In recent years, all the events have gone hand in hand to make things more virtual and digital. Education is no exception to this rule, and with the emergence of the Metaverse phenomenon, this process has accelerated even more. What can be the role of the Metaverse in education? Is this platform still used in this field? What are its advantages and limitations?
In this article, we try to answer these questions. Before that, however, it is necessary to have a brief overview of the definition of It. If you are active in the education industry, reading this article can give you a glimpse of what you will face in the coming years.
What is the Metaverse?
Metaverse is simply a digital and virtual world where all the activities of the physical world can be done in a simulated way. This space is also a virtual communication method, But it is more realistic to refer to it as web3, which means 3D web space against web2. Human communication in this space will be more accurate and comprehensive than social networks.
Since it has become possible to do any activity in Metaverse, from buying and selling land to investment, agriculture, recreational activities, etc., some people are also looking for the integration of Metaverse in education. Entering this world requires an Internet connection and one of the Metaverse platforms and hardware equipment, such as headsets and headphones.
The more the hardware equipment engages human emotions, the more complete the metaverse experience will be. The removal of geographical and even financial restrictions and numerous customization possibilities are among the essential advantages of Metaverse, which justify its entry into any field.
For any purpose, including education, if you intend to enter the world of Metaverse, you must see the necessary training. You can find these courses by searching the Internet and registering and participating in them. Some systems are also offline, and you can buy them. Meta company also has a free course in English that it has placed on the Coursera website. YouTube videos can also help you a lot in this field.
In this section, however, we will briefly examine the first needs and actions that you need to fulfill or do as a newbie in Metaverse.
Necessary equipment to enter the Metaverse
Primary access to It does not require much equipment, But the more equipped you are, the deeper and more accurate you will experience it. We review the most important of these equipments in this section.
1. Computer with relatively good processing power
Although you can also connect to Metaverse platforms with your smartphone, it is better to use a computer or laptop with good graphics and enough memory to pursue educational goals. Each Metaverse platform puts its minimum hardware and software specifications on its website.
2. Game console
This device is unnecessary, but it will be helpful if you want to use other equipment like a microphone and virtual reality (VR) headset. Especially if playing the game plays a role in your Metaverse training, it becomes more necessary to prepare this device.
3. Virtual reality headset and augmented reality glasses
These devices and other equipment related to the senses can make your experience in the Metaverse more real and increase your immersion in this space. The VR headset also has two screens and a sound speaker. Augmented reality (AR) glasses also make digital objects real.
Types of avatars in Metaverse and how to make them
To do anything in the Metaverse, you need avatars that can look like you or represent you. Avatar is your digital identity, and it is brief:
- Two dimensions that we also use in social networks.
- A 3D that is a 3D copy of a Metaverse user.
- Virtual reality, or VR, is like a creature without a lower torso.
- Full-body is the most complete avatar and includes the upper and lower body.
You are responsible for choosing and changing avatars according to your personality and actual-world realities, such as your face and body. A Metaverse platform may be compatible with only one or a few avatars. Venues usually include avatar creation and editing features. But separate software has also been created and is being developed, with the help of which you can design your avatar and upload and use it in Metaverse. These software are mostly paid or may have limited free versions.
Metaverse opportunities in education
Since the end of 2018 and with the epidemic of Corona disease, education in our country has become increasingly virtual in line with other parts of the world. Internet and hardware equipment such as laptops were among the first necessities of virtual education, But little by little. As the needs and deficiencies in this field became more apparent, other facilities were added. Platforms for conducting online classes with many more features than the messaging applications used initially were the most important of these actors.
The possibility that students and teachers can have a more authentic relationship with each other with their characters in this space solves one of the main weaknesses of virtual education: the fading of human interactions to a reasonable extent. Even now, some prominent universities in the world use Metaverse, the most important of which are:
- University of Tokyo
- NTU University in Singapore
- Stanford University
- University of New Mexico
- University College London
Illustration in education
One of the teaching aids has always been the use of images. While in virtual and real classes, this work requires slides and hardware equipment with limited results, in Metaverse, the teacher can use pictures or, virtual worlds that are much more attractive and better for this purpose. Such possibilities are made possible by integrating Web 2 games such as Roblox with Metaverse and virtual world simulation facilities such as Minecraft and Fortnite.
For example, a history teacher can take students to a simulated environment of past centuries, or a biology teacher and students can tour the human body or a cell virtually. Also, chemical experiments previously considered dangerous can be simulated and safe by introducing Metaverse in education. In this way, students understand and accept educational content more deeply and better. This method of training also saves time.
In average virtual education through the Internet, several factors can divert the attention of the student or even the instructor from the class. Lack of presence in a familiar environment is the leading cause of such an incident. Meanwhile, Metaverse will make it possible for the members of an educational setting to gather again in one place without accepting traditional education’s limitations.
With the introduction of Metaverse in education, students and teachers can use their sense of touch again. They will also have a shared learning experience, meaning they don’t need to coordinate individually and one-on-one for what they see and hear, unlike virtual learning in Web 2.
Better class control
One challenge for teachers in virtual education is controlling the class. They often don’t know if the student is actually in the class. Meanwhile, classroom control in real schools is also tricky; many students are rebellious and disorganized. Training in Metaverse can solve all these obstacles and limitations well.
This issue will be especially effective for conducting exams. By combining Metaverse and online exam platforms such as Alcom, the experience of a safe exam is provided without cheating and with the assurance of the attendance of all students.
Four practical and free Metaverse training courses
After you have acquired the necessary general and basic information about Metaverse by self-study, it is good to participate in a more specialized Metaverse training course. If you have a relative mastery of the English language, the following four free systems, in addition to the free meta course we mentioned earlier, are beneficial.
Metaverse Masterclass course on Udemy
In this course prepared by Henrique Centieiro, the Chief Blockchain Manager, Metaverse’s nature, its forms and tools, tokens, investment methods, and various platforms are introduced and taught.
University of London Virtual Reality Specialization course
In this course, you will learn more about virtual reality, which has many overlaps with the Metaverse. The principles and technologies of this space, the methods of creating objects in VR, and their applications are among the topics of this course.
Skillshare Metaverse course
The name of this 33-minute course is Introduction To Metaverse and How to Invest In It and it is presented on the Skillshare website. The instructor of this course, Ali Matar, the top entrepreneur in the digital field, introduces Metaverse in eight topics.
Start the AR and VR Metaverse Business course on the Udemy website.
Alex Genadinik is the instructor of this free two-part course and has uploaded it to Udemy. The first part is introductory, and the second part deals with the methods of making money from AR and VR in Metaverse. The whole course includes 58 videos in 11 sections.
Metaverse limitations in education
Despite all its software and hardware improvements, Metaverse technology still has limitations to fully enter the field of education. The most important of these limitations are the following:
- The need for very high speed Internet with relatively expensive hardware equipment
- Few facilities exist for physically challenged students, especially those with hearing or vision problems.
- Less physical mobility of people using Metaverse
- Increasing the amount of time students may spend in digital worlds and metaverse games.
- There is a need to teach parents about Metaverse and its culture and essentials, while many do not have such a possibility.
About 30 years ago, the Internet stepped into the human world and gradually transformed it, and now, the world of virtual reality or Metaverse is going through its initial stages of growth. This simulated world has great educational potential that complements the benefits of Web 2 virtual education. Virtual teaching facilities, making the educational environment more realistic, and the possibility of better control of holding classes and exams are among the advantages mentioned for introducing Metaverse in education.