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NML: The creative generation and the semantic web

NML: The creative generation and the semantic webIn other eLearningworld-articles about the NML-generation (New Millenniumsveflag Learners) characteristics of their role as the web’s natives and the prerequisite for creativity has been described. In this article the loose ends will be pulled together and result in a future scenario with inspiration from Tim Berners-Lee’s vision of the semantic web, the web 2.0.

Tim Berners-Lee is the scientist that in the beginning of 1990s delivered the Internet to the public by his creation the World Wide Web. The foundation for Web 1.0 was based on HTTP, HTML and URL, a combination that made the web eternal. The result of Berners-Lees efforts totally lacks comparison in media history. During the first 1000 days of the existence of the web 100 000 users produced more than 450 000 websites, thousands of virtual societies and more than 150 million web-pages. Even in the web’s childhood all of Alan G. Robinsons and Sam Sterns criteria for a creative environment were fulfilled (please read Creative environment: Six fundamental principles).

The fantastic turnout was based on individual initiative and unofficial activity. Since there were no manuals the creators had use their explorer skills to find solutions and hope for serendipity. New impressions and communication with other developers was crucial for success. With this in mind the web was from its first breaths a gigantic and ever growing organisation for learning.

This spirit has progressed resulting in a load of new communication channels after millennium-shift with the breakthrough of social media and web 2.0. Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, millions of bloggers and a massive growth of open source-communities is just some of these new channels.

It is in this creative environment the NML-generation is growing up and living within. However, mostly on their free-time especially if they have not come out in the working life yet. The cultural clash with traditional school education was and still is very severe. At the same time as the skills that continually is trained in the learning environment of the web is what the working life is looking for.

However, such skills are hard to add in the CV the jobseeker sends to employers especially if she has no work-experience before. This means that the creative potential will not be valued as high as the formal knowledge, despite the fact that creative skills often is what makes a difference of how well different tasks are performed.

In this spirit the web with its different forms of media and applications deliver a solution. Learning by doing with specified goals where the result is evaluated by the teacher, and also can be showed to employers. In addition Tim Berners-Lees vision of web 2.0, the semantic web, increases status of the web as a prime learning environment:

“I have a dream for the web where computers are capable of analysing all data on the web – content, links, transactions between people and computers. The semantic web that would make this possible must grow, but when it does this, the daily mechanism for trade, bureaucracy and our daily life will be handled by machines that talks with machines. These intelligent agents that people for a long time has been promised will finally be materialised.”

The founder of the web, Tim Berners-Lee, wrote this in 1999 as a declaration for the future of the web; a prophesy from which the development during the recent years has taken the first stumbling steps. The keyword for the future web is relevance and it adds a new dimension to the web’s inner interactivity. This means relevance in concern of qualitative information that is received at the right time, in the right format, from the user’s own wishes and configuration. Even today there are a lot of applications and hardware on the market that leads in this direction. Try Google Nexus 7 and you know what I mean …

Another example is qualitative online-based teaching aids and other pedagogical tools. Could this be the way effective future learning look like? Online-based pedagogical modules that is combined with great teachers and the semantic web? What is your view? Please comment the article.

Author: LarsGöran Boström

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