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You’ve probably heard the term “metaverse” in the last year or two. If you ask tech CEOs and researchers, it’s the future, the Internet’s next big frontier.
The term has become the latest buzzword in education, but little is still known about what it means for teaching and learning. Many are not really metaverse.
That may be because there is no clear consensus on what the term means. Kathy Hirsch, a professor of psychology at Temple University who studies how the Metaverse can be used in education, describes the Metaverse as follows: “
According to Glenn Platt, professor of emerging technologies at the University of Miami, Ohio, what’s not the Metaverse is virtual reality. “It’s a misused term,” Pratt said. “I think people talk about the metaverse in much the same way they talk about virtual reality, but virtual reality and the metaverse are different things.”
Platt called on educators to remember Second Life. Second Life is his online platform launched in 2003 that allowed users to create avatars in virtual worlds and interact with other users.there was lots of excitement We talked about it as a teaching tool, but ultimately failed to get any attention.
He said that seeing the Metaverse as all about virtual education or education in virtual worlds is a fallacy from an educational perspective. According to Platt, the metaverse is more about digital identities.
“Schools have been very slow to respond to the internet. Schools are behind the game in general, and teachers and principals, and all of us as adults, are more than ready to adopt it towards a better education.” Children will understand it long ago.
Kathy Hersh Pasek, professor of psychology at Temple University
In a true metaverse experience, digital identities move between the physical and virtual worlds, says Platt.with the help of blockchain technologythat identity – your preferences, your achievements, your educational record, and other elements of who you are – is maintained across platforms and applications.
“I mean, when you get class credit, when you get badges and certificates, minors and majors, and all these kinds of academic qualifications, it cobbles from different digital and physical places, and all of this comes with A single identity.”
Much of the metaverse infrastructure is still under construction, with technology companies such as: meta And gaming platforms like Roblox are experiencing growing pains as they expand their space. His Edtech companies such as STEMuli and Labster, and even Roblox, offer his VR learning experiences, but the kind of technology Platt says makes the Metaverse really revolutionary. there is nothing there yet.
“People who are actually building technology that enable this kind of mix-and-match thinking, where their identities tap into the different digital and physical worlds, and connect all of their achievements and academic experiences. I don’t know,” Platt said. He said.
What we don’t want to do, Platt argues, is recreate in virtual reality what we saw in the pandemic learning experiment: the classroom experience. Seeing myself sitting next to other students in a classroom with a headset on is “physically awkward and I don’t see it as having any benefits over being in a Zoom classroom,” he said. rice field. “It doesn’t advance the educational experience.”
Both Platt and Hirsh-Pasek warn that districts and states should not start investing immediately because these technologies are expensive and evolving. Doing so also risks furthering the digital divide between those who have another expensive technology and can afford it and those who cannot, Pratt added.
“We still have a long way to go before every child in every underfunded school district has access to some sort of virtual reality device and the confidence that they have the internet to support the bandwidth they need. I have.
It may be years away from active use of the Metaverse in the classroom, but millions of dollars have been poured into its development, but we know it’s coming. Hirsh-Pasek said.
and policy brief Earlier this year, she explored ways to incorporate best educational practices into the Metaverse she’s creating. She urged those designing educational technology for this new space to work with educators and scientists to make sure it actually works for educators and students.
“I know it’s shiny, and I know it’s really exciting. Hopefully it will be a better service for all of us.”
Glen Platt, Professor of Emerging Technologies, University of Miami
“The school was very slow to respond to the internet,” said Harsh Pasek. “Schools are generally behind the game, and it’s important that children understand it long before teachers, principals, and all of us as adults are ready to adopt it towards a better education. will happen.”
For the Metaverse to be successful, those who design these products will need to think of them as educational tools that can enhance the student learning experience under the tutelage of teachers, Hirsh-Pasek said. says. Companies also have a responsibility to ensure that these spaces are accessible, safe, fair and provide an inclusive environment for students.
Platt says these technologies have the potential to learn, and if done right, can be “very powerful.” Taking VR learning as an example, immersive VR apps help students visualize and decompose atoms and see protons and neutrons. Or you can take students inside a human body, enter a cell, or even go into space.
Platt encouraged educators to consider using simple technology to provide students with new types of learning experiences. Most mobile phones today offer some kind of augmented reality application, and educators use such apps instead of trying to build VR metaverse experiences that are only accessible through headset devices. I can do it.
“I know it’s shiny, and I know it’s really exciting,” Pratt said. I think we would all be better served if we could think of creating a kind of experience.”