A network of 3D virtual worlds centered on social interaction is known as a metaverse. It is frequently described as a hypothetical version of the Internet as a single, universal virtual world that is made possible by the use of virtual and augmented reality headsets in futuristic and science fiction works. The metaverse is typically thought of as a graphically rich, somewhat realistic virtual environment where people can work, play, shop, and socialize. It represents a highly interactive three-dimensional virtual world where users can engage in a “Second Digital Life” with digital avatars, explore the virtual worlds, and interact with one another.
To connect all worlds, the future metaverse will extensively support augmented and virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and connectivity. Anyone will be able to create a space on an interoperable multiplatform and join a user-generated global community where they can share their games or products with the rest of the world in its most democratic form. The G5 internet speed should allow for this.
Well-Worn Principles of Education Integrated with Technology
The fundamentals of how kids learn hold whether they are applied in schools, video games, or public places like bus stops, parks, or even the metaverse. To take advantage of these new opportunities as technology develops and creates new immersive and fantastical worlds, we must change the way we educate children and prepare teachers. When education and technology develop at different rates, technology instead of educators defines what is a legitimate educational opportunity. When “educational” apps were made accessible for use on adult-targeted smartphones and tablets, this is largely what transpired. Because the metaverse infrastructure is still being developed, today’s researchers, educators, policymakers, and digital designers have the chance to set the course rather than getting sucked into the undertow. If we are to fully realize the potential of the metaverse as a 3D, global, interconnected, immersive, and real-time online space, new methodologies are required to integrate augmented and virtual reality (VR) experiences with the real world,
This provides a way to use established principles from the study of what and how children learn to direct the development of new educational technology, bringing best practices in education into the metaverse. We also make suggestions for how the design of this new area might go wrong. Ultimately, we challenge those who are developing educational materials for the metaverse to collaborate with educators and scientists to make sure that kids have authentic human social interaction while navigating virtual spaces, that kids’ agency is supported while they explore these spaces, and that there is a genuine focus on diversity in the representation and access to what is created.
Transforming Learning Through Immersive & Interactive Interfaces
Students today grow up with internet-connected devices at home and in the classroom, which alters how they learn. Future educational technology will revolutionize learning by providing teachers and students with a wide range of new tools. Despite its unfortunate nature, the pandemic undoubtedly provided opportunities for the digitalization of education. The metaverse can connect the real world and the virtual world using blockchain technology, augmented reality (AR), and virtual reality (VR). As a result, its applications may be limitless. The future of education may be one of the many applications of the metaverse. Technology’s remote capabilities combined with constantly evolving digital possibilities have the potential to significantly alter how students learn in schools.
The metaverse requires the development of new technologies for its execution, ranging from conducting entirely digital events with large student attendance. These metaverse tours offer students immersive and interactive experiences that can greatly enhance their learning experiences. A virtual tour for students can come as close as any simulation to replicating seeing the Taj Mahal, the Great Pyramid of Giza, or the Louvre Museum in person. Without leaving their homes, students can interact, co-create, collaborate, and share multimedia content with peers from other nations. Depending on their opinions and cultural backgrounds, students can share their personal experiences. By exchanging ideas and learning about the cultures of their international classmates, they can develop their ability to understand and respect cultural differences. This will encourage immersive learning outside of the classroom settings while also promoting cultural diversity among students. A significant portion of the metaverse makes learning through augmented reality seem like such fun that students would be interested in the idea.
Fostering Joyful Learning in STEM
Learning should always be fun because children learn best when they are motivated by joy. Using the principles of being active, engaged, meaningful, socially interactive, iterative, and joyful, we created the term “playful learning” to describe how children learn through both unstructured and structured play.
However, there is one more step that must be taken for these apps to be truly educational. Learning occurs most effectively when the playful activity has a clearly defined learning objective, whether it be in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), literacy, or “learning to learn” skills like memory, attention, and flexible thinking. Learning is most enriching when it is joyful.
Developing Futuristic Skills
The ability to master a variety of skills, or what the Brookings Institution refers to as “skills for a changing world,” will be necessary for success in the workplace of the future. These skills, including collaboration, critical thinking, and inventive creativity, broaden our definition of success beyond core academic subjects like reading and math.
The focus on material that can be measured and tested the easiest has captivated educational products and classrooms. While a foundation in math and reading is unquestionably important for children, much more is needed to prepare them for the workplace of the future. The outcomes such as content, communication, critical thinking & confidence, are based on the science of learning and are supported by a wealth of research. Collaboration or social interaction serves as the cornerstone for a related set of skills.
This lifelong, deep, transferable learning is provided by the Metaverse, a hybrid, guided play environment that could be the school of the future. However, the interaction is inherently social, involving real people and real, moment-to-moment, emotionally charged interactions. It is critical to consider the importance of the teachers in this experience. It is our responsibility to explain how participation in this never-ending virtual universe adds to rather than detracts from education, and how it can preserve the essential social-interactive elements that are fundamental to how people learn.
Synthesis of Virtual content and Critical thinking Equals Creative Innovation
The metaverse is merely a context—an immersive one—that can, in theory, bring the best of digital technologies to bear on education if and only if done correctly, with learning science and real children in mind. Analyzing the options, it becomes evident that playing games or engaging in other activities in the metaverse has the potential to be active rather than passive. In this area, kids can engage in both “physical” and “mental” exploration.
Creative innovation—the synthesis of virtual content and critical thinking—allows students to use what they know to create something new and develop innovative solutions to current and future challenges. Play directly supports language and artistic innovation. Furthermore, because play fosters curiosity and exploration, it also fosters creativity, which can and should be viewed as a valuable asset in any job. The third-most crucial employment skill, according to the World Economic Forum, is creativity. Creative innovation in today’s dynamic world requires all of the 21st-century skills of collaboration, communication, adequate content knowledge, and the capacity to engage critically with that content by making connections between virtual and actual experiences. Children’s creativity allows them to create something new from those connections—original solutions to problems.
In the metaverse, the question of meaningfulness should be easily resolved. Indeed, the realities that one can inhabit can build a mental web that supports profound transferable learning if they are well connected to the child’s real or imagined world.
This technology has the potential to transform education by streamlining record keeping and sharing, improving security and trust, simplifying the hiring process, and giving students lifetime ownership of their academic records.
Thus, incorporating these into an academic curriculum will not only give our nation’s youth more opportunities, but will also create a framework that is efficient, affordable, and easily accessible to all strata of society, allowing for greater global outreach and enhancing the learning experience for all students.
About the Author – Vijisha Sahoo, Advisor, Tech and Innovation, SAI International Education Group