As the Metaverse gains traction, a team of leading researchers has compiled an evidence-based guide for educators.
A student wearing virtual reality goggles raised an arm in front of her, seemingly touching what she saw in the virtual environment.
A group of leading virtual and extended reality (XR) educators have written a report on the Metaverse – a network of interconnected 3D virtual worlds that could be the next evolution of social communication and collaboration – and its potential in education .
“After considering the many conversations we’ve had with educators and technology creators, we felt there was a real need to provide an introduction to XR based on our expertise and based on research to date on learning and immersive technology Sexual guidelines,” said Harvard doctoral candidate and researcher Eileen McGivney, who added that the report’s research team initially considered a systematic review of extended reality research or new research to study the technology in learning.
Ultimately, she said, “We want to help the education community understand technology and the technology community to understand education.
Their evidence-based report, “Introduction to Learning in the Metaverse,” was published by Meridian Treehouse. McGivney and other co-authors share some of the highlights from the report.
1. The Metaverse Doesn’t Actually Exist
“When we talk about the Metaverse, we mean an entire ecosystem of interconnected virtual spaces distributed over various technologies,” said Géraldine Fauville, assistant professor of educational communication and learning at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.
However, these interconnected virtual spaces or worlds are still in development.
“This ideal of a Metaverse doesn’t exist yet, but the major technologies that underpin its future do exist,” said Wesley Della Volla, founder of Meridian Treehouse.
Despite the media coverage of the concept, the Metaverse still needs technological advancements to become a reality, said Daniel Pimental, assistant professor of psychology in immersive media at the University of Oregon. “For example, advances in artificial intelligence-computer vision-blockchain technology, along with the increased bandwidth of 5G connectivity, will form the basis of the scalable, immersive learning ecosystem we envision,” he said.
2. The Metaverse could offer great potential for educators
In the future, if used properly, the Metaverse may open up new learning experiences for users. “Learning has long been thought of as transmitting information without context, but if designed properly, the Metaverse can provide people with rich context that allows people to learn more than just content knowledge,” McGivney said.
Fauville is interested in how the increasingly complex incarnations of students and teachers in the Metaverse will affect education. “The virtual bodies we inhabit have profound short- and long-term effects on the way we think, feel and behave,” she said. “Giving learners autonomy in their self-presentation will undoubtedly impact their learning experience, from driving engagement to increasing the self-relevance of the topic.
3. The Metaverse Won’t Be a Silver Bullet
The authors of this report agree that the Metaverse has enormous educational potential, however, educators should lower their expectations. “Let’s make sure we don’t overestimate the educational potential of the Metaverse,” Fauville said.
The Metaverse is not a silver bullet, Walla said. “It’s part of the future of learning, but it can’t exist in a vacuum. Once you take off the headset or turn off the AR filter, learning doesn’t stop.
The key is to find creative ways to use the Metaverse to complement traditional learning experiences. “I would caution educators not to try to replicate the classroom structure in XR, but to spend time playing and exploring the technology to consider new learning opportunities that they typically don’t offer,” McGivney said. “This includes giving students a lot of agency and allowing them to create their own Metaverse technologies and experiences.
4. The Metaverse needs to be inclusive and fair
“The hardware currently used to access Metaverse experiences, such as VR headsets, is unaffordable and difficult to wear for many groups of people who are underrepresented in the tech industry,” McGivney said. “Many of these technologies are also designed in a business environment that prioritizes profit over data privacy and effective educational design etc. In addition, we pointed out some issues in the report about the XR experience itself, the way these issues are designed Not beneficial or accessible to all groups of people.
For example, the report notes that people with limited mobility in their hands may have difficulty using the controller.Others may have difficulty wearing glasses, and most current headphones don’t fit on hoods and many hairstyles.
“The most pressing question is how to use the Metaverse for learning in a smart, inclusive and effective way,” Fauville said.”And when and how to embed learning activities in the Metaverse into existing learning practices.
5. The blueprint for Metaverse education is still being designed
It is important to remember that we are at the origin of the Metaverse of education and many stakeholders should be involved in the evolution of its use.
“Taking a rigorous, evidence-based approach to blueprinting the future of learning is critical to success,” said Dr. Erika Woolsey, a visiting scholar at Stanford University. “We need as many people as possible to collaborate on open access research to answer questions ranging from big-picture questions like ‘Is leveraging new technology good for learning?’ to more tactical questions like ‘Which forms of Does interactivity affect the learner’s sense of agency?'”
Woolsey added: “Right now we have a lot more questions than answers, and we think this is the best place to start.”
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