” that metaverse is a digital universe that gives everyone access to information in a decentralized way, so from anywhere in the world », defines our expert Elliot Boucher, co-founder of Edusign*. A concept that heralds a small revolution in digital content! Not only is geographical space abolished, allowing virtual connections and interactions without borders, but this “meta-universe” also allows its users to be immersed in a simulated shared space where the physical and the digital meet thanks to virtual reality and augmented reality.
According to Elliot Boucher, the metaverse of tomorrow should concern everyone, and he believes that the educational community has a lot to gain from it: “ Today, information is centralized around a single teacher, good or bad. With the metaverse, there will be no more room for mediocrity, we will have access to the best teachings available to everyone, everywhere. »
Added to this is the opportunity to live new educational experiences that are impossible to achieve in a traditional environment: bringing distant or historical content to life through 3D images, digital exploration and role play, bringing real people and acquaintances from around the world into the classroom, practicing manipulatives in science labs, etc. So many new forms of experiential learning that are likely to captivate, promote concentration, facilitating and maximizing memorization, understanding, and anchoring of knowledge. In short, the best of digital technologies, at the service of education.
Should the teachers disappear?
However, obstacles stand in the way of the spread of the metaverse: the economic aspect, for example. The equipment adapted to this type of training, although becoming more and more available, represents a cost which must decrease unless its use is limited to a privileged few and not to the majority. Furthermore, the co-founder of Edusign specifies that if language is a potential barrier, “ Tools exist to translate most of the content in real time. One can imagine an evolution of these tools towards any type of content.»
Finally, traditional training must still do well, even in an increasingly digital world: ” Learning to synthesize, analyze, have a critical view of the information received, but also to be able to exchange, collaborate and build social relationships ” says Elliot Boucher. In fact, neuroscientific research clearly shows that the foundation of all learning is human-to-human construction, and that strong synchronization between teacher and child promotes brain growth and connectivity, as well as early learning*.
The future of education is already underway
In the unprecedented context of a long pandemic, we have witnessed a rapid expansion of virtual learning, which has made it possible to experiment with one of the applications of the metaverse. Companies, universities and schools have implemented distance learning tools and resources available online. The United States, with more funds deployed, has taken the lead on the subject. A dozen experiments with experiences in the form of virtual reality are underway in primary and secondary schools; “metaverse hubs” connect teachers in a shared virtual world; companies offer virtual reality experiences in virtual labs and worlds, and even Meta (Facebook) is dedicated to developing virtual educational applications.
So the metaverse, the future of full-time virtual education or innovation that supports personalized learning modules? It is difficult to decide today, but in an age that already immerses children a lot in the digital world, there is a great risk of neglecting life in the real world. A world that gives way to the essential forms of communication: emotional expressions, affective bonds, touch, smell and body language. Therefore, it will be necessary to find a balance, which may not be easy to achieve in advance.
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*Edusign is a dematerialized solution to unregister students remotely or face-to-face. www.edesign.fr
*source: study “Toddler word learning from contingent displays with and without human presence”, August 2020, Sho Tsuji, A.-C. Fievet, A. Cristia. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S016363832100028X?via%3Dihub