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Semantic Web: Web 3.0 in Education

Posted Nov 18 2008 5:25pm
EQ -Educause Quarterly is an online education quarterly journal for those involved in information and technology services in university and college settings. The journal can be received by members in print or online, until 2009, when it will only be available online.

EDUCAUSE Quarterly, vol. 31, no. 4 (October–December 2008) has been released and one of the authors is Jason Ohler who is President’s Professor of Educational Technology and Distance Learning at the University of Alaska. He's published The Semantic Web in Education and we want you to read the whole article going over Educause. However, using his Creative Commons license, we will reproduce a extract of what his conceptions are, respect of the forthcoming Web 3.0 in Education:

Currently, Googling the term global warming returns a gazillion hits, many of which link to complex data resources that link to other resources and so on. Unless the topic is supremely important to you, you won’t explore much beyond the first 10 to 20 hits returned in a Google search. The presumption of knowledge in this approach to information gathering and evaluation is faulty, if not potentially dangerous in its limitations.

One vision of a well-developed semantic web includes a search feature that would return a multimedia report rather than a list of hits. The report would draw from many sources, including websites, articles from scientific repositories, chapters in textbooks, blog dialogue, speeches posted on YouTube, information stored on cell phones, gaming scenarios played out in virtual realities—anything appropriate that is accessible by the rules of Web 3.0. The report would consist of short sections that coalesce around knowledge areas that emerged naturally from your research, with keywords identified and listed conveniently off to one side as links.

The information in the report would be compared, contrasted, and collated in a basic way, presenting points of agreement and disagreement, and perhaps associating these with political positions or contrasting research. Because the web knows something about you, it also alerts you to local lectures on related topics, books you might want to read, TV programs available through your cable service, blog discussions you might find relevant, and even local groups you can contact that are also focused on this issue. Unlike a standard report, what you receive changes as the available information changes, and you might have wiki-like access to add to or edit it. And because you told your agent that this topic is a high priority, your cell phone will beep when a significant development occurs. After all, the semantic web will be highly inclusive, providing a common language for many kinds of media and technologies, including cell phones. The net result, ideally, is that you spend less time searching and sifting and more time absorbing, thinking, and participating.

Readers and visitors shouldn't miss reading the current issue of EDUCAUSE, which is available for free on their homepage.

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