The latest trend from Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg has brought excitement, wonder, and most of all: confusion. For some, the Metaverse is a virtual reality playground filled with endless opportunities, but for others, it’s a confusing glimpse into a future too far off to care about. When it comes to education, the Metaverse may be a much more integral part of the future than we think.
What is the Metaverse?
In short, the Metaverse is explained as the future of the internet. A virtual collection of all things entertainment, education, business, and pleasure that users can log into through their VR headsets. Akin to movies like The Matrix and Ready, Player One, The Metaverse offers an immersive experience for users to do anything they can dream of in a virtual world. With such a wide net of possibilities, The Metaverse has experts in education salivating at the opportunities for unique and powerful learning experiences.
Learning in the Metaverse
The Metaverse is in its infancy and no one knows what to expect when it becomes widely accessible. The idea of a virtual world where anything is possible leads to a learning experience unlike any other. With the ability to go anywhere and do anything from the comfort of your home, the Metaverse may be the answer to overcoming some of education’s most difficult barriers.
Hands-on Virtual Learning
The Metaverse can answer one of online learning’s toughest questions: How can we provide hands-on learning experiences for students if they are partaking in online learning? An interactive world with VR can provide these experiences that traditional online education lacks. When learning about a specific place, event, animal, or figure in history, students can visit a recreation of that thing in real-time. They can explore it in a 3D space and have first-hand interaction with the subject. This is also valuable in math education. Students in the Metaverse can have access to an endless supply of visuals and manipulatives that they can interact within real-time to solve problems.
A truly Global Learning Environment
The walls of the classroom are blown wide open when the Metaverse is introduced. Students from around the world can interact and learn together. Although this is already possible, the Metaverse is designed to mimic physical space. With a little suspension of disbelief, students will be able to share a virtual space with international classmates in the same way they do in traditional schools. If used correctly, the Metaverse opens up the opportunity for a worldwide standard of education where students of every culture can learn with and from each other.
The beautiful thing about the Metaverse is that no one knows what the final product will be. This leaves plenty of opportunity for educators and students alike to create learning environments and opportunities that we have only dreamt of in the past. A fully-immersive virtual school with hands-on global learning opportunities can change the entire framework of education. If supported correctly, the landscape of learning can change forever once the Metaverse is made widely accessible to all.
What needs to happen first?
Speculating about the future of the Metaverse is exciting. To think that the ideal educational model is almost possible has many educators preparing for the next step, but what needs to happen before the Metaverse can become the new paradigm in online education?
Fully Accessible Infrastructure
Between necessary hardware and internet access, the Metaverse is going to need a lot of support in the real world before it can take off. Faster and more stable internet access will be required for immersive virtual worlds to be convincing. High-quality headsets will need to make their way into every home. Until these things happen, the possibilities of education in the Metaverse are limited to those who have access.
Learning Environments in the Metaverse
Although some basic Metaverse schools are starting to pop up in the infancy of the experience, for a fully immersive educational platform to exist someone must build it. Educators and tech leaders will need to collaborate on truly immersive experiences that benefit learning and growth. The virtual infrastructure needs to be built with the goals of education in mind to create a truly valuable space for education.
Is Metaverse the future of Education?
The only answer that can be supported right now is, maybe. It certainly has all of the trappings as a virtual playground where experiential learning reigns supreme. However, a lot of work remains to be done to create a learning component within the Metaverse. With collaboration and creativity, the Metaverse sure seems to have the potential to change education as we now know it. Hopefully, with time and effort, the Metaverse can make a fully immersive educational dreamscape a reality for students across the globe.