Week 7

Week 7 — The Semantic Web, the Internet of Things and Extreme BYOD

Forgive me if I’m becoming a broken record, but I am noting this week’s discussion as the most intriguing so far in this class. Topics we talked about could have been taken from some science fiction novel — and I love science fiction. What draws me to this topic are the possibilities of what our future world could become. After this week, I have learned that our future will likely revolve around the development of Web 3,0, 4.0, 5.0 and beyond.

The Semantic Web (Web 3.0) and the Internet of Things (Web 4.0) will alter life by making specific tasks easier to accomplish and knowledge easier to obtain. We are already witnessing the Internet make its move from 2.0 to 3.0 in small bites. For example, if I Google science fiction, I don’t just get links to websites. I get the definition, images, writers, top stories, films, and novels — all before I have to start scrolling down to website links. This is an example of Big Data starting to push Web 2.0 ahead into a data-driven Web 3.0.

The Internet of Things (Web 4.0) takes us away from the computer and surrounds us with a connection to the web. If I want to know if there’s a science fiction movie playing at Century 16 Theatre, I just ask my smart speaker and Siri will let me know. If I want to know how to spell Isaac Asimov’s name, I just ask. If I go shopping, my cart scans the item as I place it into my cart. When I leave the grocery store, the bill will be automatically deducted from Apple Pay.

If I forgot to lock the door to my house when I’m already in bed, I can fix that with my iPhone. My home alarm system will also become armed. If someone comes to the door at night, a camera will use facial recognition to notify me whether or not that person is familiar or not. An intruder will trigger a phone call to the police department.

So how does all of this technology fit into education? It’s a great question that is tough to answer. Upgrades in technology happen slowly in public education, but they do happen. In the Anchorage School District, the IT department has slimmed down significantly, but it has also become more efficient. Rather than having a random mix of outdated machines out there, now all teachers are using Macbook Air laptops. If problems arise, IT folks can remotely fix the problem. Projectors are also becoming smarter and more efficient, and it has become easier for laptops to talk to these projectors. At my school, printers need to become smarter in order to stop the waste of paper. I also predict that ASD will some day give students and staff badges that will do a variety of tasks: get them into the door, check attendance for classes and busses, deduct money for lunch, scan library books, allow for smart printing, and log onto computers.

I liked many things that Jason said during his screencast this week, but one quote struck a chord with me: “One eye on what’s in the classroom today and one eye down the road.” This quote reminded me that public schools will always have a hard time keeping up with the latest and greatest technology. I can do my best to bring the latest and greatest into my classroom, but big things, such as the badges, takes time. Perhaps public school teachers should call Web 4.5 “Being Patient for Things.”

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