Educators Field Guide to Preparing for Web3: 3 Steps You Can Take Today, to be Ready for Tomorrow

Writing for Getting Smart, Mike Peck recently reviewed trends in web3 and the principles that guide them that can help inform practices to prepare young people for the next generation of the web. Excerpts of the piece appear below:

Broadly speaking,there are a few key principles that are guiding the growth of web3. To try and help cut through the jargon that can oftentimes inhibit conversation, we matched the web3 term with a term or concept more widely used and understood in the education space.

They include:

  • Decentralization and Trustlessness- Agency
  • Interoperability and Portability- Ownership
  • Community 

While the first two terms may be a bit new, the last one is deeply ingrained in the work that we do as educators. Let’s take a deeper look at these terms and see how they are guiding web3.

Decentralization and Trustlessness- Agency:

One of the core building principles of web3 is the idea that by using new technology like blockchain, we can return agency to individuals. Whether we talk about ownership of our finances, data, or content that we create, one of the promises of web3 is that we remove the barriers to individual agency.

This same idea isn’t new or foreign to most of us in education. In the last decade we’ve seen a growing interest in incorporating student voice and choice in the work they do. The rise in popularity of pedagogical practices or habits like 20% time, problem based learning (PBL), and using instructional strategies where learners can own their learning both in process and product speaks to this interest. Through these pedagogical practices we encourage learners to not only to explore content in new ways, but also gather skills that help them learn how to learn, and deal with complexity, keys for success in a rapidly changing world.

Interoperability and Portability – Ownership:

Much of the web today is owned by large platforms where what we do and create is captured and solely in the control of the platform. Have you ever tried exporting all your Facebook posts and putting them on Twitter? No, because it’s difficult, if not impossible. In web3 one of the core building principles is allowing for data interoperability and portability. Your data, your identity, your digital assets are yours and you can take them where you want to go. By using new technologies like blockchain we are enabling a new web that removes barriers to exchanging data and value online removing the control of platforms and financial institutions that control individual access to their services. Reducing friction in the flow of information and taking your data, assets, etc. where you want when you want.

In recent years, there has been a growing interest in providing opportunities for learners to own their learning. The systems that we’ve used to document and attribute learning to learners is antiquated at best. The use of report cards, GPA, and standardized test scores presents an incomplete picture of what learners know. In recent years, we’ve seen an increased emphasis on portfolio systems, digital badging, and other tools that acknowledge learners’ unique pathways that give them control and ownership of documented learning. This same shift can also be seen in higher education where the focus is moving away from standardized measures towards more holistic metrics like portfolios, interviews, etc., providing opportunities for learners to create their own data backpack.


From the one-room schoolhouse to the school networks and districts of today, community has always been at the center of education. Helping learners navigate the complexity of working together and sharing in the responsibilities of the learning community is as important today as ever given the fact we live in a globally connected society. Web3 shares the need for skills related to community building. Because of the peer-to-peer nature of web3 technologies, we are able to coordinate, work, and attribute value in new ways. Decentralized autonomous organizations or DAOs, are one example of this where contributors to an organization can also be owners of that organization.

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