Will Web 3.0 Pigeonhole Students?

*Podcast of this post can be found here.

This week we were asked to take into consideration Jackie Gerstein‘s metaphor and discuss what impacts the shift to Web 3.0 has on education? Further we were asked what types of students and teachers are privileged/disadvantaged by the shift to Web 3.0?

Before we dive into that question, I thought it would be beneficial to review my understandings (from the readings) of Web 1.0-3.0 and the fundamental differences of each.

Web 1.0 views all learners as being ‘the same’. The teacher is the keeper of information and directs student’s learning. The emphasis is on the 3 R’s (receiving– listening to tea5623073342_60b2d9cb12_mcher, responding– talking notes and regurgitating students all take same assessment). The learning theory in alignment with Web 1.0 is behaviourism. Web 1.0, for example, allowed users to look up information from an online encyclopedia such as Encarta. Users of Web 1.0 no longer required a shelf full of encyclopedia’s, as all of the knowledge contained in those heavy encyclopedia books, was condensed into one light weight CD ROM. Web 1.0, also known as the World Wide Web, was very exciting for its time.

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Web 2.0 in my mind is the ‘social web’. It encourages more interact between teachers and students. The teacher continues to direct student’s learning. Web 2.0 enables students to look up a word in Wikipedia rather than on Encarta’s CDROM. The major shift in using Wikipedia, is that student’s can instantly change the Wikipedia definition 4037217553_30e35161c4_mthemselves based on new/instant information they receive. Under the umbrella of Web 2.0, student’s are seen as co-constructors of the web.  Skype in the classroom  and blogging are examples of Web 2.0 in action. In regards to learning theories, Web 2.0 is in alignment with constructivism and connectivism

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7158942356_0bee586f93_mWeb 3.0 has an emphasis on the 3 C’s; learner’s being connectorscreators and constructivists. Web 3.0’s keyword that differentiates it from Web 2.0, in my opinion is ‘personalized’.  Web 3.0,  also known as the Semantic Web, will be able to individually tailor our searches based on personal needs or interests. Web 3.0 will collect data and streamline the overabundance of information for us. With the introduction to Web 3.0, our students are being seen as “self-determined learners.” I hope that society will see a major shift not only in the role of the student, but also in the role of the teacher. The belief, with the introduction of Web 3.0, is that teachers will facilitate student’s learning rather than direct it. In regards to the shift in education to Web 3.0, Jackie Gerstein’s article states,

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“There is an emphasis on learning and teaching processes with the breakdown of boundaries (between teachers and students, institutions and disciplines (Keats & Schmidt, 2007, para. 9)”

Although Web 3.0 is still in its early creation, it holds much promise in shifting HOW our student’s learn. I predict that Web 3.0 will continue to make learning more engaging for students as it will be individually tailored for their needs.

Education 3.0 is characterized by educational opportunities where the learners themselves play a key role as creators of knowledge artifacts that are shared, and where social networking and social benefits play a strong role in learning.”

In response to Kyle’s post, Erin asked “I wonder if my young students have even been alive long enough to have built up the learning communities which could lead to interest-based learning online?” I too am having a difficult time imagining what a learning community would look like in early childhood or the primary classrooms. I replied to Erin that “(w)orking on getting students to be comfortable learning in ‘our classroom environment’ comes first. We need to help build confidence to take risks within four walls before pushing (our students) to develop their learning network online. I think students would have the skills and emotional readiness for ‘self-directed’ learning online about grade 3.” Do you agree? Please share your thoughts.

Students that are privileged/disadvantaged

I do have concerns that Web 3.0 could potentially be pigeonholing students from different socioeconomic levels. Web 3.0 will have collected enough data on my students pre-entrance to kindergarten, that it will be able to ‘customize’ student’s searches engine results for them. (The web can already do this to a certain extend now.) My students who will be at a disadvantage, are the students who do not have consistent adults in their lives to guide them and advocate for them.  What if the web is their opponent as opposed to their adversary?

Allow me to clarify with an example. If my class was undertaking an inquiry project on ‘community helpers’ and ‘careers’, would my disadvantaged students only be presented careers that the search engine deemed were within their reach? This is a major concern I have for student’s coming from different socio-economic levels. Are the more affluent student’s searches going to be directed towards being lawyers, bio-chemists? Perhaps they do have a greater likelihood in achieving those fields because they have the finances and appropriate support system in place to guide them through their degree, however, is this morally where we want to go? I would hope society, as creators of Web 3.0 takes this, among many other issues, into consideration in its design. As Jason Ohler asks in the video below, “when do we talk (or even think) about this stuff?”

It is my hope that Web 3.0 keeps the world of possibilities open to my energetic, passionate 4 and 5 year olds. Creators of Web 3.0 (all of us), please do not squash children’s dreams and streamline them into careers based on data collected from such a young, easy influenced and impressionable, vulnerable age.

Questions to ponder:

In your role, how can you influence the development and content of  Web 3.0?

Do you feel as powerless as I do?

Do you also have a fear that your students could be placed into an unwanted mold?

Please let me know your thoughts. If you are looking to gain further knowledge on the functions of Web 3.0, take a look at this video.

Thanks for your time.


3 thoughts on “Will Web 3.0 Pigeonhole Students?

  1. Erin Benjamin says:

    Great post Launel! I would have to agree that grade 3 could be a good starting point to do some self-directed learning although I imagine, a lot of modelling would still need to occur at this level. I agree that building students’ confidence and creating a positive learning environment would need to occur first before students feel comfortable in exploring and sharing personal interests. I wonder if a “learning-buddy” program could allow even younger students to explore personal interests. If an older class was experienced in something like Genius Hour, maybe they could model and guide a younger student to drive his/her learning on a much smaller scale?


    • launelheinen says:

      I think a learning buddy program would be a great idea for modelling appropriate use etc. Could take a while to set up. It would be great if those buddies could stick with our little guys for SEVERAL years. A “looped” buddy support system 🙂


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