Part 2 - Metaverse in Education

Part 2 - Metaverse in Education

02 Mar 2022

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This informal CPD article is Part 2 of the “Metaverse” provided by Vasilis Palilis director of WIDE Training Academy of the WIDE Services company.

In this article, we explore Metaverse applications in education/training.

The article comprises 2 parts.

1. In the first part, "Metaverse?", we discuss what the Metaverse is.

2 In the second part, "Education in Metaverse", we explore existing (and future) applications of Metaverse in education.

Let’s embark upon the 2nd part.

Part 2 - Metaverse in Education

The debate that has begun about the Metaverse is taking place in parallel with another major debate in the field of education: distant learning in the COVID-19 period. Some positive results that have been recorded are:

  • Teachers had to be more creative while integrating technology into teaching, including virtual, augmented and mixed reality.
  • Student learning became an immersive experience.
  • Different learning tools and platforms were used to make lessons more engaging and interactive.
  • Teachers increased their flexibility and compassion in dealing with the different issues faced by students. Their students felt grateful for this. Even problems such as students withdrawing due to personal issues were addressed using tools in the online environment.
  • Teachers were trying to understand what was working or not for their students. And the students responded, requested more time for discussion and teachers accepted it.
  • In many online classes, time periods were created for participants to discuss social issues, issues that concern them and were beyond the narrow educational subject matter. Teachers assigned their students as facilitators for these discussions. This trust increased students' participation, their trust in each other and their self-esteem.

Taking the above into account, it seems quite likely that an evolved Metaverse would help in the above directions.

Even before COVID-19, many educational institutions had taken advantage of the possibilities offered by virtual worlds to create their own spaces. For example, in Second Life, 14 universities have their own campuses to support and enhance teaching and learning, inquiry-based learning, research, collaborative activities, hands-on learning etc. Free workshops and forums are provided, as well as live music and movies. There are also theatres, art galleries and libraries.

How Metaverse could benefit learning

Developments have accelerated in recent months. Let us mention a few typical cases. 

In Zuckerberg’s presentation during “Meta” launch, he talked about how Metaverse could benefit learning, providing learners with immersive experiences just by slipping on a headset. Meta is currently targeting the education sector as well with plans to build its own metaverse. Microsoft is also partnering with Facebook to incorporate Teams into Mark Zuckerberg’s Workplace platform.

The gaming platform Roblox recently announced that it would allocate USD10 million to create a learning space that would allow users to interact, explore and learn virtually via its platform. The Roblox allows players to traverse a range of virtual worlds or spaces and even create their own spaces and games.

In 2017 MIT and in 2019 Maryville University began issuing digital, blockchain-stored diplomas to its graduates. This prevents people from submitting fake degrees to potential employers, a situation that is too common. Students are now able to manage their digital verifiable credentials that can be easily shared with potential employers and other schools. A large application of Blockchain started in 2021. 

In partnership with Ethiopia's Ministry of Education, “Input Output” Organization will create a Blockchain-based digital identity for 5 million students and teachers. Using Cardano Blockchain technology will create a national attainment recording system; to verify grades, monitor school performance, and boost nationwide education.

Problems with the Metaverse

So it seems that education has a key role in the developments towards the Metaverse. I think it is important at this point to list some of the problems that are already known from the use of these technologies.

  • Firstly, students may use virtual reality as an "excuse" to not engage further with others, which in turn may reinforce social exclusion - a phenomenon that is increasingly common today. How will the ability to immerse ourselves in virtual worlds affect our sociability in real life?
  • In addition, privacy issues are of concern, as there is an ongoing debate about the extent of personal data compromised and misused by hackers when users scan their faces into avatars. Data management is also a cause for concern. Will all this extra information being disseminated in the online Metaverse make us more vulnerable to a scientifically "upgraded" attack of targeted advertising to create artificial needs, ideals, and illusions to reinforce consumerism as a model for growth?
  • Finally, while these technologies appear to promote learning, this may not be entirely true. We know with certainty that the more advanced the technology, the higher its cost. Research has found a disparity in technology use among students, especially in the less developed regions of the world.

Personally, if you ask me if I would like in the future to meet my adult students in the Metaverse I would not be negative (assuming that we will all have the necessary equipment). Currently, we meet online, we all have a computer and an Internet connection (or this is not true for everyone?). However, if my learners weren't adults, I wouldn't be positive to teach via this method. But there are things such as navigating the Metaverse at the Louvre Museum or the Vienna Opera or CERN that would also work well with non-adult students (as long as the requirements are there for everyone).

We hope this article was helpful. For more information from WIDE Services, please visit their CPD Member Directory page. Alternatively please visit the CPD Industry Hubs for more CPD articles, courses and events relevant to your Continuing Professional Development requirements.

WIDE Services

WIDE Services

For more information from WIDE Services, please visit their CPD Member Directory page. Alternatively please visit the CPD Industry Hubs for more CPD articles, courses and events relevant to your Continuing Professional Development requirements.

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