Laurence Gosse and Nathalie Badreau (Metaverse Lab): “The school must keep track of the pedagogical metaverse”

Laurence Gosse and Nathalie Badreau are the founders of Metaverse Lab, a research body that studies the challenges of immersive worlds called metaverses in education and communication.

One is the director of the department “Influence and reputation” in Iscom, the other is a teacher specializing in social media, web and tech subjects. Laurence Gosse and Nathalie Badreau co-founded the Metaverse Lab last October, focusing on the study of metaverse issues in the world of education. According to them, the use and application of immersive and interactive worlds in education, whether in primary, secondary or higher education, is inevitable and has even already begun.

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Le Figaro Student. Which users of the meta-verse in the teaching do you recommend?

Laurence GOSSE. It will change the learning experience and involve even more pupils and students. Imagine a course on ancient Egypt: we can do it at the foot of the Pyramids of Cheops, explained by Tutankhamen himself. Moreover, according to a study by the consulting firm PWC, memorizing a course given in the meta-verse would be four times more effective than with a traditional course. We can also mention the whole “data” aspect: the comprehensive and precise collection of data after a course given in the metaverse will make it possible to create individualized courses.

Nathalie BADREAU. With video games, young people are already entrenched in these worlds. From a flat narrative, we go to a 3D narrative. There is something revolutionary in that, I think. In any case, any decision must be made with the young people. We must move forward together.

“It must be understood that the meta-verse and the virtual are not intended to replace traditional education”Nathalie Badreau

What are the limits you should not exceed?

Nathalie BADREAU. The content must of course be adapted. If we all think about it together, it should not be a problem. On the other hand, there is no interest in making a Pythagorean theorem in 3D, or a school trip to Décentraland (note: virtual amusement park). It must be understood that the metaverse and the virtual are not intended to replace traditional education, but to complete it, modernize it, improve it. This does not replace the current offer, it increases it.

Laurence GOSSE. Our most important and first task is to set these boundaries. Whether it’s training and recruiting teachers, the platforms used, the content of the courses, the evaluation criteria, the health aspect, the supervision of young people in this new environment, without forgetting the whole aspect of ethics and deontology. We need to reflect on each facet of this new tool to set its limits of use. This is why we set up the lab.

Isn’t it a little too early?

Laurence GOSSE. We have to leave now, everything is going fast. It has to be done step by step, that’s for sure. But I have no doubt about the appetite of our young people and the teaching staff.

Nathalie BADREAU. You know, a couple of years ago, when I was running a VHS, it was shocking. In my opinion it will become commonplace, it is inevitable. To make a comparison, we are at the big phone of 7 kg and I am sure we are heading towards a next Iphone. One must at least be interested in it, so as not to be too left out.

Isn’t it dangerous to sell data from millions of young people to companies whose goal is to drown them out with publicity?

Laurence GOSSE. I think one of the crucial questions around this question, if not the number one question, is to know who owns these platforms. The school must absolutely be in control of this, have its own authority and choose its own content, of course in accordance with the law. Otherwise, if this task is delegated to foreign digital giants, the risk is great: possibility of interference, misuse of data collection, dependence on the company, etc. It is clear that educational content must not belong to anyone and everyone.

Nathalie BADREAU. Here, I believe that two key elements are needed: on the one hand, a real political will to free oneself from GAFAM and not to repeat the same mistake as with the Internet. On the other hand, we must equip ourselves with a solid and precise legal arsenal that would form the framework for all this, because that is right now the Wild West. To give you an example; while browsing a metaverse server, I saw an ad for Marlboro: it should not be tolerated, on the contrary, it should be legislated. Because it’s already there.

In a speech on 17 March, Mr Macron expressed his desire to “create a European metaverse”. What do you think?

Laurence GOSSE. He laid the subject on the table. Mr. Macron is also well aware that there is a question of digital sovereignty at European level, and he is right to include the metaverse. We must now begin this reflection on what we are to do with it, and teaching is no exception to the rule. I just hope it does not become empty words. As Nathalie said, a political will to invest in the meta-verse is essential.

Nathalie BADREAU. Recently, Jean-Michel Jarre, spokesman for education at Unesco, issued several recommendations on the priorities of the metaverse, and one of the first is education. I do not know if the President was inspired by these, but I think that mentioning the meta-verse in a political speech necessarily includes education. You should know that France has an incredible impact in this sector in terms of capacity and skills. We must therefore ride the wave and be concerned about the metaverse of education, especially if it is mentioned at the head of the state.

Next July, 60 ISCOM students will meet during a workshop organized by Metaverse Lab. On the program: think of tomorrow’s school how to include the meta-verse in it, with the aim of starting the first lessons of the meta-verse next year.

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