My Dad, Web 0.1…



CC image via Flickr by Graham Stanley

What a crazy week. Husband working shifts, meetings at work, kids soccer and University class. Thank goodness I have my parents available to help me out. Now, I’m not sure about you guys, but when you ask your dad to pick up a kid at 7:30 and get them to soccer/hockey/curling they always show up at 6:45. My dad did that just this week. And of course, I was already on Zoom ready for the amazing presentation to come. Dad hung around for a while, listened in and even made a cameo experience (much to his horror). However, he was quite intrigued at how technology has come so far as to allow students to learn from home.

I asked my dad what his first experience with computers was. And I was quite surprised by his response:

Now, for those of you who don’t speak “Twitter”, basically, I had a conversation (convo) with (w/) my 58 year old (58yo) dad who would do a type of coding on the computers (comps) at High School (HS) that would print paper with holes in it. Then, they would get to go to the University of Regina where their computers would read the holes in the paper and create to program they originally made.

Hmmm… This seems a bit Web 2.0-3.0, doesn’t it? Using the computers to create something? Now, maybe it wasn’t connected to the internet because it wasn’t really around, but did my dad’s ts… I mean “teachers”, realize the potential computers had already even before the Internet was available to general population? Had the Internet been around, think of how my dad’s creations could have been shared! So what changed? Why are we so intimidated to shift from Web 1.0 and 2.0 to 3.0?

Let’s look at Web 1.0:


CC image via Flickr by Alex Ambrose

I remember the first time I saw a web address on a TV commercial. I can’t remember exactly what was being sold, but I remember seeing the telephone number to call for more information, and, instead of an address to write a letter to, there was this weird www. “thingy”. I knew that the Internet was around, but it hadn’t really made its way to quiet, small city Regina just yet. My first thought “It’ll never last.” But alas, I was quite wrong. However, back then, the web address was simply a substitute for the mailing address. For those “who had” internet, they could simply type in the web address and pull information about the product. No different from making the phone call or sending a letter. The only big difference was (okay – huge difference) was the information was then immediate.

Gerstein likens Education 1.0 to Web 1.0. She says:

… {it} is a one-way dissemination of knowledge from teacher to student. (pg. 85)

In my case, it was from producer to consumer. We didn’t have internet back then, so if I required more information, I would have had to make a phone call, and because we only had 1 landline and 1 phone number and no call-waiting, my mom didn’t like if I was on the phone for longer than 5 minutes.

In such a case, and back in the day, the Web was simply a disseminator of information. However, has much of that changed today in education? Is the internet used for more than a google search? Or as a replacement for pen and paper? The non-fiction section in my library would agree. Very rarely do I see students in the library looking for books to do research projects and why would they- everything they need is at their fingertips.

But kids seemed to have moved on from simply “wanting” information. When the Web evolved from 1.0 to 2.0, so to did the new generation of digital citizens. Web 2.0, according to Gerstein:

…permits interactivity between the content and the user, and between users themselves. (p.86)

This was also the evolution of Education 2.0. Bill Gates wrote in his blog:

I was fortunate to have teachers who encouraged their students to explore areas of learning they were curious about. Having the freedom to try things out allowed me to develop a passion for computing…

Today, teachers are are using more inquiry based approaches in their learning, making students seek out their answers and question what they are learning. Education 2.0, is much like Web 2.0 – we are loosening the reins on our children. We are giving them more freedom to explore, analyze, critique, make mistakes and yet still learn. Web 2.0 supports the communicate and collaborate of the inquiry method by making the world a much smaller space.


CC image via Flickr by Paul Downey

But this can terrify educators who are not comfortable with using Web 2.0 tools. Sometimes, the thought of allowing students freedoms online to create, share, collaborate and communicate is a path fraught with the unknown. So, while teachers are trying to navigate new curriculum and new ways of teaching, they are also expected to include technology into their lessons.

It isn’t a surprise that when you talk to most teachers about technology they seem to groan and complain about not enough broadband, not enough devices so all students can type an assignment or how they have to take phones away because of Snapchat or texting in class.

But when you look at some statistics from Statistics Canada in 2011, most teachers in our schools would never have had grown up with computers in their home, let alone the internet.


So, when the massive majority of teachers in Canada were born in a time pre-internet, and are not comfortable with Web 2.0 yet, how can we consider getting our students, our teachers and our schools Web 3.0 ready?