Future of Education in Metaverse Era
The metaverse is a digital environment empowering users to construct unique virtual spaces. It enables people across the globe to interact in a more human way than other methods allow.
People can use the metaverse to connect with one another virtually, no matter where they are. Any user, in any part of the world, can slip their headset on or use a browser to enter a virtual space, ready to enjoy face-to-face meetings with others digitally.
Essentially, the metaverse is a virtual representation of the world we inhabit every day, though developers and users can customize it to suit their personal vision. The technology enables users to build a vast range of properties, including sports stadiums, schools, and even homes for them to own — all in a digital realm.
The metaverse also provides us all with a new way to be with friends and relatives even when real-world factors (e.g. pandemics and natural disasters) make that physically difficult (if not impossible).
What Opportunities Does the Metaverse Present for Educators?
Both teachers and students are free to meet in the metaverse through their virtual reality headsets rather than coming together in a real-world classroom. This flexibility can create enhanced education experiences for anyone prepared to try it.
The prospect of a persistent alternate reality creates almost limitless opportunities, particularly in the world of education. It’s easy to imagine a scenario in which students learn in a virtual classroom without needing to get to a brick-and-mortar school or college.
Let’s say we have a room filled with excited students keen to learn about geography. These individuals are logging in from all over the world, and the teacher travels far and wide to boost their understanding of geographical studies.
In the age of the metaverse, the teacher and their students can connect despite the vast physical distances between them. Educators can use their knowledge and skills to provide students in any number of locations with the insights they need to learn.
Additionally, schools in the metaverse empower teachers to present information visually in an immersive, exciting 3D space. They can present students with a realistic recreation of an iconic landmark and allow them to explore at their leisure. Teachers can answer questions and support learning in a more engaging way than ever too.
Children won’t be stuck in classrooms for hours on end — virtual worlds will help them enjoy a more engaging form of learning.
Teaching and Expanding Knowledge in the Metaverse
Teachers can construct virtual environments to suit their lesson plans, which will help to enhance students’ learning with an interactive experience rather than simply reading from a book.
Once upon a time, the idea of teachers educating children in a virtual environment was the stuff of science fiction. But teaching and learning in the metaverse will change that. And it’s already available in other ways.
In some cases, these virtual worlds will focus on physics simulations so that kids can learn in a safe virtual space. In others, though, students could take part in role-playing recreations of key events from the past. These experiences would bring children a new way to learn through immersive experiences as opposed to reading about them or watching a documentary.
Pros of Learning Environments in the Metaverse
Using virtual reality to learn in school offers a variety of advantages over traditional teaching systems. Kids can explore historical events and locations that no longer exist safely, without traveling, and even undertake science experiments without putting themselves (or others) at risk.
Metaverse environments provide users with the means to access virtual learning experiences online. However, they fall short of achieving the same quality as the metaverse for a number of reasons.
One of the most important is the aesthetic potential. Environments within the metaverse aren’t restricted to a particular visual style, while platforms like Roblox, Fortnite, and Minecraft feature recognizably cartoony graphics that could be distracting to students. With those titles, kids may feel as if they’re playing a game instead of learning.
But metaverse environments can be constructed with a more realistic aesthetic. As a result, teachers will be able to build stunning environments that capture the imaginations of students of all ages. Metaverse locations can also convincingly recreate locations from the real world and take immersion to entirely new heights.
Additionally, metaverse environments allow for greater physical interactions, as virtual reality controllers and headsets are created to facilitate a natural feeling. Headsets can provide users with virtual hands while they’re exploring the metaverse, for a more tactile experience.
That means teachers can devise virtual lessons that incorporate touch and movement, such as showing them how to write in a particular style. Students will develop muscle memory that lets them apply what they have learned in the real world.
Learning environments in the metaverse can also be safer than real-world classrooms. Teachers will have total control over interactions between students, and can help prevent bullying behavior or split kids up by tweaking permissions. Students will be free to concentrate without the fear of other children’s bad behavior or other potential distractions. Virtual classrooms cannot be targeted by school shooters, either, as kids will learn safely at home.
Cons of Learning Environments in the Metaverse
Yes, the metaverse offers educators and students a number of benefits, but there are potential drawbacks to keep in mind too. For example, kids living with hearing loss, impaired vision, and other disabilities may be unable to receive the special assistance or support required.
A student with impaired hearing would struggle to take part in a metaverse class hosted by a school they don’t currently attend, as that school may be unable to cater to the individual’s requirements.
In a case like this, the parents would be responsible for accommodating the child’s needs rather than the school. That could be a problem for many users: while most schools offer real-world support for children with disabilities, addressing the same needs virtually may be different.
With all this in mind, we should recognize that the risk of becoming addicted to the metaverse could be a problem for adults and children alike. A student who uses their virtual reality device for both entertainment and learning will spend a lot of time in a virtual world each week. As a result, they could neglect their real-world life. It’s crucial that users strike a healthy balance.
Accessibility is another vital consideration. Education in the metaverse will only truly thrive if it becomes easier and more affordable for households to secure virtual reality equipment worldwide. If not, only a small number of people will be able to take advantage of the technology and the opportunities it affords.