Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Web 3.0, Semantic Data, and the Connection to Education

Web 3.0, what the author is calling the semantic web, consists of intelligently marked information which computers and search engines can parse by themselves. Now that's a bit technical. What it means is that if you want to put your phone number on a website in the semantic web, you could tag it with <phone>yourphonenumber</phone>, for example. Doing this way, computers know that the data values inside the tag are specifically phone numbers.

The ramifications for education are immense once the standards for the semantic web is set. For example, search engines become infinitely more useful for students. Instead of a search engine simply matching the data values for the letters in a word ( famous person Martin Luther King Jr. is just a string of text to a computer), Google will know specifically that students are searching a famous person by the name of MLK Jr. So Web 3.0 becomes a much more accurate and useful source of information. It becomes concept matching, rather than letter matching.

Jason Ohler also warns of the possibility of exclusion when the standards committees agree upon the details for the newest iteration of HTML. For example, if the standards committee is from western culture (which it most definitely will be) the language will be optimized for western alphabetic characters. Eastern characters may fall by the wayside for the standard english alphabet, and web 3.0 may not be nearly as "smart" for speakers of different languages. While he is most correct in his concern, I feel that the committees are more aware now than ever of the phenomenon of "othering."  While they may ultimately fall short of true equity when standardizing web 3.0, I am confident that it will be the most inclusive set of standards yet.

As a future teacher I look forward to utilizing web 3.0 tools and teaching my students to do the same. Finding information and collaboration will become much easier with web 3.0. Introducing students to a wealth of "smart" information will be a wonderful tool in future classrooms, and will streamline time spent searching. I can't wait.

Ohler, J. (2010). The power and peril of web 3.0. Learning and Leading with Technology. ITSE. Retrieved from http://www.iste.org/Libraries/Leading_and_Learning_Docs/May_2010_The_Power_and_Peril_of_Web_3_0.sflb.ashx


  1. Web 3.0 sounds very efficient! This sounds like a "smarter" way to search for information versus the tedious task that it is today. Being in college and asked to constantly write at least 1 research paper each semester, tedious is using the word very lightly. Showing students how to search efficiently sounds like a simple and inevitable step forward, but this may be the best step that we can show them. As a future educator I am excited to see this and utilize this as well, lets spread the word now so that we can become prepared!

  2. Hi Nate,

    I think this is a great new technology. I hate when I search something and a hundred websites pop up that have nothing to do with what I'm searching for. This technology seems like it will make searching so much easier.I too believe that using this in the classroom will be awesome. Students will not be bombarded by information on every topic. They are able to find information on what they are actually looking for. I can't wait to use all of this technology.