Ultimately, the transition from Web 1.0/2.0 to 3.0 (to 4.0 to 5.0) is indicative of humanity’s desire to continually make tools function better. Of course as has been discussed in the presentation, and what we have talked about in previous classes – functionality becomes weaponized in the wrong hands, and it isn’t the tool’s fault. We have to keep evolving the tool because the demands and consequences of reality are exponentially increasing – the internet in that regard is a metaphorical representation of our classroom evolution. When I started, I worked in classroom 1.0, then through patches and updates I managed to work my way up to version 2.0. Some people complained about the complexity and how the interface was not user friendly, so a more collaborative effort amongst other classrooms started and my room was streamlined to a fully functional 3.0 update. Some years I got stuck in 2.5, sometimes it was from lack of support, sometimes I just needed to get out of a rut, but regardless – change is a resounding certainty and so I adapt.
The comparisons that Gerstein draws about the evolution and philosophical positions of education underscores the fact that education has to evolve alongside tech. Technology has become our primary source and gate to knowledge; it makes sense that our first instinct is to utilize the essentialist theoretical framework and situate learners outside of that knowledge – I would argue that it is the easiest approach because it shifts the role of teacher into the role of gatekeeper, it is easier to withhold knowledge from students than it is to walk alongside them in the accumulation of knowledge.
I don’t think you’ll still find a teacher that upholds the essentialist perspective in their classroom, it doesn’t really make sense to uphold that perspective in a world where our knowledge is fluid and challenged. Web 3.0 is an entity that embodies an evolutionary step in humanity’s stance about knowledge: it is an interconnective experience that coalesces perspectives into a deep representation of humanity – the constructivist, connectivist, and social constructivist. Gerstein summarizes this role concisely: “Education 3.0 is self-determined, interest-based learning where problem-solving, innovation, and creativity drive education” (p. 90).
Now interest based learning is a wonderful concept, but the implementation is something that demands attention. Even if you get all teachers on-board or if you force them and even if you have enough access to technology where students are able to access learning, how do you develop curriculum that is purely self-guided? How do educators assess outcomes related to freedom of topical selection and inquiry based methods? From a financial position: how do you assess reading levels and funding decisions if there is no single uniform curriculum? How do those outcomes correlate to postsecondary prerequisites? I don’t intend for these questions to imply a disconnect for me from this concept; rather, I wholeheartedly agree with the movement toward heutagogical theoretical framework, I just think that the questions offers some insight into the timeline for moving toward web 3.0.
Consider for a moment the outdated curriculum that is still in practice, or the way that curriculum and pedagogical movements are being shut down and attacked. Take Alberta’s recommendations of updated curriculum: Education experts slam leaked Alberta curriculum proposals, or the United States intense fear of Critical Race Theory being used in the classroom: July 2, 2021 • 33:29 The Debate Over Critical Race Theory. If the internet is evolving quickly it is because in many ways its’ anonymity and freedom circumvents the traditionalist power structures prevalent in our political lives – education is victim to traditionalist structures and we have not figured out how to step away from it.
From the curriculum position, the only way I can see Education 3.0 working is if we accept broad provincial and federal outcomes connected to reading (not necessarily a standardized assessment) and then allow for locally developed outcomes to exist within school division and communities. This process has its issues, but I think the fluidity of it offers opportunity for success.
In reference to privilege, Web 3.0 privileges the same students and teachers that Web 2.0 privileged – by extension the same privileges that exist in the regular classroom without the web: those in a socio economic position where they can easily afford tech and wifi, and teachers who are willing to teach themselves or pay to be taught. Part of me fears that the continual use of the internet, and the push to use it in newer and better ways will just deepen the divide between those who have access and those who never had access to start with. What happens to the marginalization in the updated Education OS?
What about schools that cannot afford the devices or the internet that they require? Web 3.0 poses a threat in the form of pervasive advertising and creating a world wherein the classroom becomes a sponsored advertisement for a specific device or tool (you could argue that we’ve been doing this the whole time). Gerstein addresses my fears by suggesting that it is important for educators to have a growth mindset and to rid oneself of the defeatist attitude, and I agree with the idea that small changes begets larger systemic transformations. Gerstein writes:
“The bottom line, though, is not is what is in the best interests of the teacher, the administration, or the politicians. It is what is in the best interests of the learner.”Gerstein (2014, p. 95)
Beautiful bottom line, and totally accurate in the micro-examination of the individual classroom and schools – but I think it fails to acknowledge that there is a system in place that reaffirms dominant discourse and hegemonic narratives. Unfortunately, my guess is that we will accept Web 3.0 on the macro level when there is certainty of dominance being maintained.