User Generated Education

Education as it should be – passion-based.

Schools are doing Education 1.0; talking about doing Education 2.0; when they should be planning Education 3.0

with 21 comments

Schools are doing Education 1.0; talking about doing Education 2.0; when they should be planning and implementing Education 3.0.

This post seeks to compare the developments of the Internet-Web to those of education.  The Internet has become an integral thread of the tapestries of most societies throughout the globe.  The web influences people’s way of thinking, doing and being; and people influence the development and content of the web.  The Internet of today has become a huge picture window and portal into human perceptions, thinking, and behavior.  Logically, then, it would seem that schools would follow suit in mimicking what is happening via the Internet to assist children and youth to function, learn, work, and play in a healthy, interactive, and pro-social manner in their societies-at-large.

Education 1.0

Most schools are still living within and functioning through an Education 1.0 model.  Although many would deny this, they are focusing on an essentialist-based curriculum with related ways of teaching and testing.

The foundation of essentialist curriculum is based on traditional disciplines such as math, natural science, history, foreign language, and literature. Essentialists argue that classrooms should be teacher-oriented. The teachers or administrators decide what is most important for the students to learn with little regard to the student interests. The teachers also focus on achievement test scores as a means of evaluating progress. Students in this system would sit in rows and be taught in masses. The students would learn passively by sitting in their desks and listening to the teacher.  (

This description (1) rings true with a lot of schools in this age of standardization, accountability, NCLB, Race-to-the-Top, Common Core Curriculum Standards, and (2) has a lot of similarity to Web 1.0 . . .

Web 1.0 was an early stage of the conceptual evolution of the World Wide Web, centered around a top-down approach to the use of the web and its user interface. Content creators were few in Web 1.0 with the vast majority of users simply acting as consumers of content.  Web 1.0 webpage’s information is closed to external editing. Thus, information is not dynamic, being updated only by the webmaster.Technologically, Web 1.0 concentrated on presenting, not creating so that user-generated content was not available. (

Web 1.0 came out of our existing mindsets of how information is transferred, and very much reflected the 100+ year history of industrialism, with experts/businesses dispensing identical knowledge/products to mass consumers.

Derek W. Keats and J. Philipp Schmidt provide an excellent comparison of how Education 1.0 is similar to Web 1.0.

Education 1.0 is, like the first generation of the Web, a largely one-way process. Students go to [school] to get education from [teachers], who supply them with information in the form of a stand up routine that may include the use of class notes, handouts, textbooks, videos, and in recent times the World Wide Web. Students are largely consumers of information resources that are delivered to them, and although they may engage in activities based around those resources, those activities are for the most part undertaken in isolation or in isolated local groups. Rarely do the results of those activities contribute back to the information resources that students consume in carrying them out. (

education 1.0Education 2.0

Steve Hardigan noted the following in 2007:

Web 2.0 has really been the flowering of new relationships between individuals and businesses, and reflects new ways of thinking that the technology has facilitated or created. It’s about engaged conversations that take place directly, and don’t rely on top-down management, but peer feedback and mentoring. It’s an incredibly effective restructuring of how learning takes place, and somehow we have to figure out how to bring this experience into our learning institutions–or they will become obsolete. (

education 2.0

Similar to Web 2.0, Education 2.0 includes more interaction between the teacher and student; student to student; and student to content/expert.  Some school administrators and educators seem to have taken some steps and moved into a more connected, creative Education 2.0 through using cooperative learning, global learning projects, Skype in the classroom, and shared wikis, blogs and other social networking in the classroom.  But in 2013, this should be the norm not the exception.

Education 3.0

Education 3.0 is based on the belief that content is freely and readily available. It is self-directed, interest-based learning where problem-solving, innovation and creativity drive education.

Education 3.0 is characterized by rich, cross-institutional, cross-cultural educational opportunities within which the learners themselves play a key role as creators of knowledge artifacts that are shared, and where social networking and social benefits outside the immediate scope of activity play a strong role. The distinction between artifacts, people and process becomes blurred, as do distinctions of space and time. Institutional arrangements, including policies and strategies, change to meet the challenges of opportunities presented. There is an emphasis on learning and teaching processes with a focus on institutional changes that accompany the breakdown of boundaries (between teachers and students, higher education institutions, and disciplines) (

education 3.0


Education 3.0 is a constructivist, heutagogical approach to teaching and learning.  The teachers, learners, networks, connections, media, resources, tools create a a unique entity that has the potential to meet individual learners’, educators’, and even societal needs.

