For those not privy to internet futurism, Web 3.0 is a term encompassing fledgling developments in the internet that will most likely become mainstream trends over the next decade or so; the gist is that web applications will be able to greet you as if they know you and go get information for you they don’t already have by cooperatively sharing or intelligently finding data; the components include the Semantic Web, web Operating Systems, mobile and geographic integration, and heavy identity-based services coupled with data and identity portability. If I missed anything for internet gurus, comment below. The impact on education that I am betting on are primarily threefold.
1) Interoperability and Data (liberation) Portability: Course data such as title, time, credits, instructors, etc, and personal data such as education history, learning preferences, instructional modifications, etc, will become transferable across applications and software. This will increase the number of services that schools can provide with marginal additional expense, as well as the services’ ability to integrate with each other to cooperate to provide a cross-platform, integrated learning environment.
2) Identity-based Services: Services can take that data and cooperate to create distributed, adaptive learning environments and learning management systems, as well as give information to instructors that can help them scale data-driven, adaptive instruction. These services will seemingly take anonymity out of computer services and personalize learning.
3) Mobile device Integration: Services will be integrated across devices, with particular emphasis on mobile offerings that fill a void in both frequent off-site, low-commitment interactions, as well as synchronous solutions for in-class instructional support tools.
A little background. I give the Semantic and Data Operability aspect of Web 3.0 considerable thought as I build Standardissimo, a standards-based content publishing, discovery, planning, formative assessment and data analytics tool still in private alpha. (Comment if you’d like to be included in the alpha). We’ve been grappling with the inconsistencies of the data model for state standards and the lack of anything close to a Resource Description Framework across states and subjects. States don’t even try to tag their HTML so that you can easily do something with the data. They treat it like text, obliviously creating barriers for people trying to improve education through technology! I just found Academic Benchmarks, a company that solves this problem by affordably offering national database with an abstracted data model and publishing standards in XML to subscribers potentially in all 50 states for all subject areas. Life saver. Check them out if you’re looking to create solutions around state standards.
At Inigral, our biggest challenges have been getting hold of and using data sets that should, from a pragmatic perspective, be public and easily integrated into web services; particularly course and enrollment data. IMS Global and SIF are the organizations devoted to developing data, metadata, and data transfer standards to increase the interoperability of software systems for education; and I’ve found the movements they represent particularly inspiring even if the development of these universal standards are bureaucratic, boring, and mindnumbingly complicated. (Thanks to Jason Wrage for trying to make sense of SIF on his blog.)
For the instructional version of Education 3.0, Derek Keats seems to have given it a bit of thought here.
If you work in education or educational technology, think about how you can help position your organization to take advantage of and contribute to moving toward Education 3.0…. Namaste.