitioned from being transmitters of information and knowledge to being stewards and guides in deciphering the firehose of information that is constantly entering the minds of our students through social and traditional internet media.

What is the future of education?  What will education 3.0 look like?  While teachers in Saskatchewan contemplate exactly these questions through the reimagine education campaign, we are evolving our methods of teaching by keeping in mind the relatively “new” approaches related to learning theories like constructivism and connectivism.  To me, the future still looks a bit fuzzy.  I’m certain that technology and the internet will play an increasing role related to how we as teachers accomplish our mandate.  My initial thoughts lead me to believe that like Tim Berners-Lee eloquently agues in his TED talk about the future of the web, we will be in a world of linked data.  Companies like Google, Amazon and Facebook are gathering such vast amounts of data that interpreting and using that data can become extremely complex.  Finding links in data is the future of how we will use the internet and make new discoveries. I believe we as teachers will become facilitators for helping our student acquire knowledge by assisting them in making these links in data that will be freely available with technology.

An excellent example of how we need to help our kids think is presented in the following podcast by Adam Sage where Joe DiRisi goes through his scientific discoveries and how they are all done by finding links in data.  Enjoy this one, it’s an awesome episode!



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