Sunday, 18 May 2014

Teaching Through a Web in Evolution: Web 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0

In the previous post we surfed through basic concepts that XXI-century teachers must be aware of, such as mobile learning, e-learning and so on. As we did, we should have realized how teaching and learning typologies have fed from the web, and therefore, its evolution has inevitably caused changes in the way technology is used in ELT. As the web evolves, teachers, instructional designers, trainers, have to adapt their infrastructure for interacting and delivering content.

Therefore, it’s necessary for teachers to know the basics about the evolution of the web in order to understand changes in the part technology plays in the ELT classroom and moreover, how further development of the web is reshaping and will impact the way we teach.
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The first generation sites, better known as Web 1.0, were introduced in the 1980s with the creation of the World Wide Web (WWW) interface. These sites were mostly read only and mainly with the sole purpose to share information; it was some kind of library in which we could access information on the web, but this information couldn’t be changed by the general users in any way, being the owner of the site the only one who could carry out any modification. Also, some knowledge of programming was necessary to create and modify a site.
However, 2000 brought the rise of the Social Web or Web 2.0, with sites such as Facebook and Amazon. We can still use it to receive information as passive readers, but its particularity lies on the fact that users can also contribute with their own knowledge and experience (user-contributed content), making it more interactive and highly collaborative. Sites such as Blogger or Wikipedia allow the users to modify the content without the need of a particular knowledge of programming; in other words, Web 2.0 meant a more useful-friendly framework.

But innovations in Artificial Intelligence and in computer science have occurred so fast that, without even noticing, a different internet, the Web 3.0, is emerging. Also known as the Semantic Web, it is proposed to be a web capable to understand human-produced content. It is believed to be a continuation of Web 2.0 in a certain way, but, even though websites in the Web 2.0 somehow communicate, in the Web 3.0 they’ll not only share information, but will be able to understand this information (understanding of natural language), analyze it and produce the results expected by the user. It’s focused on the individual, since the more a user uses the web, the more this learns from the proper user (interests, job, etc.) and the more able to anticipate the user’s needs. Previously, we mentioned how society is becoming more and more mobile, and this is likely to increase in the near future, when Web 3.0 make the internet more and more invisible, not only found in a computer, a mobile or a tablet, but also in our home appliances and clothes.

This may seem already amazing for us, but this is already happening, and further changes are expected: a Web 4.0 or Virtual Web, which would transform the web in a digital landscape, is already foreseen and changes are expected to show firstly in the development of online massive role-playing videogames.

How will teachers adapt and incorporate these technologies into their classrooms? We’ll find the way when the time comes. Using the web has proven to be tremendously useful and beneficial for ELT, and this is not likely to change since such promising technologies are to come. If you’re interested in this topic and would like to read about it more in detail, you can take a look at the documents below:

‘Adding Intelligence to Internet: Service Web 3.0’ by Deependra Kr. Dwivedi and others, is an interesting paper which goes through the evolution of the web and how Web 3.0 should work in terms of data organization and its relation with the user.

Another useful resource is ‘World Wide Web in the Service of Scholling: Semantic Web as a Solution for Language Teaching in Cypriot Secondary School’, written by Neofytou Chrystalla, in which the author analyzes the advantages of the Semantic Web in teaching secondary school, specifically to facilitate the user, whether be teachers or learners, to choose appropriate texts for their learning process.

Finally, we recommend you to read ‘Semantic Web Technology for Web-Based Teaching and Learning: A Roadmap’ by Edmond Holohan and Claus Pahl’, which will provide you with more in-depth information regarding the possible future uses of the Semantic Web, particularly in distance and computer-aided teaching and learning.

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