Everybody, every brand from every sector of life it seems is assimilating into the world of NFTs. Starbucks just announced the launch of their web3 rewards program, Pearson is selling their textbooks as NFTs now and Gucci is even accepting a cryptocurrency token called “apecoin” for its luxury products.
Where Web2 was all about read and write (mobile data, social media) Web 3 is about read, write and own. In Web2, without knowing code, we were able to build virtual identities, unveil our inner thoughts to the world, build global relationships, and find resources for our learning, earning, and living.
Web3 is grounded more in ethos than it is in tech. Here are the most important principles in web3: decentralisation and self-organisation, digital ownership, transparency and human connectivity.
What we perhaps haven’t considered enough is how Web3 will affect the future of education.
Take DAOs for instance (Decentralised Autonomous Organisations). Today, there are DAOs buying land to start new cities, DAOs as recreational and social clubs, DAOs saving the environment, DAOs as universities, and even a DAO for educators. Post-industrial era, we’ve had several attempts at decentralisation. Think co-ops, communes, free-lancing, and home-schooling. Web2 elevated these attempts through self-organised groups on Meetup and Facebook, the creation of online businesses, and access to learning resources through Khan Academy, Coursera, and other MOOCs.
So when we talk about decentralisation in web3, we’re not talking about something new. But this is the first time we’re creating decentralised systems with technical infrastructure to support global engagement and community ownership.
The goal of a DAO is to resemble a scaled co-op. It uses blockchain to automate voting processes and fund disbursements, runs business models using cryptocurrency, publicly exposes the treasury so corruption is immediately evident, and through tokens, gives ownership rights to the community.
DAOs can be solutions for schools (where students and teachers have voting power), non-profits (where crowd-funding through NFTs is the main funding mechanism), and unions (where transparency and automation of voting systems reduce interference and corruption).
Today, there are DAOs buying land to start new cities, DAOs as recreational and social clubs, DAOs saving the environment, DAOs as universities, and even a DAO for educators to change education.
Take Ed3 DAO – the first DAO for educators, by educators. Its ultimate goal is to help educators become the catalysts for evolving education. As a non-profit, Ed3 DAO offers verified micro-credentialing courses for web3 topics, an annual web3 in education unconference, an active and curious community, and eventually, an accelerator program for educators to solve massive problems in education. The magic of Ed3 DAO, and other communities like it, is that the community benefits as the DAO grows through shared contribution and shared ownership that is often reflected in the use of social tokens.
Furthermore, the metaverse in general will open new possibilities for learners from all backgrounds and with different neurodivergent needs due to its ability to create a personalised, dynamic, human-centred, problem-based, immersive, and self-driven space.
Today, most students learn from static texts inside the walls of their classroom, under didactic curricular models. It’s a one-size fits all strategy created during the industrial era. The use of virtual environments can change that. Imagine simulating spelunking, the eradication of mosquitoes, the beating of a human heart, or even simply, practising language with an avatar from another world.
Integration with blockchain and tokens in the metaverse has the potential to simulate practical life skills, too. Students can experiment with micro-economies, build small businesses, create micro-cities and infrastructure, explore financial literacy, and more. And with decentralised access, anything students or teachers build will be their own IP for resale.
In the past year, billions have been invested in web3 infrastructure across finance, manufacturing, fashion, environmental solutions and more. Considering the impact of the workforce on education, we are not far from web3 infiltrating into teaching and learning.
The more informed educators and parents are, the better the impact of these technologies will be. And for our learners, especially for those who need more equitable access to workforce preparation, it is essential that we begin to have conversations about web3 in our schools.