Teaching and Learning in the EDUmetaverse
Updated: Jul 12, 2022
Education , the Metaverse & Virtual Worlds
Anyone who is familiar with Second Life, used to meeting others in the virtual world, has some sense of what the metaverse is. In fiction, just like it is in real life, the metaverse is the 3D virtual extension of the Internet, the way we know it. The metaverse is described as the next chapter of evolution in the web, with interactions taking place in an immersive 3D space, mimicking physical interactions within a virtual environment.
To take advantage of the metaverse as an immersive 3D space, emerging technologies such as virtual reality (VR) and WebXR are a way of connecting to the physical world while simulating an online, artificial environment. The metaverse promises a VR technology that is expected to dramatically impact how humans connect and interact, particularly in education.
With the metaverse concept already present on certain platforms like Second Life, Fortnite, and Roblox, it is likely we will see a continual increase of these virtual worlds, in which students are able to participate in various educational lessons and experiences. Post lockdown, the coming year will see an increasing number of people being educated in various ways using virtual worlds to view and experience the real world, and learn in new, more inclusive ways. Fully immersive virtual classrooms with hands-on, global learning opportunities could transform the whole educational landscape.
Often the costs of attending college, or the remote location students may live in, may be prohibitive to some students. Creating these environments within a virtual world may result in greater opportunities for students. An interactive world through virtual reality could offer these engaging experiences, something traditional online education has been lacking.
Virtual learning experiences can occur over thousands of user-generated worlds, with students accessing these virtual worlds alongside their physical classroom through a hybrid classroom concept developed by EDUmetaverse creator, Andrew Wright. This allows students access from any device with a browser, whilst working alongside peers and teachers in the ‘real world’. Interacting with experts from around the world.
It is also worth noting that education within the metaverse can simulate real-world locations, taking immersion to an entirely new level. Teachers can utilize the metaverse for instruction, and build virtual environments according to their lesson plans, augmenting the learning of the student through hands-on experiences instead of reading from a book. Learning to use VR in schools and understanding the extent of the metaverse for education has different advantages than conventional approaches, such as allowing students to see historic sites, visit locations and meet with experts and peers across the globe.
Users move through virtual worlds within a metaverse that replicates features from the physical world, using technologies such as virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), artificial intelligence (AI). Users within the metaverse are able to navigate through the metaverse using avatars, which are their digital representations. Products like FrameVR allow privacy for students through robot like avatars that protect a students identity. Locking down a Frame to a domain also gives schools the security that is often lacking in other webxr based applications.
This digital world exists side by side with ours, and challenges us to create virtual connections in new ways. The metaverse is the latest technological frontier, and the technology giants are racing to create parallel social, professional and educational universes in virtual and augmented reality. We have only begun to scratch the surface of the Metaverse’s potential.
Oculus flagship products such as Oculus Rift and Oculus Quest helped to launch the world into VR, as well as establishing the value in creating content for this new format. However with webxr technologies, these virtual worlds can be experienced directly from a browser, reducing the cost to schools.
So, although schools and universities may feel the temptation to create a metaverse-twin of their campus, it is much more interesting to take students into the virtual version of a campus unlike any they would encounter in the physical world. Of course, the virtual learning environment allows for everyone to access it from anywhere: a benefit shared by the existing metaverse learning environments. EDUmetaverse worlds are built by teachers, with teachers, for teachers, and are some of the best examples of the metaverses potential to educate.
Students of all ages can become fascinated with the virtual world, meaning that it could be deployed from pre-school to post-secondary education, and then continually applied in job training. Beyond learning from students' peers, it can expand globally, connecting students and teachers from classes across the globe. Virtual Reality (VR) has the potential to make remote teaching more effective because VR allows gamification and peer interactions, which can boost students' motivation, foster active learning, and extend the social interactions between students and teachers within a virtual environment.
“Through these interactive, curriculum-based learning experiences, schools have seen a massive increase in students' knowledge retention. We’ve put that down to one key factor, engagement.“ explained Wright.
Any innovative, forward-thinking school could be providing students with collaborative, immersive experiences that stimulate students' cognitive development. If you’d like to know more about teaching and learning in the Metaverse please contact me at email@example.com.
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