What’s a Web 3.0 and How Do I Get One?

This week, I want to say a huge congratulations to Erin, Kyle, Naomi, Heidi, and Angus for a wonderful presentation on Web 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0. A bonus shout-out to all my colleagues in the class for whom the twitter chat #eci833chat was a first (it gets easier to read the tweets, Jennifer, I promise!). This group challenged us this week with the notion of Web 3.0 and what impacts it will have on education, students, and teachers. Jackie Gerstein really gets us thinking about this premise when she notes:

The web influences people’s way of thinking, doing and being, and people influence the development and content of the web. The evolution of the web from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0 and not to Web 3.0 can be used as a metaphor of how education should also be evolving, as movement from Education 1.0 toward that of Education 3.0. The Web, Internet, Social Media, and the evolving, emerging technologies have created a perfect storm or convergence of resources, tools, open and free information access.

Before even contemplating how Web 3.0 could change education, we really have to understand what this is and how it came to be. Even after the wonderful presentation from my peers as well as the thorough article from Jackie Gerstein, I still have difficulty completely grasping this idea of Web 3.0 and Education 3.0. To truly identify what this is, it is important to start at the beginning:

What is Web 1.0 and Education 1.0? 

According to Gerstein, Web 1.0 and Education 1.0 represented learners as receptacles of knowledge. This is when teachers were the ‘primary gatekeepers of information’ (Gerstein, 2014), and when the Internet was used mainly as a source of static information. Web 1.0 was a great advance in education, as it helped students connect with the outside world, and required a great advance in teacher training as well.


Photo Credit: micagoto Flickr via Compfight cc

What is Web 2.0 and Education 2.0? 

Web 2.0 allowed students to communicate, collaborate, and connect with others on the web. It promoted engagement and participation in the classroom as it relied greatly on social learning and social interaction. It differentiated learning needs for diverse students and was motivated as it allowed students to create, edit, evaluate, and reflect upon their learning. With it, education 2.0, according to Gerstein, created communicating, connecting, and collaborating learners. With the evolution of the social aspect on the internet came more danger for privacy and cyberbullying.

So, where does that bring us is Web 3.0 and, consequently, Education 3.0?

This is where things get a little abstract. Prior to this week, I had actually never heard of Web 3.0, and even after the wonderful explanation from my peers, I have to admit, I am still a little confused. From what I understand, Web 3.0 is a further evolution and extension of the current social web. Often referred to as the Semantic Web or the Internet of Things, Web 3.0 will know and understand everything. It will be intelligent and it will connect everything we know, everything we are, and everything we own, together. Everything will be quicker and more efficient, but with that comes challenges with issues of privacy and dependency. This Web 3.0 leads us into Education 3.0 which, according to Jackie Gerstein, is where learners are the connectors, creators, and constructivists, and the educators are the resource guides. The following video gives some examples of this Web 3.0 and what it can do in the future.

So what does this mean for education? 

This will be a huge shift in education and, I won’t lie, I am nervous for it. Who knows what will happen? The idea of everything connected, of the Internet actually knowing things and growing from this… makes you think of Skynet, doesn’t it? I’m already one who worries about too much of ‘me’ being on the Internet – one who searches for things in the incognito mode so I’m leaving no traces (yes.. I know that it’s pure paranoia and probably does nothing different, but it is truly to simply appease myself). Even now, Web 2.0 has vastly changed education. GAFE and blogging are two elements of Web 2.0 that I use in my classroom that students love – but they come with their own challenges as well. Additional pieces of digital citizenship and understanding the development of our digital footprint have been necessary to add in our classrooms and curricula because of Web 2.0. What will come further with Web 3.0? What will need to be added in our curricula and classrooms to help us prepare and train for this new development?


Photo Credit: barnimages.com Flickr via Compfight cc

Although I am finding it difficult to speculate further and more specifically on this topic because the notion is still very abstract for me, I do agree with my colleagues Adam and Nicole in that – even though I am unsure of what will happen and nervous for the changes that will come from this – I can’t just ignore the advent of Web 3.0. School is forever changing and evolving, we need to keep up with these changes and evolve with them if we want education to remain relevant for ourselves and for our students. I am sure that Web 1.0 was scary for teachers when it first appeared, as was Web 2.0. This, however, didn’t stop these elements from existing and being a part of our education. Therefore, we must embrace Web 3.0 just as we did (or should have) its predecessors. We need to educate ourselves on Web 3.0, on its advantages, its disadvantages, the ways we can use it to enhance education and engagement, and the ways that it can be detrimental to these things. We need to offer training before it is so entrenched in our curricula that we have teachers who are unable to use it, unable to understand it, but are forced to teach it or incorporate it in their lessons. We need to be ahead of the game and prepare for the inevitable – not shy away from it until it has permeated our society so much that we can’t ignore it anymore. Although overwhelming, Web 3.0 can offer so much for the future, so much for our classrooms – we just need to understand how we can best use it in the classroom to develop engaged, motivated, self-driven, and self-learning citizens for our 21st century.

On a last note, it is important to understand that although Web 2.0 has been revolutionary for education, it has brought about the digital divide: gaps between those who are privileged to have access to the Internet and to the devices that will allow them to explore it, and between those who do not have this access or this technology. As our society becomes more and more technological, these gaps can widen depending on the context in which the technology is used and presented. We need to be aware that the shift in education to Web 3.0 can and will privilege some and disadvantage others – unless we can get a head start on the proper use of it in the classroom. What this use looks like, I am unsure; but I want to figure it out before it is too late.

How do you see Web 3.0 being used in the classroom? How can we limit the gap that can be widened with technology through the use of Web 3.0 so we see as many as possible that are privileged by it? How can we get more people on board quicker, even though Web 3.0 can be intimidating and overwhelming? Any ideas, let me know!


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2 Responses to What’s a Web 3.0 and How Do I Get One?

  1. Liz, I always love your engaging titles of your blogs, they draw me in and your content keeps me engaged! I don’t know if I have the answers to your questions but I think more research and concrete learning to help understand Web 3.0 will allow us to see how it might be able to fit into educational settings. Because the ambiguity of it leaves there so many options, which is why I think it is hard to understand.


  2. Erin Benjamin says:

    I struggle with your question of how we can limit the gap through the advancement to Web 3.0. I feel that the gap has widened significantly and those in our world who are disadvantaged by lack of access are only more disadvantaged by the advancement of Web 2.0 tools and our ability to connect more with others who are privileged. I see this as only becoming more magnified with the advancement to Web 3.0. I don’t have a solution and maybe I’m just being overly pessimistic, but I worry that it will only increase the digital divide.


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