When classrooms go full VR: How to prepare education for the metaverse
Not sure how the metaverse fits into your school's plans? Let's talk about it.
School is cool. But it can be cooler.
Instead of learning about great works of art like the Mona Lisa or the Venus de Milo by reading a book, imagine touring the Louvre and studying these masterpieces up close. Doing a deep dive into Roman history? How does an unencumbered stroll around the Colosseum sound?
Machu Picchu, the Great Wall of China, and Stonehenge. The Pyramids of Giza, the Grand Canyon, the Sydney Opera House. Take your pick, the sky’s the limit. And best of all, you don’t have to worry about airfare.
How is this possible? The metaverse.
By now, you’ve likely heard the term. It’s unavoidable, really. The metaverse is the latest buzzword, and everyone wants a piece of it. But what is the metaverse, why is it tailor-made for education, and how do you prepare educators for the leap into this inevitable (virtual) school of learning?
That’s what we’re here to discuss.
The metaverse is …
Who controls it? Are there multiple metaverses? The groundwork is still being laid, and right now, there are likely more questions than answers. But at its core, the metaverse is a digital universe where humans interact and operate – through digital avatars – using virtual reality (VR) headsets and augmented reality (AR).
CEO of Meta (formerly Facebook) Mark Zuckerberg said, “We believe the metaverse will be the successor of the mobile internet. We’ll be able to feel present – like we’re right there with people no matter how far apart we actually are.” Zuckerberg envisions the metaverse will “reach a billion people, host hundreds of billions of dollars of digital commerce, and support jobs for millions of creators and developers.”
Social interactions, business meetings, family adventures, and more. They’re all poised to take place in the metaverse. And education is no different.
How does education fit into the metaverse?
The pandemic may have accelerated the demand for the tools and resources needed to stand up and operate effective online learning environments, but technology in education isn’t new.
There are whole classrooms of students with designated Chromebooks. Teachers are using VR and AR to develop more enjoyable and engaging learning experiences. But the metaverse is different. It is – and will be – truly immersive.
The benefits of education in the metaverse
The interactions and socialization that will take place within the metaverse are unlike anything we’ve ever seen. Students won’t just be sitting behind screens watching their teachers do all the work; they’ll be full-fledged participants (albeit virtually).
Classrooms within the metaverse will be filled with visuals and hands-on activities that students can partake in right from their own homes. Within the metaverse, students can communicate with a wider audience, whether it’s a group of students in a neighboring district or even in another country. And did we mention traveling to – and moving about – remote places without the plane ride?
But the metaverse will also aid the teachers. Students today learn on a series of different levels. Most educators struggle with this and, oftentimes, they have limited resources that don’t always provide solutions. With the metaverse, teachers can build a wider social circle, collaborate and share ideas with each other, and develop better solutions to reach students with a variety of needs.
What schools need to get started and how SHI can help
This won’t happen overnight. Schools must always crawl before they can even think about walking.
Educators must first receive professional development on the metaverse itself and the vast opportunities it presents. School districts must do a thorough assessment of their current digital environment. What communication tools are they using? Are they effective? If not, what problems are they regularly experiencing?
The metaverse can be a game-changer for education. But not if you dive in before you’re ready. Luckily, SHI can assist you.
Our experts have done their homework and are ready to have these conversations with you. We can help you develop an action plan for hosting public events and professional development inside the metaverse, and we can work with you to identify your VR and computing needs around the metaverse. Our team can also ensure you have the right data center and network capability for an optimal metaverse experience.
There are a lot of ways you can prepare for the inevitability of education in the metaverse. Even implementing an esports program in your school can help you put the infrastructure you’ll need to be successful in place. And if you’re worried that financial constraints may make this difficult, don’t worry. We can guide you in finding grants that best support your program’s needs.
The metaverse is new, exciting, and full of possibilities. It’s also still a little bit like the wild west. But sooner or later, education and the metaverse are going to converge. Let us help you make sure you’re ready for it.
To learn more about the Education Metaverse and how you can leverage it to enhance your school’s goals, call your SHI account executive or contact us today.