Metaverse and education, condemned to understand each other?
Many saw, and continue to see, internet as an entertainment, a hobby. And the Metaverse also looks mostly like a new entertainment space and a business opportunity. That is undeniable. But in the Metaverse too education has a place, face to face and online. Thanks to the Metaverse we can provide teaching with tools and multimedia and immersive educational content that turns the task of learning into a sensory experience.
Even then, Isaac Asimov was introducing futuristic technologies with moving and immersive images into his science fiction stories that would be used in education. Today we are close to those predictions thanks to augmented reality and virtual reality. Technologies that make it possible to recreate historical moments, elements only visible through a microscope or introduce us virtually to the subject of study instead of doing it through a standard textbook.
And this brings us to the question that gives title to this article. Should education make room for itself in the Metaverse? we have already lived similar experiences in the past with similar results. Audiovisual content, videogames, robotic toys, mobile phones, computers, the Internet… Education cannot turn its back on technology, especially when it can solve some of the problems facing education today. It is not the only solution, but the Metaverse can be a great opportunity to convert online education in something pleasant.
Integrate into the subject of study
Last year Mark Zuckerberg unveiled his ambitious Metaverse project. And one of the areas he dealt with was education. The video that heads this text is proof of this. And it is a great example of what the Metaverse can do for education, face to face or online. Thanks to virtual reality we can create virtual classroomsshare digital space with classmates and teachers and learn any subject while we introduce ourselves to it virtually.
Learn how the human body works by traveling through it, get to know our solar system by visiting each of the celestial bodies that make it up, stroll through a Roman city to better understand our past… These are three examples of what virtual reality and the metaverse can do for education.
Education has always had its limitations to transmit knowledge. And we have managed to overcome those barriers. Slides, transparencies, videos, drawings, visits and excursions to museums and information centers… But with virtual reality, learning any subject at a distance and/or from anywhere can become a immersive and interactive experience never seen.
Of course, we must avoid falling into the easy. It is not about doing in the Metaverse the same as in a face to face class. Precisely, the advantages of the Metaverse is that we do not have the same limitations. for what is possible go beyond the physical plane and offer additional educational resources to the traditional ones. And on the other side. Nor is it about replacing the teacher or the current teaching materials with three dimensional experiences looking for mere spectacle. Or impress students with lights, shapes and colors. The Metaverse must be one more tool to achieve what is important. Teach the student and let him learn in the best possible way. The important thing is to start from that goal to adapt our interactions with the Metaverse to that goal and not the other way around.
A whole world to explore
In many ways, the Metaverse is a whole world to explore. Also from an educational point of view. Obviously, everything that has been said before requires a lot of previous work to create quality, attractive and rigorous 3D content that offers a balance between entertainment and educational value, as proposed by edutainment. It is useless to have the opportunity to provide online education in the Metaverse if we then limit ourselves to replicate the physical world.
So educators and content creators have a great opportunity. Opportunity to provide education interactive resources that turn education into an experience that combine fun and learning. In part, a return to the origins in which, from a young age, we learn on our own through experimentation and play. Precisely, the best way to learn is by discovering oneself, what has come to be called active learning.
The Metaverse doesn’t have to replace classrooms. But they can complement face to face education and enrich distance education. There is still a long way to go, but we are getting closer to teaching and learning by immersing ourselves in the subject matter thanks to the virtual reality headsets that are beginning to be seen in the electronics market with prices that will become more popular over time.
Online education has been showing the world for some time that technology can be used for a good purpose. Of course, if we are clear about where we want to go. Video calls, screen sharing, virtual whiteboards or sharing videos and other multimedia resources are resources that teachers and students have at their fingertips to achieve your goals. The Metaverse will mean a great qualitative leap in terms of learning experience.
And so that we can take advantage of all that it offers the metaverse for education, the educators of today, and those of tomorrow, must be prepared. In other words, they must know how to use these technological tools. In part, because it is possible that tomorrow they will spend a lot of time in this virtual universe. And partly because his mid term popularity will make it a must have today. As much as social networks, mobile applications or knowing how to buy online.