I recently watched Steve Grubbs’ explanation of metaversity on LinkedIn. The video clearly articulates the classroom experience and the possibilities of teaching in the metaverse. Apparently, Morehouse College in Atlanta used the metaverse for part of the pandemic. Yes, the metaverse is already in play.
Not only are colleges using it, K-12 metaverse schools exist across the globe, and their founders are touting success. Many of the educators I speak to laugh at me when I bring up the possibility of teaching with metaverse technology. They think I am crazy. Some do not even know what the metaverse is.
Of course, the metaverse is still in its infancy. Its uses, however, are expanding. And quickly. It offers more than just entertainment and unique interaction.
I watched a video yesterday showing how training for welders would improve through the use of a metaverse type platform. Essentially, in order to become certified, welders would practice in the metaverse before attempting projects in the physical world.
This type of training system builds precision, awareness, and knowledge without the risks involved in the physical realm. It also saves money in terms of supplies. The system also provides instant feedback.
Another way the metaverse is being used to educate is in EMT training. This article details how one area with a shortage of EMTs utilizes a metaverse course to shorten the length of time needed to become certified. In addition, the metaverse can create possible scenarios, such as explosions, that are not easy to recreate in the physical world. Using the platform provides all students with experience in a variety of emergency situations.
Consider this in terms of our K-12 schools. What interactions or activities can be practiced and perfected inside a virtual platform? What diagrams would be effectively explored in 3-D?
- Maps. Could you travel and explore places in a better manner via a metaverse platform?
- Science labs. Could you interact more safely and with less expensive?
- Animals. Could you explore animal diagrams up close and personal?
- Geometry. Could you explore shapes in a different way? Could you build and explore structures?
- Cultures. Could students travel to Latin America and explore cities while practicing Spanish?
- Music. Could students learn parts of instruments and how they work?
Using the metaverse would be interesting for activities like the Tower of Power STEM Challenge. In this activity, students collaborate to design and create the tallest structure with spaghetti and marshmallows. Yes, the activity is fun and very challenging, but it also creates a huge mess of classrooms. Could that activity be moved to a metaverse platform? Or, what if the design-phase was moved to the metaverse as part of the experimentation before the actual build?
Students will begin to utilize VR at home. It’s already prevalent in the gaming industry. As well, it’s becoming a tool in the work world. If we claim the purpose of education is to prepare children for their future lives, we have to consider instructing them in the capabilities of the metaverse. The work world will continue to move in this direction across many industries.
While we may not be in favor of a full-scale switch to virtual platforms or metaverse schools, we have to recognize the world has changed. We have to accept that education will move to the metaverse whether we think it’s a good idea or not.
We should start thinking HOW can we use this technology so that our use is intentional and thoughtful.