Derek W. Keats and J. Philipp Schmidt further describe the individual components of Education 3.0:


  • Wide diffusion of of e-learning
  • Growing interest in alternatives to teacher-centred approaches such as constructivism (Dewey, 1998), resource based learning, etc.
  • Local, regional, and international collaboration to create repositories of educational content
  • Awareness for the need of recognition of prior learning
  • Increasing use of the Internet to find information and just in time learning


  • Increasing use of information technologies in daily life and for social purposes
  • Increasing social use of online virtual spaces
  • A new definition of self and society that includes computer mediated social structures, and people outside of one’s immediate physical environment


  • The widespread adoption of personal computers and the Internet (especially e-mail and the World Wide Web)
  • The emergence of Web 2.0, including blogs, podcasts, social interaction tools, etc.
  • E-Learning platforms or learning management systems that incorporate features of Web 2.0
  • Free and open source software


The one “organized” proactive movement that I know of that is promoting a model of Education 3.0 is Connected Learning: An Agenda for Research and Design:

Connected learning taps the opportunities provided by digital media to more easily link home, school, community and peer contexts of learning; support peer and intergenerational connections based on shared interests; and create more connections with non-dominant youth, drawing from capacities of diverse communities.


All of the pieces of an Education 3.0 are literally freely available for the taking, why aren’t those involved in the planning and implementing of schools integrating these ideas, tools and strategies into their systems?  The time for planning for Education 3.0 was actual yesterday, but doing it now is okay, too.

About these ads

Written by Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.

March 22, 2013 at 5:42 pm

21 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. I totally agree. I just don’t see where the schools, districts, counties, and states are going to get the money that would be needed to retrain the school staff (teachers, administrators, etc.) to do Ed. 3.0. And that assumes we could move away from test-based evaluations, instead of the current efforts in “improving testing”, i.e., making the wrong-thing righter.

  2. So the ideas here are intriguing, just wondering how you get there for the existing system. How would you respond to the retention rate for online courses, say? Is this intended to extend to secondary and primary education? How would you respond to ethical issues like differential access?


    March 23, 2013 at 1:46 am

    • I would get there one step at a time. As noted in the case studies in the Connected Learning research report, there are pockets of innovation that are “practicing” Education 3.0 right now. If more teachers and program administrations would publicize their Education 3.0 implementations, more school leaders would have case studies to use as a reference; for ideas. FYI – some of the case studies in the report have a focus of lower income youth.

      Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.

      March 23, 2013 at 2:29 pm

  3. “A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.”
    Wayne Gretzky

    All right, you’ve probably heard it before, but I just wanted to say that this a great article and well done trying to point out where the puck is going. :)


    March 23, 2013 at 8:14 am

    • Thanks, Rossie – I haven’t heard the Gretzky quote before, but thanks for adding it. I think schools are horrible at future visioning – it is sad.

      Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.

      March 23, 2013 at 2:21 pm

  4. Such a clear and concise position on where we are and where we can be; I appreciated your post so much I’ve cited it in our school blog to help the parents of our students understand how and why we are moving towards the web 3.0 world in our school. Thanks for posting!

    Brian Harrison

    Brian Harrison

    March 23, 2013 at 3:44 pm

  5. As I was taught, learning takes place after children develop a relationship with an adult learner — the teacher. In order to foster that relationship, it is important for the adults in the school — teachers, administration, staff and parents — to have healthy relationships, too.
    This relationship building has the ultimate goal of nurturing the natural curiosity for learning that all students have at the earliest ages, and rekindle that flame when it has been put out.
    How does Web 3.0 fit into the model of learning?

    John Stewart

    March 23, 2013 at 10:28 pm

    • If you look both at the chart comparing the three and the connected research report to which I refer, the adults become co-learners, mentors, coaches, resources providers to the youth. This role develops deeper and richer relationships than that of the information disseminater, sage on the stage, authoritative figure that is common to Education 1.0.

      Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.

      March 23, 2013 at 10:32 pm

      • My experience with CS101 from is that it is possible to just focus on the video lessons and associated assignments, but if that’s all you do, you’ll only get a tiny fraction out of the course compared to what you could be getting. An important other component is the “forum” where you can post questions and see other people’s questions and post answers, and vote questions and answers up or down to make great questions rise to the top and the best answers to a question similarly rise up from the pack. In my opinion, interacting with the other students in the forum is a vitally important part of the course. It doesn’t directly show up in your “grade”, but the software does give you badges and karma points according to what you accomplish on the forum. (e.g. if someone votes up one of your answers, that is worth 15 points. If the original asker of a question “accepts” your answer as resolving what they were asking, that’s 25 points). The points encourage you to stay active in the forum and endeavor to post quality answers.

