Internet, as Barlow argues, is "the biggest technological event since the the capture of fire in terms of what it will do to the basic look and feel of being a human". This technological event has profoundly changed so many taken-for-granted and heavily entrenched concepts including education.
The educational framework that was once designed to meet the burgeoning demands of the industrial revolution was until recently the dominant approach to instruction in our schools. This approach stood sturdy in the face of the new learning theories that were mushrooming particularly in the field of cognitive science and neuroscience starting from the early 40s of last century.
However, this status quo has been radically shaken with the first version of the web or what is called web1.0 or static web but the core was still the same : traditional methods of instruction in which the teacher is the sage on the stage and the only irrefutable source of knowledge. Education was still unidirectional and students were passive consumers of content. At the turn of the 21st century the web witnessed the birth of what is called the "social/participatory web" or what Tim Oreilly dubbed "web 2.0". Subsequently, there appeared several web technologies that enabled users to participate actively in knowledge building.
Tools like blogs. wikis, social bookmarking sites proliferated in such a rate that millions of blog posts are posted daily. These principles of active production, collaboration, sharing, publishing and social bookmarking were transferred to education and hence the nomenclature " Education 2.0".
In education2.0, teachers are still the source of knowledge but they started adopting some new and more open roles like being guides, mentors, and helpers. And though education2.0 is heavily digitized but it was still operating within the same framework of education1.0. What happened in education 2.0 was only an evolution and not revolution.
This dichotomy of evolution versus revolution is the secret equation that Jeff Bezos smartly worked on to create the Internet e-marketing guru Amazon. Bezos distinguishes between two kinds of automation:
1st phase automation: in this phase technology is used to perform the same old processes but just faster and more efficiently. For instance, using barcode scanners, and point of sale systems in commerce.
The 2nd phase automation: This is where technology is used to revolutionize the status quo of things, to change the underlying process and do things in completely new ways. For example, enabling people to review products they buy and publicly share recommendations of products.
The 1st phase automation did not interest Bezos. He wanted to do more than simply transfer life as it is done in a physical space to the online world of the Internet. He preferred to think in terms of 2nd phase automation because for him 2nd phase automation is more of a revolution instead of evolution".
Applying Bezos concepts to education we would say that 1st phase automation is education 2.0 and 2nd phase automation is education 3.0
According to Derek et al. education 3.0 "is characterized by rich, cross-institutional, cross-cultural educational opportunities within which the learners themselves play a key role as creators of knowledge artifacts that are shared, and where social networking and social benefits outside the immediate scope of activity play a strong role ".
The chart below created by Derek et al. summarizes the core differences between the three generations of education. I also invite you to read his peer-reviewed article to learn more about these concepts.
A short story from Education 3.0
This story is a work of fiction. None of the characters or events have happened. Its purpose is to convey in story form how one example Education 3.0 might unfold. Where real institutional names are used it is to create a sense of reality, it does not imply any endorsement or otherwise of the ideas presented here by those institutions