Web 2.0 and Emerging Learning Technologies/Future
The Future: Tools, Technologies, and Trends in the Coming Decade
Introduction---What we already have now and look forward to in the future
Nowadays, we live in the age of various emerging technologies, such as high power LED technology. The emerging technologies shape our lifestyle and thinking in the term of mediated-immersion (Dede, 2005). Take computer using in education for example, in contrast to traditional learners that learning is almost individual, today’s learners can use online discussion communities to discuss with other students asynchronous to acquire the different perspectives; or use instant messaging software(e.g., msn) to contact with the students in the different countries synchronous. Today we live in the world that technology is just like the air---you barely feel it, but you can’t live without it.
Take highlight on computer science and Internet, Web 2.0 provides almost everybody opportunities to be knowledge providers and more choices to decide. Take blog (weblog) for instance, users can use the characteristic of blog---flexibility and self-determination to create users’ own world that the elements of the world may include his/her daily life, mood, interests, studies, or any other sources that you could imagine. Some tools of web 2.0 such as wiki, blog, video sharing website (e.g., youtube), Really Simple Syndication (RSS), online web service (e.g., eBay) change our Internet using habits sharply. We could even say the web 2.0 is just like a revolution to overthrow the traditional, read-only websites of web 1.0. Like success and popularization of web 2.0, trends of the Internet and websites must be user-based and community-based to share the knowledge, information without any limit.
Although we live in the age which “looks like” good and convenient, there are some problems and drawbacks still to be solved. Like almost every common user couldn’t afford some expensive and monopolistic software. Unfortunately, the software is sometimes the main stream of the field that we have to use it everyday. In order to use the software, the users who couldn’t afford the price of some specific software will try to get the “warez” (illegal copy). Software corporations need to receive some money from users in order to do researches and develop new product, but what we really look forward to is to use the software by free, open sources, and easy ways, just like the effort that Linux and free software made, rather than the vicious circle of big software companies, users, warez, and intellectual property rights (IPR). We also expect that the different company can cooperate with each other by using technologies and software, like latest notebook computer of Apple company --- Macbook provides not only Macintosh OS X operating system, but also popular Microsoft Windows XP and Windows Office. In the future, we will hope that more and more company can share technologies, and knowledge to create better, free, or cheaper products.
New technology, tools, and trends
1. web 3.0
Sun Wu (2006) indicated that Web 2.0 lets web users not only be users, but also content providers. The success of Web 2.0 is that hundreds of thousands of users participate in it enthusiastically. (So we will not be frustrated by the favorite TV program that we missed to watch anymore, because we have YOUTUBE!) To sum up, Web 2.0 represents “for the user, by the user”. But behind the bright side of web 2.0, we can’t ignore the dark side. The serious problem is --- most top web 2.0 sites got sold. Just like a farmer, we (content providers) got free tools and land from landlord (big web 2.0 websites). We irrigated our land (e.g., blog) hardly but the big websites get the harvest and glory for free! We users create our world at the platform of big websites, just like users are free workers who provide the content of big websites. The big problem we face is emerging --- the platform for users and communities to use and share is hold by some super big portal websites, so that we face the drawbacks such as, limit of sharing, not real autonomy, and privacy. So web 3.0 aims for the new era, the era of “U”. “U” means user’s power and user’s web; unlimited sharing, uncompromised autonomy; ubiquitous webilization; university (web from university, not big business websites). In the past, content is the king, search engine is the king, and money is the king. But in the era of web 3.0, user is the king, to reach the goal of: for the user, by the user, of the user. The concrete proposal of web 3.0 is “Net User’s Web Project” (NUWeb). NUWeb is a new web system which is user centric, distributed portal website and information sharing platform. It can set up one’s own website on one’s PC for free, a blog on one’s own website, with content cached in NUWeb space. It can even share directly with friends through PC to PC connection without size limitation! In short, NUWeb is a platform for sharing, searching, community, and management.
OLPC represents “One Laptop Per Child”. OLPC was advanced by the Chairman of MIT Media Lab Nicholas Negroponte. The five principles of OLPC are: (1) child ownership; (2) low ages; (3) saturation; (4) connection; (5) free and open source. It is a trend that all ages of users could afford cheap and appropriate computers to get information in the era of computer technology. The prospect of OLPC is to cut down the digital divide by providing “$100 laptop” to the child of developing country, or poor child. Although the prospect of OLPC is beautiful, some criticism like “the specification of $100 computers must be low-efficiency”, “you want to give a computer to the child in the country without sufficient food and electricity?”
3. smart phone
Smartphone is similar to Personal Digital Assistant (PDA). It is hard to differentiate between smartphone and PDA because they have familiar functions like e-mail, instant messaging software, Bluetooth, and operating system. In general, we can say that the smartphone is a mobile phone offering more advanced functions than typical cell phone. Smartphone runs operating system like Windows Mobile, Symbian, Palm, Linux, Blackberry, OS X…and etc. Smartphone offers the user computer-function-like mobile phone to let their life more convenient, especially for people about business. In the future, we can use mobile phone not only to take pictures, but also to get more and more capabilities such as chat with friends by MSN and write your blog through smartphone.
4. various USB device
Universal Serial Bus (USB) is a serial bus standard to connect interface device. It is widely use in the computer and peripheral. The advantage of USB includes: support hot plug and plug & play (PnP); high speed dada rates; provide power. Although there are various electric equipment using USB to get the power, such as USB fan and light, it doesn’t use the particular feature of USB --- to connect with computer to control and communicate. In the future, USB will be more and more important to be the standard of some electric equipment to take control by computer and become wireless.
5. new trends of the technology
The advance of technology is endless. We enjoy some joyful and convenient technology in our life. Although the development of technology seems mature, there are still advancement need to head for. One of the new trends of the technology is simplicity. Although technology products today can accomplish very complex mission and function, complex user interface will let some users feel baffled and distracted. So the “Technological Minimalism” emerged. Simplicity doesn’t mean the decrease of function, but to simplify the barriers and needs of the users. Ericsson corporation indicated “0, 1, 2, 3” four principles which represent 0 menu, 1 point to entry, 2 seconds response time, 3 clicks away. The four principles need to be considered around “knowing who is consumer”. The four principles can represent the key concept of Technological Minimalism, and no user will hope to use the technology equipment hard and painstaking.
Think about the other side
Technology can undoubtedly make our lives more convenient and comfortable, but there is a price. For instance, a smartphone can let a user own the PDA-like mobile phone (of course, it cost much money than typical mobile phone), but whether all of users need complex function smartphone? Or it is just a waste of money for general users? Before we use the technology, we need to think carefully and make the decision if the technology is appropriate or not. Like the slogan of Nokia translated in Chinese: “technology is always from humanity.” Users must be aware that to control the technology, don’t let technology control humans. Some technology research such as Robotic, Artificial Intelligence, Neural Network all concern about high-level automation. It seems that we will have comfortable life through the service of these technology “slaves”, but someday in the future, if we don’t be careful as possible, we could be “slaves of technology”.
The development of technology is still growing up rapidly. Web 2.0 changes our use of Internet enormously, so that we could provide some information and create our own land at Internet. In the coming decade, we must often amaze and shock by the newly, amazing, beautiful technology devices, but as a user, we will also be awareness of the need of us and think carefully if the technology appropriate to us.
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