The metaverse has arrived. Like TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook, it will soon be as ubiquitous as it is today (now Meta). It’s time to rethink how we teach children and prepare teachers to take advantage of these new opportunities as technology continues to advance. Technology, rather than educators, defines educational opportunity when education is behind the times.
With the introduction of “educational” apps designed for use on smartphones and tablets intended for adults, this is largely what happened. Researchers, educators, policymakers, and digital designers have the opportunity to lead the way rather than get caught in the whirlpool of the metaverse infrastructure. Virtual and augmented reality (AR/VR) must be linked to the physical world in new ways to fully realise the metaverse’s potential as a 3D, global, interconnected online space.
For the metaverse’s best educational practises, we propose an approach in this policy brief. Principles drawn from the science of how and what children learn should guide the design of new educational technology, according to our recommendations It’s also possible that the design of this new space goes awry. When it comes right down to it, we challenge those who are developing educational content for the metaverse to work with educators and scientists to make sure that children have the opportunity to engage in real human social interaction while exploring virtual spaces, that children’s agency is supported while they explore these spaces, and that diversity is taken into account when new content is being developed.
In the words of Helen Shwe Hadani:
The Center for Universal Education’s Global Economy and Development Fellow At Brookings Metro Center for Transformative Placemaking, I serve as a fellow.
Professor at Northwestern University’s School of Communication
Imagine a classroom surrounded by whiteboards and chairs that can be moved. Students are enthralled by tales of Greek mythology, the might of Zeus, the sky god, and the legends of Hercules, Zeus’s son, whose prowess was legendary.
A timeline appears out of nowhere in the centre of the floor. Students remove their chairs and stand in the present in order to descend into a new reality that they will experience in the year 300 BC. They’ve stepped into the realm of Greek mythology. They’re surrounded by carts and market vendors, and from the top of the hill, they can see the gods’ temples and the people who worship them. They investigate, inquire, ponder, and learn!
Questions remain: “How could we possibly know about the richness of Greek life?” If we weren’t there, how would we know what was being sold at the market and which gods were most important?”
Each child is then positioned on the timeline so that they can return to the present. Afterward, the teacher Ruined old temples and columns litter the ground as images of brown dust fill the walls around them. To answer the age-old question of how we construct the past while living in the present, each child now has a unique opportunity to play archaeologist. To till the plot, the avatars are provided with a shovel and brush. Teacher: “The society you saw was buried in the dirt, like all societies before it. You can read each layer of dirt as if it were a storybook that you can piece together,” To better understand the dirt, the kids shift their avatar positions and begin to examine it with greater care and curiosity. Each one discovers pottery shards and even the partial faces of statues that once stood proudly in their respective locations. They present their findings to the class after 20 minutes of digging in the soil. The virtual and real learning spaces they have created together have built-in opportunities for collaborative learning and co-creation.