        R. Drew Davis

        March 25, 2013 at 8:03 am

      • But this is where we get the disconnect. Students (and particularly Gen X and Baby Boomer adult students) do not “see” their “teachers”, “professors”, “instructors” as “co-learners” and “coaches” happily travelling the kindly road of knowledge, holding hands together. The reality is that students, sad to say, have long experience of what they need to do – find out what is required to “pass the test’, “complete the assignment” and get the grade or academic credit. The very definition of “professor” ‘professor’ comes from Latin, its ancestor being ‘profiteor’, which means ‘to declare or acknowledge openly’. From this the Latin word ‘professor’ is derived, meaning ‘an authority. When I acknowledge to my students that “I don’t know”, that I am a “co-learner” in their learning journey, I get laughed out of court, or worse, my students regard me as “not properly trained”, and not qualified. What! – the Professor doesn’t know! Well, why am I bothering taking a class with a professor who is not an authority. There is a lot more to Education 2.0 and 3.0 than simply rolling out some interesting and hopefully fun technologies.

        CJ Downes

        April 27, 2013 at 3:14 pm

  6. Its not just the teachers that need to be trained…its the complete change in culture: school, business, world. I have students who have their fists tightly grasping a syllabus and are afraid to go off in a direction because they might not learn what they are supposed to. We are so exam driven, especially in the IB, when teaching internationally. Cram and jam, take the exam. I don’t see this changing. Yes we have the freedom to be innovative, we have financial resources, we experiment with new ways of acquiring knowledge in the lower grades, but once a kid hits the Diploma it is back to sit down, shut up, and cram.

    Mrs. Ralf

    March 24, 2013 at 7:53 am

  7. An interesting visual take on the existing problem of meaningful technology use in the classroom. While articulating the topic is helpful, believing that it will change learning opportunities for students is the key to moving toward infusion into daily educational use, and, it will have to somehow provide evidence that using technology is not only engaging, but that when students use it they score better on normed assessments.


    March 24, 2013 at 4:47 pm

  8. I disagree… many of us were creating content in “Web 1.0″ … as far back as the mid 1990’s. The power of the Internet is that it allowed obsessionists to become the respected experts in even the narrowest of niches. We wrote wikis and created websites, using technology to collaborate and express ourselves as never before.


    March 25, 2013 at 5:12 am

  9. Heutagogy, a word that I did not know that I knew. When you say ‘Doing 1.0′, ‘Talking 2.0′ and ‘should be planning 3.0′ I could not agree with you more. There are the outliers at each extreme, but the majority are 1.0, while a lot of us are 2.0 and I think a lot of us are talking 3.0, but are unable to actually visualize what that looks like or how to get there.
    I would like to think that those who are here taking to read blogs like the one you have written and think about the future of education are those between 2.0 and 3.0.
    Sadly, I believe that until policy is changed, autonomy is returned and trust is given to educators, 3.0 learning will only be provided to a small few and never become the norm.


    March 26, 2013 at 4:52 am

  10. Really interested in your 3.0 idea because I have been expanding out particularly my online classes in terms of 2.0. However, I am an educator that in the adult education space for government employees. My experience is that you need both students and faculty prepared to engage in 3.0 education, and for the most part we have neither. Please don’t get me wrong. I like the ideas of 3.0.

    However, my students have been totally socialized in 1.0 education practice (which by the way is not just conformist but stresses competition as the way to motivate students to higher performance). They are steeped in it. Trying to get them to co-create, to collaborate from this attitudinal start point is challenging. For the 90th percentile, they just want you to give them the answers. They are more concerned with the instructions to do an assignment, and making sure they follow the form and format, than they are on moonshot-style projects and creating shared products as a learning experience.

    Education 2.0/3.0 is dependent upon students opening their minds to new possibilities. I find that most of my adult students’ minds are firmly closed and are usually dissatified with you don’t just give them the “A” that they have come to expect.

    Education 2.0/3.0 is dependent upon faculty who have been given the time, the support, the freedom and encouragement to experiment with new learning artifacts. When I first started to develop my on-linen courses, I naively assumed that there would be a couple of great web-sites where I could go to, to find a massive repository of great 2.0 learning artifacts, templates that I could just drop over into my courses and tailor to suit my particular learning outcomes that I was trying to help my students achieve. Wrong.

