🌎 STEM ED: ♾ The “Metaverse!” Influencing 🍏 Education

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.

Work citied

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

Published by minablazy

Educational Leadership My Journey…. After receiving my B. S. in Elementary Education with a minor in biology I entered the teaching field. I started my teaching career in Illinois in the late 1990s. I taught middle school science which consisted of mostly physical and chemical science. I enjoyed teaching in the Indian Prairie School District. Especially since I had the opportunity to start my career at a new middle school that embraced the middle school concept that was created by the Association of Middle Level Education. From their I my family and I moved to Ohio where I stayed home with my children when they were young and guest taught part time in the Columbus, Ohio School District. Just under five years my husband embarked on a new career in Palm Springs, California. He went ahead of us in January of 2006. I was surprised to hear that the Coachella Valley needed science teachers. In March of 2006 I flew out for an interview and was given the opportunity to teach middle school in the Fall of 2006. I stayed with the Palm Springs Unified School District (PSUSD) until October of 2012. While teaching I decided to enter the educational leadership program with California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB) in 2009). During the many interviews in leadership I found myself nervous and unsuccessful. After a nice chat with my husband I realized I was just trying too hard. The day I decided to enjoy the interview and really answer the questions thoughtfully was the day I was offered an Assistant Principal position in Southern California. After two years I became an AP at a STEM high school and I am now the proud principal of an extremely STEM elementary school. I could not have done any of this without knowing that my position was bigger than me. I realized that I had to care for the people that work with me, the support staff, and the families and their children. As a leader in education I find that showing that you truly care about the school community is how to create academic success for students. Take care of yourself and family, then take care of the school community. Being a good listener is extremely important. It’s not about you (me)! For some that is difficult to hear. The moment you hear and embrace this concept it is much easier to not take things personally. I will do my best to help guide leaders in education. Ask me anything education and I will definitely take the time to help. Throughout the blogs I will recommend books to read and tips to keeping yourself in a place that supports and helps your school community. One of my favorite authors is Hans Rosling. He stated it is more than just being an optimist it said be a “possiblist.” Yes! Rosling made up a new word. Anything is possible when we are able to see things in our rational minds (Rosling, 2018). I am still on my own journey. There is so much still to do and so many people to help. There are more stories to tell but I will tell them in quick, short blogs. More to come, Mina J. Blazy

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