Education meets the metaverse

Infinite possibilities: Human social interaction in virtual spaces a crucial component in the metaverse. –

WE have entered the metaverse century. It will soon be as pervasive as social media.

The way we educate students and equip lecturers must thus change to take advantage of this new prospect.

As the metaverse infrastructure is still being built, researchers, educators, policymakers and digital designers have the opportunity to set the new direction.

If we are to fully realise the potential of the metaverse as a three-dimensional, global, interconnected, immersive, and real-time online space, innovative approaches are required to link the actual world with augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) experiences.

Enhanced technology

Metaverse education requires an upgrade of infrastructure and equipment.

Increased network speed and Internet capabilities will drive metaverse education trends and make it easier to integrate cutting-edge technology into classrooms.

Future metaverse educational technology will revolutionise teaching and learning by providing lecturers and students with a wide range of new tools and fun experiences.

Even though technology will play a significant role in the future of metaverse education, a new generation of lecturers who value interpersonal communication in the classroom are needed to make the most of the new teaching tools.

A fulfilling and interesting career in learning institutions can be attained with such enhanced technology.

Students who choose this career path must acquire the knowledge and abilities to utilise new metaverse educational technology in a way that maximises the advantages for tertiary students both now and in the future.

Digital platforms

AR is an interactive experience of a real-world environment where the objects that reside in the real world are enhanced by computer-generated perceptual information, sometimes across multiple sensory modalities, including visual, auditory, haptic, somatosensory and olfactory.

AR augments your surroundings by adding digital elements to a live view, often by using the camera on a smartphone.

VR is a completely immersive experience that replaces a real-life environment with a simulated one.

Since AR/VR learning enables lecturers to access virtual dissection, up-close observation of microscopic organisms, and a number of other metaverse educational uses, students majoring in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields gain the most from it.

AR/VR technology also enables students to travel the world, see historical events up close, and take a cosmic tour without ever leaving the classroom.

Meanwhile, voice platforms which have applications in the metaverse teaching classroom give students quick solutions, and can be used to play games, conduct experiments, and speak with students from all over the world.

Assistive boost

New metaverse technology empowers students with impairments and give them greater parity with their peers than ever before.

For special education students and students with disabilities to get the necessary educational help, a variety of assistive technology gadgets are available.

The adoption of alternative input devices is a significant trend in metaverse education that falls under the umbrella of assistive technology.

These allow disabled students to utilise laptops and tablets with modified keyboards that have larger buttons, cursors they can control with their mouths or feet, and other features.

Speech-to-text technology has emerged as a dependable substitute for students with disabilities who are unable to use any type of manual input device.

Additionally, more subtle technological developments, including easily readable fonts for kids with dyslexia, assist those with mild learning difficulties.

These trends in future metaverse educational technology break down the barriers separating students based on their abilities to learn.

Lecturers who leverage these and other innovations will be at the forefront of educational leadership.

Points to ponder

Many issues, however, need to be explored on metaverse education. These include:

> Teaching methodsThe ability to review and implement metaverse learning designs from various angles could be a challenge.

Therefore, it is essential to re-evaluate the functions of the current learning and assessment strategies. What might a concept map, for instance, look like in the metaverse?

> Funding, equipment and upgrading of infrastructureCost, equipment, infrastructure and isolation would be a consideration for metaverse education.

Although the cost of VR glasses is expected to decrease with time, the metaverse programmes, curriculum and educational experiences typically need investment.

If metaverse technology is not properly supported, it can prevent students from forging close relationships with others.

> Ethical principles

The metaverse should be viewed as a highly sophisticated community rather than just a game or experience because of its complexity and advanced technology.

Although using the metaverse for educational purposes offers a useful learning mode, it may also bring up significant ethical issues such as violating people’s privacy, data protection, bullying, cheating, and educational inequality.

> The metaverse as an assessment approachIt can be difficult to assess learners’ higher order thinking skills, such as problem-solving and critical thinking.

Executing the evaluation based on a test is challenging. It could be a good idea to watch and evaluate how students complete projects or solve problems.

Learners’ activity logs for finishing tasks like projects are kept in the metaverse. This suggests that a more thorough evaluation of their abilities or performances can be made using a variety of criteria.

Additionally, the metaverse permits assessments that could be dangerous in the real world, like the capability to conduct surgery or fly an aeroplane.

Teaching is becoming an interesting job with a bright future because of the continuous pace of technology advancements in metaverse education.

Ultimately, educational materials that ensure students have authentic human social interaction while navigating virtual spaces should be highlighted to ensure equity, diversity and inclusion.

Prof Dr Leong Wai Yie is the pro vice chancellor at INTI International University and fellow at the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), United Kingdom. The views expressed here are the writer’s own.

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