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What Is A Metaversity? What Educators Need To Know

What is a Metaversity? What Educators Need to Know

There has been a lot of talk about the Metaverse lately, but what exactly is it? And how is it influencing other areas of life, particularly education? Could we see a ‘Metaversity’ existing in the near future?

The Metaverse is an immersive digital world that combines augmented and virtual reality. It is an online space where users can interact, work, play, and conduct different activities. The Metaverse uses advanced technology like artificial intelligence, blockchain, 3D rendering,  cloud computing, and more to create a simulated universe. It can be accessed via AR/VR headsets, smartphones, or computers.

For education purposes, the Metaverse provides a foundation to access a wide range of engaging materials and experiences. Students can visualize concepts, collaborate with one another, and learn through gamified actions. Notably, students can attend a Metaversity, which is a university or educational institution within the Metaverse. Here, students can enroll in curated courses and earn certifications in subjects that aid skill development in our digital age. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, notably said that the Metaverse is “the next chapter of the internet overall.” 

Explore how universities might function in the metaverse and why this could be education’s next chapter.

The “Metaversity”: An accessible, advanced teaching environment

The Metaverse education market is already showing substantial growth. By 2030, predictions state that it will be worth $1.9 billion and have more than 73.9 million users. Part of the interest in the Metaverse and Metaversities is their accessible nature – students from all backgrounds and with different capabilities can tap into the virtual world and online teaching.

Considering how the pandemic revealed the importance of equal access to quality education, Metaversities offer a landscape where students can choose what they learn, when they learn, and how they learn. Students simply need a smart device and an internet connection and they can tap into both the Metaverse and Metaversity. This can make modern education more democratic because students can participate in activities that use the most up-to-date technology and strategies.

Likewise, students aren’t restricted by geography. For example, individuals in remote areas can take classes with top tutors thousands of miles away. Alternatively, older students with other responsibilities like children and work don’t have to spend time commuting to classes. 

Students have also reported that virtual learning spaces can reduce their fear of speaking during lessons, meaning Metaversity courses can potentially encourage more dynamic and diverse discussions than in-person courses. 

These traits enhance Metaversities’ accessibility and, consequently, make it a more impactful educational environment.

The world’s first Metaversity (and many to follow)

Morehouse College, based in Atlanta, Georgia, launched the first Metaversity in 2021, following the school’s closure of its physical campus due to Covid-19 lockdowns. The college partnered with educational virtual reality developers and established a digital twin of the campus, complete with a quad, chemistry lab, and fictional landscapes to support immersive learning. In the Metaversity, students can create an avatar of themselves and can socialize with peers and attend classes.

The Morehouse Metaversity Director said that the space empowers students to master concepts much faster than in classrooms, as well as eliminates in-person distractions like phones. It equally offers more captivating lessons for students than just Zoom calls. Moreover, the Metaversity has proven to positively influence learning – class attendance in Morehouse increased by 10% and student achievement by 11.9%.

With these results, the doors are opening for more institutions to build their own Metaversity. Meta, has pledged $150 million to its Immersive Learning Project, which works with over 100 higher education organizations to develop immersive virtual reality learning programs. As more Metaversities are formed, innovation will progress within these digital realms and more students will be able to reap more benefits from them.

Emerging technologies are the foundation for mass Metaversities

Metaversities have so much potential because they can be customized based on students’ and institutions’ preferences. For instance, Metaversities don’t have to only incorporate VR and AR; they can embrace tools that use AI and integrate them within virtual classrooms. 

ELSA is a prime example with its AI speech recognition technology. In a Metaversity, students learning English can speak into the app and receive accurate, real-time feedback about their pronunciation, grammar, fluency, sentence delivery, and more. As the AI is fueled data by diverse English accents, ELSA can accurately spot common errors made by English learners. Self-evolving AI analyzes behaviors, personalizing content and tasks for individuals’ optimal learning experiences.

This personalization in Metaversities boosts course completion rates and enhances content understanding.

Connecting these types of tools to other technologies can enhance the overall educational experience. For instance, sharing student performance data with educators helps identify strengths and areas requiring extra attention. Similarly, tools can complement one another. If an ELSA user needs support speaking English in more formal settings, an AR simulation in a Metaversity could set-up an interview scenario where students practice without anxiety of real-world repercussions.

Metaversities are a natural evolution in education. As the world around us shifts online, education has to follow suit and introduce smarter ways to facilitate learning. Metaversities not only enhance education quality but also bolster equity and ready students for the digital era.

Given the available resources, Metauniversities will likely become the new virtual home for education.

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