The emergence of Web 3.0

Thinking a lot about Web 3.0 today and how social bookmarking is so close to being a truly intelligent aggregator. Things like Diigo and Evernote are getting there, as well as something like where the internet is actually doing the work for us. Some of the clearest examples I’ve seen of web 3.0 tools are mentioned by Robin D. Morris. The big difference to me between 2.0 and 3.0 is that there will be a resurgence of experts….but that the experts will be decided by basic market values of supply and demand. We will need experts to show us how to collate all of the information over the internet and then make it visually accessible to our audience. We will need experts to advise programmers on how to do this. We will need to become better at analyzing data that isn’t necessarily numeric. Thankfully and naturally, I think teacher-librarians are in a prime position to do this work.

Have you seen the Web of Science yet? To summarize, it can show the researcher all the references cited by an article and then all the articles that cite it! Then it links to them! How cool is that? Here’s a screen shot of a random article:

I’m not sure how to give you access to the live information, as the University of Alberta library has purchased a subscription to Web of Science. Regardless, each one of those rectangles is a live link to the named article. It works best with the sciences and there is another tool called Scopus, but it is also medical/science-based articles. Is anybody out there using these? Someday soon, I know someone who probably doesn’t read my blog, will develop a tool like this.

How will these qualities affect the education system? Will we, as educators, have to publish online in order to be relevant? I believe we will. In fact, as the country that is educationally ranked 2nd or 3rd in the world (depending on who you’re asking), don’t we owe it to the globe to publish our amazing work? As educators, in this uniquely privileged position, we need to change our minds about being instructors to being reporters. If we did this, connected to our colleagues who were also publishing about their teaching process, what a powerful machine we would be. Our current premier in Ontario, Dalton McGuinty, got a lot of flack for trying to push e-health, joining all public health networks together for sharing of information. Now if you’re someone who hasn’t been sick this year, or have always had the same doctor, then this might not mean much to you. But I’ve been dealing with chronic illness for 15 years and I have to explain my history to every new medical person I meet. It’s very frustrating. Why shouldn’t we do the same in education? Imagine if we did a multiple intelligences test in grade 2 and entered the results in a common database. Then we could do it again in grade 5 and analyze changes for each student! We could ask it to group our students according to the results or their leadership styles or their True Colours profile! How about if a student could just switch districts and we could have their school records immediately? Shocking.

I’m feeling the push to be present 24/7 to my school community. In fact, I’m shocked when I hear that a teacher doesn’t have a web presence. My son, in grade 2, had science questions that I couldn’t answer over the winter break, but I know that his teacher would be able to explain it. I’m trying to explain how our homemade science experiment of baking soda stalactites climbing string is working. Max said “Let’s call Mr. White!” There isn’t yet a Khan Academy for elementary kids, and his teacher probably wants to spend time with his own family, but really why not?

Often times, I’ll receive an email from a colleague who wants to book me for a lesson, and I can’t reply since I haven’t yet moved away from my paper agenda. I use Google Calendar with my family, but can’t quite make it work for school yet. I received an email from a grade 12 student over the holiday break, and she was wondering which side to take in her persuasive essay for exercise science. I get a thrill every time this happens….I’m suddenly able to help from a distance. In my mind, the perfect piece of hardware hasn’t yet been invented yet, where I would jump on my Blackberry and send this inquisitive student to the Jing of how I would decide how to make her decision. I want to be able to have all those tools, my Google Calendar, my Jing, my website, my blog portably with me at all times, and oh could you make it cute and small enough to fit in a pocket please. I’ve tried the tablet thing, (we’ve actually purchased and returned 3 makes so far), but here in rural Ontario, my wifi access just isn’t consistent or capable enough to handle my demands.

I hope there are oodles of people employed to anticipate the tools required to handle the implications of web 3.0. I also hope that there are not a bunch of naysayers standing in the way of its capabilities to seriously help us reform the emerging role of the web 3.0 educator.


Morris, R.. (2011). Web 3.0: Implications for Online Learning. TechTrends, 55(1), 42-46. Retrieved January 7, 2012, from ProQuest Education Journals. (Document ID: 2264637261).


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  1. Just started reading The Singularity Is Near

    If you believe Kurzweil (and it might be wise to, he’s been remarkably accurate about other things), then the process of organization will itself become intelligently automated. Tools like ifthisthenthat still demand human direction, but we are ever so close now to algorithms that will learn your habits and then be able to preempt the need for you to try and force organization. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by accessibility and knowledge of tools, the system itself will begin to feed you exactly what you need to be maximally productive and involved, without you tripping over the details.

    Your online presence becomes a self-directed piece of your own sentience, and the data on the internet, itself exponentially growing, will no longer seem alien or inaccessible because the construct will also take care of access, ensuring a degree of efficiency that takes full advantage of your abilities.

    From a zone of proximal development point of view, this is a pretty thrilling prospect; it means everyone would be able to make use of our datasphere in a way that allows them to improve and become more effective in the most efficient manner.

    Web3.0 sounds like the next step in this age of accelerated returns.


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