“Metaverse” has gotten much attention after Facebook’s name change to Meta and its new goal of making the metaverse a reality. Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg and Meta aim to all but own the metaverse, including quietly acquiring critical players in the space. It has been used and explored thoroughly in movies, comic books, games, books, and more. Depending on the source, it represents variations of a single concept — connecting people from different places, separate universes, or spheres of life and allowing them to interact with one another.
In this article, we will discuss how metaverse helps in the education sector, students and their learning environments, and much more!
Metaverse Opportunities in Education
Students and teachers alike can meet up in the digital space via their virtual reality headsets regardless of their real-life location. Such functionality can lead to enhanced education for those willing to seek it.
Basically, the metaverse would bring together fragmented virtual worlds in a shared and persistent digital space. You can also think of the metaverse as the future collection of all virtual and augmented reality experiences alongside the interactions between the virtual spaces and the real world through IoT, AI, and machine learning (ML). The gradually evolving applications of a metaverse in various sectors, especially gaming, have created the possibility of using metaverse for education. It’s important to understand the concepts of the metaverse, which can fuel educational applications before exploring the possibilities.
With the help of metaverse, both teacher and student can meet regardless of their real-world location. From there, teachers can call upon their travelled knowledge to accurately inform their students. Not only can the teacher talk about their discoveries, but they can also show students in an immersive 3D environment. Students can explore as they wish, asking questions and supporting their learning with first-person experiences. No longer will inquiring children have to sit bored in a sterile classroom. Instead, they can get excited about learning, thanks to the power of virtual worlds.
Teaching and Learning in the Metaverse
Teachers can build virtual landscapes based on their lesson plans, enhancing a child’s learning with experience as opposed to reading from a book. Teaching and learning in the metaverse may sound like a far-off concept possible only in our dreams, but similar situations already exist in our current landscape.
Virtual learning experiences take place over millions of user-generated worlds, and students log in at home via their devices rather than at a school. Some of these worlds are based on physics simulations to teach students about the subject in a safe virtual environment, while others might be role-playing simulations of historical events. Such experiences represent a new form of learning in lived experiences, rather than simply reading about subjects in a book.
Important Concepts Provide Detailed Impression of using Metaverse in Education
Augmented Reality (AR): Augmented reality basically involves the creation of a smart environment through utilizing location-based technology and networks. It helps in creating a digital overlay over real-world objects according to your desired specifications. Some of the important applications of AR have been evident in smartphones alongside vehicle HUDs. The most popular example of AR is Pokemon Go.
Lifelogging: Lifelogging is another important concept in using metaverse for education and learning use cases. It is actually the technology for capturing, storing, and sharing information and everyday experiences with people and objects. Lifelogging focuses on the use of augmented technology, and some of the practical examples of the same refer to black boxes and wearable technology. For example, Apple Watch, Samsung Health, etc. are prominent real-world uses of lifelogging.
Mirror World: The concept of the mirror world also matters significantly for various use cases of metaverse in education. Mirror worlds are actually a specific type of simulation of the external world, which is actually an enhanced virtual counterpart of the real world. You can think of mirror worlds as the metaverse where visible traits of the real world are translated to virtual reality. Map-based services such as Google Earth are the best examples of implementing the mirror world concept.
Virtual Reality (VR): Another significant aspect of the metaverse that will play a crucial role in driving educational applications of the metaverse is virtual reality. It basically denotes the type of metaverse capable of simulating the inner worlds. You can think of virtual reality as a digital space developed by using digital data from interaction activities between avatars and the environment itself.
Educators can design learning experiences that utilize the nuanced movement of hands, like teaching students how to write or showing them sign language. Once the children are out of the virtual world and back in the real world, they will have the muscle memory in place, and reliving their learned experiences won’t feel any different. Metaverse learning environments can also promote safety in a way that real-world teaching simply cannot.
In the metaverse, educators will have complete control over student interactions and can limit bullying or separate children for disciplinary purposes by simply changing some permissions in the virtual space. This way, children can focus on learning instead of worrying about bullies or other distractions. Digital environments can also prevent devastating scenarios like school shootings, as children will be spread out in their homes rather than grouped in one area.
The metaverse is the next stage of the internet and it is already here. The gaming industry has been quicker to explore its abilities, but soon it will find its way into other facets of our lives.
Thus, with online learning rising in popularity, educators, instructors, institutions, etc., are looking for ways to make distance learning more engaging and interactive.