Web 2.0 and Emerging Learning Technologies/Tools

Technology Tools Currently in Development and Beta Edit

Some believe that Web 2.0 is giving way to "Web 3.0" [1]. What is Web 3.0? Some have identified this as the creation of the semantic web, a term coined by Tim Berners-Lee (the inventor of Web 1.0). The semantic web is based on the addition of metadata to Internet- and network-based information, so that systems can be more context-aware. In terms of hardware, mobile technologies and devices continue to improve in terms of being context- and locationally-aware, so that information can be delivered "just in time." Whether it be for education, business, military and other fields, such in-time learning has been a goal for a long time and networks are continuing to grow and evolve.

As environmental sensors begin to be networked, learners can have access to real-time information. For example, my brother-in-law, who was in Californina, was monitoring the changes of the bouy elevation levels in the Gulf when Hurricane Katrina was pummeling his home town. He was experiencing the horror of the storm as he saw 25' elevational changes as the storm surge hit the coast. The real-time monitoring allowed him to be aware of more than FEMA appeared to be monitoring.

This type of real-time data access and the information that can come through mobile devices can bring information to learners about their environment; the history and significance of the place they are located; and allow them to provide real-time feedback on how a relevant object or issue might be improved.

Another candidate for Web 3.0 is immersive online virtual environments (like Second Life). There are already free software tools available for converting 2D Web sites into 3D virtual environments navigable by avatars[2]. This may be part of a growing trend toward visualization of information in virtual environments and augmented reality.