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The internet is about decentralization and customization. Web 1.0 decentralized data access by broadening connectivity. Web 2.0 decentralized content creation by providing easy-to-use platforms to share and modify information. Web 3.0 will decentralize programming through the creation of easy-to-use and intuitive programming tools, allowing for the mass creation of individualized digital applications and the start of universal computer programming literacy.
In the meantime, the impact of this emerging wave of innovative technologies will allow teachers to more easily and more readily access the higher levels of learning so often deemed impractical in lecture-style courses.
For example, development of intuitive programming tools will allow learners to directly apply key intellectual concepts to solve repeatable and varied problems in an interactive and in depth digital environment and automatically. A new focus on generalizable rather than specific solutions will serve to reinforce key intellectual concepts. It will also make it easier to “flip the classroom” in a different way, such that students or groups of students can also become teachers and present material in creative and interactive ways.
The MITx program is an exciting initiative. However, it has not yet taken advantage of Web 2.0 and emerging Web 3.0 innovations to improve pedagogical techniques. Indeed, the concurrent development of new technologies and complimentary pedagogical techniques would vastly improve on-campus learning environments, perhaps more so than online courses.
Because MIT already at the forefront of this emerging next wave of digital innovation, we should really take the time to seriously consider how this new digital environment will not only effect, but also improve how we learn.