Where did the “Metaverse’ term and idea start?
The “Metaverse” has taken the world to a place of exponential conversations. The news has grabbed hold of this world where it is literally become the buzzword of media and public relations. Some even believe that the now “Meta” (formerly known as Facebook) is the creation of this space.
Hold on for a moment: “Metaverse came from a novel?”
The term “Metaverse was coined by the author Neal Stephenson in his book Snow Crash(1992). The novel was offered as a high fantasy book. This “Metaverse” world had a premise that in the 21st Century there would be an economic crisis and that the City of Los Angeles ceded from the U.S. This The Metaverse was a world that was run by people that influenced economics.
The futuristic novel was based on the Virtual and Augmented reality world that was built from the inside out. There are exchanges of digital currency in the book, neurological symbiotic relationships between the “Metaverse” the physical world. There seem to be a misunderstanding of what is in the alternate verse and the actual universe (physical).
Picture the world space as a three-dimensional place of futuristic ideology in a virtual universe where avatars (people in a virtual space) are able to connect socially and emotionally. You can of course get a summary of the book online. However, I recommend you take time to read the book and compare it to what is being said now about the “Metaverse” along with similarities and differences to what was written and what is happening now.
First things first!
Children seek communication and interaction with others through facial expressions, gestures and babbling. This type of communication has a direct influence on genetics of a child and their brain development (InBrief, 2007). If adults remove or do not allow for this interaction the adult shortens the window for the child(ren) to gain these social cues. Overtime the brain’s ability to build the neuro pathways that create the natural connection between adults and children decreases. If this doesn’t occur before the age of five, children struggle with the tangible world and the relational world.
Children that are born today know the world with technology. Most of can remember a time where cell phones, the internet and laptops didn’t exist. We also know that dreaded sound when we tried to use dial up to get access to the internet.
Here the thing; Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) and now the “Metaverse” are not just a fantasy but a reality. No pun intended. Besides, reality in the “Metaverse” and the actual universe (physical) are quite different. Relatively speaking that is; Children are now born and come to school digitally literate.
Veterans, Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials were born at a time where learning with technology was the norm. We all learned to become Digital Citizens. Generation Z is a different story. They come to school knowing a world that always had Smart Phones, AR, VR, and the internet.
If you were born in 1995 or later that’s you. There is something to be said about their relationships skills since we know that there is a deep connection between a baby and the child’s connection to others. (Note; this does not mean all children did create connections with their caregivers)
However, infants have the need to look at you and thrive on understanding facial expressions, gestures and more. Babies are not linguistic and communicate by touch and visual communication. Also, as children get older and are more engaged in gaming there is a likelihood they will have a delay or not be able to understand facial expressions or facial cues if their caregiver does not engage with them by looking at them and talking to them (Small et al., 2020).
How are educators bringing the Metaverse to fruition?
A private school in Abu Dhabi, Al Lttihad National Private School has developed smart classrooms. They believe that overlooking the “Metaverse” should not happen. They are adapting to change while the change is happening. Now that AR and VR platforms are readily available they believe that technology from their perspective is “a basic right” not a privilege (Hady, 2021).
Some universities have initiated conversations about what the potential may be with integrating the “Metaverse” in higher education. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, educators and professors had to make the shift to online learning whether they were comfortable or not. Some studies believe that the educational gap between the economically disadvantaged and the advantaged widened. However, some will also state that remote learning, with a form of AR/VR, is necessary for the future of education according to The Campus Journal (2021).
Kwang Hyung Lee states they will be putting virtual campuses in place due to the pandemic. By the Fall of 2023, Konza Technopolis is working towards creating a “Metaverse” for universities. This may reduce professors and students travel time or remove it completely. Also, students will be engaging in AR/VR worlds leading in an ever changing.
Where’s the United States in the integrate of the “Metaverse?”
According to U.S. News ROBLOX and Facebook (META) are leading the way on what this will look like for gaming and social media. Even Microsoft is working towards their own “Enterprise Metaverse.” Microsoft is on the way of creating their version of a ‘Metaverse” platform to take on their competition (Ciaccia, 2022). However, it looks as though both Apple and Meta will be the two companies seeking to be the top performers for the “Metaverse Peterson.
What are the implications in education?
Now the virtual world and the physical world are bringing together industry. The explosion of NFTs, Blockchain, and Bitcoin many are using the “Metaverse to create their businesses in this realm. Creating virtual items for sale like art and professional documents are just a couple of examples. International Data Corporation (IDC) states that this industry will reach over $400 billion with AR and VR devices in the coming months and move to over $540 billion by the end of 2025 (VR, AR to Boom on Metaverse, the New Frontier – Chinadaily.Com.Cn, 2021).
Ready Player One the book is now an updated version of where the “Metaverse” comes to life. In 2018 the movie version of the book was introduced to the world. Of course I recommend reading the book before you get the visual what others think the Metaverse looks like.
However, it looks like higher education will be taking the lead on this one. Still professors may be implementing a form of the “Metaverse” when offering knowledge to their students. But who will be taking the lead on providing professional development for PK-12 teachers to use a “Metaverse” platform? What university will be integrating this in their teacher credential programs? Will there be a course for students to take in elementary, middle or high school regarding the “Metaverse?”
Will educators embrace the new Metaverse Platform? Or will there still be a push to stay in the 20th century when it comes to educating students? You know, the early, mid, or late 1900s (ok, that was me being comical).!
How will the “Metaverse address the economic gap in access to the internet and tech tools? Considering that businesses will be using “Metaverse” Platforms it would be advantageous for the K-12 system to start planning what this will look like in schools.
Ciaccia, C. (2022, January 14). Microsoft likely to be a metaverse “winner.” https://seekingalpha.com/news/3788374-microsoft-likely-to-be-a-metaverse-winner-bernstein-says, https://seekingalpha.com/news/3788374-microsoft-likely-to-be-a-metaverse-winner-bernstein-says
Hady. (2021, December 22). The metaverse could be the best thing for students. The National. https://www.thenationalnews.com/opinion/comment/2021/12/22/the-metaverse-could-be-the-best-thing-for-students/
Hyung Lee, K. (2021, October 29). The educational ‘metaverse’ is coming. THE Campus Learn, Share, Connect. https://www.timeshighereducation.com/campus/educational-metaverse-coming
InBrief: The Science of Early Childhood Development. (2007). https://developingchild.harvard.edu/resources/inbrief-science-of-ecd/
Peterson, M. (2021, December 31). Interest in the metaverse to propel both Apple and Meta in 2022, analyst says. AppleInsider. https://appleinsider.com/articles/21/12/31/interest-in-the-metaverse-to-propel-apple-meta-in-2022-analyst-says
Small, G. W., Lee, J., Kaufman, A., Jalil, J., Siddarth, P., Gaddipati, H., Moody, T. D., & Bookheimer, S. Y. (2020). Brain health consequences of digital technology use. Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience, 22(2), 179–187. https://doi.org/10.31887/DCNS.2020.22.2/gsmall
VR, AR to boom on metaverse, the new frontier—Chinadaily.com.cn. (2021). http://global.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202109/02/WS61302575a310efa1bd66cc2c.html