The discussion about the Metaverse has been around for several years, but until recently, not many people outside of the tech industry really understood what was coming. The latest announcements by large social media companies and tech investments have caught the attention of the general public, but there are still quite a lot of questions about what exactly the technology includes and if it will live up to the hype.
Before we know if the technology will be a game-changer, we first must understand what the metaverse is, particularly as it relates to education. Some of the terms you may hear relates to augmented and virtual reality, where you are immersed in a digital experience. Educators may not see the relevancy of this technology yet, but it would be a mistake to disregard the possibilities of the metaverse so early. In fact, our students are already embracing the metaverse today.
Imagine experiencing a new digital world, like the real world, where you own property, things, and even interact with others all in real-time. We see elements of the metaverse already taking shape today in 3D worlds. These virtual worlds are always available, shared spaces in a setting of your liking. You could be swimming in a sea with sharks or flying in the sky, but really, sitting safely at home. Your avatar can represent the real you, an animated version, or a completely different expression of your choosing.
My youngest child is an active member of an online world where she creates her digital life. I’m embarrassed to admit how much I’ve spent for her to play in her metaverse games. She purchases supplies to buy virtual land and build her home, buys vehicles, and (most importantly to her) obtain the one and only accessory that makes her stand out. Not only can she showcase her artistic building abilities, but she can trade digital assets with others to make the perfect outfit and prove she is a true fashionista.
The metaverse will change the means of how we socialize. Whether from your couch or a multi-million dollar facility, the metaverse gives us all access to the same immersive opportunities. The metaverse is open to all, regardless of disability, location, time zone, or the laws of physics. These immersive experiences can take place in a virtual reality headset, a mobile device, a computer, a gaming system, and more.
We will move from merely flat 2D text, photos, and videos to a new 3D world of information and experiences. We don’t need to ask Google anymore, but instead, we will experience it. Is it real? Oh, it’s real! You can really talk, really play games, really attend a concert, but it’s all in a digital space. How we respond to these virtual encounters is much like we do outside of the digital space. Our brains are encountering these experiences and making our bodies respond accordingly. This is a powerful chance to leverage our educational content to become alive for our students. Learning needs to move beyond a picture of a volcano, and into the hands of our students who can hold the tectonic plates to see why they erupt.
Embracing the metaverse is more than looking for a fun experience, rather it’s being more productive with our time, learning and applying our knowledge in lifelike situations, and connecting deeper with others in realistic spaces.
The true metaverse will not be confined to a single tool or company but rather connected to all experiences. This is no easy endeavor as companies don’t want to work with one another, but the demand for interoperability is increasing, and moving into the metaverse will be boundless.
Preparing for the metaverse begins with understanding augmented and virtual reality. Our schools especially need to be equipped with the training and resources to move forward on their immersive journey. A valuable resource open for all schools is the Verizon Innovative Learning HQ portal. The portal provides immersive learning experiences, including detailed instructions, lesson plans, and micro-credentials. The resources include directions for educators and students to actively participate in AR and VR, which was previously a missing and vital part of the successful implementation of immersive experiences. From the most current headsets to mobile devices, the portal has the resources to begin using AR/VR immediately.
As we look ahead, there is a bright immersive future for classrooms. Our students will have access to the individualized learning made possible and scalable in the metaverse while engaging in meaningful, exploratory learning that reaches beyond memorization and into relevant lessons that prepare them for the future.
Access FREE AR/VR Courses in the Verizon Innovative Learning Portal: