Web3, also known as Web 3.0, has been popping up more and more in edtech circles recently. But what does it mean?
Is it time for your browser to be updated again? Do you have to get a new laptop for it to work? Where did Web2 go? Did you miss that one?
Web3 is the third version of the World Wide Web, to put it, and most web3 development companies have started moving forward with it. It’s just starting, but social media has helped it become well-known quickly, perhaps too soon. Still, it’s likely to happen, and for a good reason. However, to fully understand Web3, its benefits, and what it could mean for education, we must first understand Web1 and Web2.
Web1 – The Economy of Information
Tim Berners-Lee, a British scientist, came up with the idea for the World Wide Web in 1989. Its original goal was to make it easier for scientists in universities and research centers worldwide to share information automatically. Companies quickly hired computer experts to use the Web to share information inside and outside the company.
This first version of the Web was mostly “read-only” because most people didn’t know how to use computers, and it was expensive to get online. It had a lot of text, and the content was mostly still and didn’t do much. Information about companies, brands, or organizations was the main focus. Individual content creation limits during this time, but tech-savvy people did start to build their websites, which were a mess. This led to the creation of MySpace, which led to the creation of Facebook and the start of Web2.
Web2: The Economy of Platforms
Web2 was the most important change to how the World Wide Web worked and how the rest of the world saw the internet as a whole. As the cost of getting online went down, more and more people used it, and the Web became more than just a place to find information. It became a place where people could talk to each other and share ideas. With the birth of Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and other sites, a new era of people sharing and making content began.
It’s also important to remember that the way we stored information changed during this time. People were using “The Cloud” even before the term “Cloud” became popular. For example, they upload photos to Facebook or videos to YouTube. In exchange for the services they gave us, we were letting platforms store our information and data. There were some problems with this, as we would learn years later when data privacy became more of an issue. We liked that Web2 was connected and had a sense of community, but we didn’t like that Big Tech held all our stuff and controlled everything, from the rules of access to how much money content creators could make. People have been feeling this way for a while now, and more and more are calling for a change in how the Web is used.
Web3: The Economy of Owning Things
Web3 is the second big step forward for the World Wide Web, and it is just getting going now. Decentralization is clear as Web3’s main goal. It is taking power (and data) away from the tech giants that ruled Web2 and making it clear to them that they need to change to stay in business and accept that they might not get to make all the rules anymore.
This revolution won’t show on TV; instead, it will be clear. Web3 uses blockchain technology, which uses a decentralized network of computers (called “nodes”) to ensure that no person or group can rule the world. Web3 uses ideas like NFTs as digital assets that can prove to be unique, token-gated access to content, and a connected Metaverse where people don’t just use a space; they OWN it. This idea is also based on more security since users no longer have to store their content on past platforms. Instead, a network of users will use to build peer-to-peer communities.
Education on Web3
Even though Web3 is just starting, it has already begun to change everything from the art world to the financial world. Artists and other content creators are finding new ways to connect with and interact with their audiences, while banks are trying to figure out what Web3 and DeFi (Decentralized Finance) mean, so they don’t become obsolete. As Web2 becomes less important, the education sector will have to change.
This means changing everything, from the curriculum (to ensure students are ready for the future) to how schools are run (to ensure they are, too!) It’s more than just schools accepting crypto payments for school fees, which some schools have already started to do in 2022, or looking for ways to use VR to “Enter the Metaverse.” As the Web changes, how we interact with all digital content will also vary significantly. Everything from grades to reports to medical records will move along the chain. Achievements will be clear and easy to check immediately, but schools will also be able to change their buildings in new ways. For example, a school could make it’s token and use it as the basis for a full-fledged internal economy that students, teachers, and even parents could use. In theory, a school could balance its budget this way, making it less likely that it would need grants or government help (in the form of taxes in many countries.) Similarly, the Personal Learning Network (PLN) could change into a DAO (Decentralised Autonomous Organisation) where international groups of teachers steer the education landscape into new waters.
Learning institutions that jumped on the early version of the World Wide Web were able to change the way people knew. In the same way, schools that didn’t shy away from Web2 tools were able to change how they worked with their students and the rest of the school community. With Web3, the same thing will happen. Some people will keep ignoring it until it’s too late or hard to change. Others will notice a change and ensure they are ready to take advantage of it. How is your school, college, or university getting ready for Web3?
Similarly, games like Axie Infinity, The Sandbox, and Spinterlands have made the “play-to-earn” (P2E) trend popular in the blockchain space. Play-to-earn is another way for gamers to make money, and it was very popular in Asian countries during the pandemic because it helped them make up for lost income. In 2021, investment in the game industry hit a new high. According to Forbes, this was due to a lot of money going into blockchain-based games.
One of the best things about the shift from the gaming industry to the gaming economy is that it doesn’t try to beat or replace the existing game industry model. Web3 Game Development Company will still put out their most popular games for fans who want to play them. At the same time, these fans and many other gamers and developers can also join the Web3 play-to-earn and create-to-earn gaming economy and make money from it. Ultimately, the change will benefit everyone who likes to play games.