    There is no such thing. We are all experimenting with new ideas in Virtual Worlds, using Youtube, designing online games, etc. So what happens for mainstream faculty who have no idea about these things, and for the most (at least in my institution) have little to zero desire to dive into this mud puddle. In fact, Education 2.0 is viewed as an existential threat to their way of life and teaching. We don’t reward Education 2.0 innovation; we don’t even want to recognize that a few of us are actually doing it. We label innovators as weird, crazy, stupid for wasting time on seemingly poorer, less effective, clutsy, difficult course design and development exercises.

    Formula – Empowered, experimenting faculty + open-minded, curious, forward-learning students. What a combination – then you can really do world-changing stuff!

    CJ Downes

    April 27, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    • You have an excellent and sadly accurate analysis – I especially appreciate your concluding comment:

      We don’t reward Education 2.0 innovation; we don’t even want to recognize that a few of us are actually doing it. We label innovators as weird, crazy, stupid for wasting time on seemingly poorer, less effective, clutsy, difficult course design and development exercises. Formula – Empowered, experimenting faculty + open-minded, curious, forward-learning students. What a combination – then you can really do world-changing stuff!

      Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.

      April 27, 2013 at 2:08 pm

  11. Quite interesting reading. Let me first say that though I am not a traditionally trained educator, I can say that your article “hits the nail on the head”. As a career changing opportunity, I began teaching in 2010…in China!! I began with teaching English to graduate students in the 1.0 mindset; thinking that is what students wanted/needed. About halfway through my first semester, I discovered they were more interested in “how to learn” vs “what to learn”. Having no book, no background, and no direction, I immediately fell back on my graduate education in city planning and urban development. This training was firmly based on Education 2.0. With that, I also have a military background which, believe or not, was loosely based on Education 3.0.

    I am now in on the back half of my third year and i can say with some conviction that fully integrated Education 3.0 is a long way off(probably less so for developing countries as many can start from a “clean slate”). With that being said, now that I am experimenting with project/flipped classroom learning(I would probably call it a 2.0/3.0 blend), I am now beginning to see some of my student flourish in ways i didn’t expect.

  12. Excellent report about education! I live and teach English in Argentina, and I can say that education, specially in public schools, has nothing to do with the reality that students find in their daily life.
    I totally agree with this:
    “The teachers, learners, networks, connections, media, resources, tools create a unique entity that has the potential to meet individual learners’, educators’, and even societal needs.”
    I was trained with the 1.0 system, but I´m aware of the evolution of society and the needs are different from those 10 or 20 years back.
    So I feel that we teachers have the power to help the young generations to face this new reality.


    July 18, 2013 at 1:47 pm

  13. I really liked the post and the comments. I think most of the frustration that was expressed is due to structural/cultural limitations/shortcomings that were built into the current mass-education system. Yes, that system achieved great things, ie. mass literacy.

    This in turn begs the question: what type of educational system will support/is demanded by education 3.0.

    Maybe it will look more like an apprenticeship model? Maybe there will need to be a more direct link with (all sorts of) organizations instead of keeping the school in its own bubble? Maybe the parents will be required to play a more hands-on approach (instead of the daycare model)?


    August 25, 2013 at 5:01 am

  14. Excellent article Jackie. Many thanks. I came across this as I am researching at the moment. Would it be okay if I borrow and accredit some of your thoughts for our background page?

    We are building an open free learning platform launching in May, where we are aiming to deliver a heutagogical model/approach in practice. As you say, why not take all the best avaliable content and technologies from the web and build a place where the learner, and the learning community as a whole, is in control? And why not make it with all formats, and open to all.

    Joi Ito in his 2014 TED talk used another analogy I like to describe the different in starting point:

    “Education is what people do to you and learning is what you do for yourself”

    For the same reasons you describe above, we have therefore also decided to start outside the established institutions and formal system. We want to get the learners on board first, and start with their curiosity and engagement in the learning experience (3.0) over a fixed curriculum (1.0)

    We hope and think the world is ready.


    March 25, 2014 at 1:47 am

    • Nice re: you building an open learning platform based on a heutagogical approach. Use anything you want from me – I have it under creative commons only asking for attribution. I hope you end up documenting-blogging about about your process . . . and Joi Ito rocks!

      Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.

      March 25, 2014 at 1:50 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 22,337 other followers

%d bloggers like this: