February 3, 2023

Publish by Tom Daccord

“Internet 3.0” has been the middle of a lot dialogue this 12 months. Advocates imagine that Internet 3.0 will unleash a radical and useful transformation of the Web. Detractors declare that Internet 3.0 is little greater than a buzzword for advertising functions. The next Q&A goals to introduce EdTechTeacher readers to Internet 3.0 and description the way it could have an effect on training.

What’s Internet 3.0?

Internet 3.0 (or “Web3”) is an all-encompassing time period for a decentralized web. Tough to outline, Internet 3.0 is actually about eliminating the ability of centralized “Huge Tech” firms like Google and Fb to handle how Web customers work together with on-line content material. In concept, Internet 3.0 customers would have the ability to talk and change info freed from firm or authorities management. In that case, Internet 3.0 would considerably change how we work together with one another on-line. Internet 3.0 could not finally end in a radical reformulation of the Web, nevertheless it has already generated billions in funding {dollars} (particularly within the cryptocurrency market) and underlying applied sciences resembling blockchain and NFTs (non-fungible tokens) are already beginning to reshape the business panorama.

How is Internet 3.0 completely different from Internet 1.0 and Internet 2.0?

Internet 1.0 harks again to the early days of the Web within the Nineteen Nineties. At the moment, most internet pages consisted of static textual content and fundamental info, and connecting to the Web required dialing up by way of a modem. Connection speeds have been sluggish and Web entry was not ubiquitous. The ‘World Extensive Internet’ was little greater than a group of unorganized content material on particular person webpages which contained little or no interactive options. 

Internet 2.0 emerged within the 2000s and, not like Internet 1.0, it options user-participation and social networking. Blogs emerged as in style particular person publishing areas and wikis inspired collaborative writing and enhancing. Quick web speeds opened the door for interactive content material and platforms like YouTube, Twitter, and Fb that give customers an opportunity to speak and share info and content material. The participatory nature of “learn/write” Internet 2.0 has given voice to the lots, however on the similar time it has largely been pushed by a handful of enormous firms, resembling Google and Fb, resulting in a centralization of person information and content material.

Internet 3.0 is essentially an try and counter the centralization of person information and content material within the arms of a comparatively small variety of organizations. Visions of Internet 3.0 are pushed by the thought of Internet decentralization and incorporate new technical infrastructure that facilitates communication and knowledge exchanges wherein no firm or authorities can management the information. In Internet 3.0, Web customers would management their very own information, and it might observe them to varied platforms and functions. 

How does Internet 3.0 work? 

In its early phases, Internet 3.0 is being pushed by new technical infrastructure that facilitates user-to-user exchanges, a lot of them monetary. As an illustration, blockchain applied sciences enable digital info to be recorded and distributed, however not edited, in order that information of business  transactions couldn’t be altered, deleted, or destroyed. Blockchain is enticing to patrons and sellers as a result of digital monetary transactions are safe and the potential of fraud distant. 

Moreover, now not will Web customers must log into big tech firms. As a substitute, Internet 3.0 customers retain possession of their on-line actions and might monitor all the knowledge they share on-line by way of a unified profile that’s saved on a blockchain. Lastly, customers can conduct Internet 3.0 transactions with out having to depend on governments, establishments, or firms (a minimum of in concept). Blockchains are the underlying know-how for cryptocurrency methods like Bitcoin, as a result of they supply each a safe and a decentralized report of transactions. 

Internet 3.0 can also be characterised by the rise of non-fungible tokens (NFTs), which permit for one-of-a-kind digital collectibles (and different digital artifacts) to be purchased and offered with cryptocurrencies. Non-fungible tokens should not similar to one another, due to this fact they signify distinctive “tokens” that exist on a blockchain and so they can’t be replicated. They’re primarily distinctive belongings that signify real-world tangible objects like art work and actual property. (The primary NFT art work offered at an public sale, “Everdays: The First 5000 Days”, went for $69 million.)

Regardless of these technological developments, it’s doubtless that Internet 3.0  will exist alongside Internet 2.0 for fairly a while and never totally exchange it. For one, it appears unlikely that Fb, Google, and Twitter will simply relinquish their appreciable stake in controlling the Web. (Certainly, Fb has invested billions of {dollars} in creating an interactive “metaverse” digital setting for Web customers.) Additionally, there may be concern {that a} decentralized Web would result in a rise in cybercrime and false info. Additionally it is potential that Internet 3.0 applied sciences won’t present totally decentralized interactions which can be unbiased of firm or authorities authorities. In different phrases, a lot stays to be seen.

How will Internet 3.0 influence training?

Internet 3.0 is about decentralization, stripping establishments of their consolidated energy and transferring that energy to people. A decentralized Web may weaken the ability of instructional establishments however present extra alternatives for college students to be taught. 

The facility to be taught and impart data doesn’t belong to a single establishment, however the present instructional system places the establishment — college, college, and so forth — on the forefront of the coed studying expertise. The establishment decides what content material college students ought to be taught, how they be taught it, and for the way lengthy.  

College students who examine in a conventional brick-and-mortar college restrict their alternatives to be taught in different environments and from different consultants. In a decentralized studying setting, college students are now not sure by the formal constraints imposed by college or college directors. As Internet 3.0 and the metaverse develop, the Web will more and more allow college students to entry worthwhile sources and tutorial consultants and be taught in totally immersive and multimedia environments that leverage each the bodily and digital worlds. As such, extra immersive speciality packages or “micro colleges” (small studying communities) will emerge. One instance is the STEM metaverse for kids aged 6-14 that leverages reside digital multiplayer gaming to be taught science matters. Homeschooling will even be extra widespread as mother and father have an more and more strong sequence of studying sources and consultants from which to attract on.  

Instructional establishments, and universities particularly, have retained a lot energy for his or her potential to supply credentials that assist guarantee skilled and socio-economic development. Historically, a highschool and college diploma has been a requirement for college students wishing to achieve employment in lots of fascinating occupations. Nonetheless, Internet 3.0 may make it simpler for people to join courses with out having to depend on conventional diploma packages. College students may purchase entry to programs with out truly enrolling in an academic establishment. With blockchain, college students may additionally report their very own studying accomplishments with out having to depend on university-controlled transcripts. 

As such, an establishment wouldn’t be the only real keeper of credentials. A scholar would have the ability to create a studying portfolio on a blockchain, which may comprise accomplished programs, instructional NFTs, awards, tasks, suggestions, and extra. In different phrases, the coed may show related studying experiences in a publicly viewable and unalterable show. Because the info couldn’t be tampered with, it is a superb car to show accomplished programs and packages backed by institutional signatures. 

Internet 3.0 will even see the rise of instructional DAOs (Decentralized Autonomous Organizations). DAOs are teams of individuals drawn collectively by a standard need to take away hierarchy from an internet construction. At present, many DAOs are business-oriented and search methods to extend entry to info, remove ​forms, and scale back the prices of current establishments. That mentioned, “studying DAOs” are beginning to emerge, devoted to educating members of a gaggle on a specific matter. 

It’s doubtless that there can be particular studying DAOs targeted on bettering on-line instructional methods. It’s not a stretch to ascertain “EdDAOs” that provide on-line courses and programs, if not outright specialty packages. Through the peak of COVID-19, “studying pods” grew to become an alternate technique of teaching college students as a result of clusters of fogeys got here collectively to handle shortcomings within the instructional system. It’s too early to inform whether or not dissatisfaction with colleges would possibly lead sure EdDOAs to create various studying environments for college students, however it’s a distinct risk. 

Extra radical visions of Internet 3.0 embrace colleges appearing like companies, promoting cryptocurrency and NFTs to boost cash. However colleges are entrenched, conservative establishments and any modifications can be sluggish and wrought with problem. Up to now, college directors and academics have been cautious of decentralized on-line studying environments the place they may not have the ability to supervise scholar exercise. They’ve been a lot inclined to go for on-line “walled gardens” — resembling Google for Schooling — that present a collection of on-line instruments accessed by way of easily-monitored college accounts. 

Internet 3.0 will carry modifications to training over time, however colleges and universities will resist them — particularly scholar independence in blockchains.  So, it is going to be fascinating to see how instructional establishments react to highly effective forces altering how we work together on-line.