What is the role of education in the metaverse? Is this something educators need to pay attention to? You’ve probably heard the term metaverse pop up in conversations this year. And if you’re finding it hard to make sense of the term metaverse, you’re certainly not alone. Eric Ravenscraft of WIRED magazine describes it as a “vague and complex” term.
One of the best ways to understand something new is to make a comparison to something we already have experience with.
So when I listened to an episode of How I Built This with Guy Raz earlier this summer, it definitely helped me wrap my head around the idea of the role of education in the metaverse. In an August episode, he spoke with David Baszucki, the co-founder of Roblox, about the journey to create this super popular platform. Even the episode description of Roblox helps paint the picture of what the metaverse looks like – as an online space, “with build-your-own avatars and myriad opportunities for users to compete and connect online.” This description helps set the stage for our dive into the role of education in the metaverse.
What is the metaverse?
A quick trip to Merriam-Webster’s site can help us unpack the term. “In its current meaning, metaverse generally refers to the concept of a highly immersive virtual world where people gather to socialize, play, and work.” Now you don’t have to be an expert in gaming or a Roblox user to care about the metaverse. The concept can include many types of social spaces hosted in online environments. Although used in some settings, you don’t necessarily need a virtual reality headset to participate.
This video created by EVERFI helps tackle the term metaverse. It sets us up for a conversation on the role of education in the metaverse. Note: This video is available on YouTube and a great one to bookmark. If someone asks you about the metaverse this school year, you can share this link. Or you might decide to send it to your colleagues even if they haven’t asked you about the metaverse yet.
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5 Reasons to Pay Attention to the Role of Education in the Metaverse
As the term metaverse evolves and we have more examples to examine, it will become increasingly important to pay attention to this space. In particular, we can think about the role of education in the metaverse and the impact of teaching in these online spaces. Let’s take a look at five reasons to pay attention to the role of education in the metaverse. I’ll also share a few free resources from EVERFI you’ll certainly want to explore.
Just like any growing industry, there are opportunities in the future for careers we know about and ones we haven’t dreamed of just yet. Paying attention to the skills students need to be successful in online spaces is one reason to follow the growth of emerging technologies and online spaces like the metaverse.
Spaces in the metaverse include social connections for users. Even if you’re not teaching specifically about the metaverse, students will need practice and experience building digital citizenship skills to navigate these spaces effectively. You may want to introduce content like the free resources in EVERFI’s Digital Wellness and Safety course.
Helping students understand the risks of participating in digital spaces, including online communities, is another reason to pay attention to the metaverse. EVERFI has two lessons in their resource library specifically related to the metaverse. Get Digital – Safety in the Metaverse can help students understand how to navigate risks.
In the same way, we might hesitate to show a video clip that feels dated or out of touch, we want to make sure we’re connecting students’ classroom experiences to relevant content. Of course, paying attention to the metaverse doesn’t mean you have to join in. Still, understanding the core concepts and identifying classroom connections can help your content feel more authentic.
Lastly, there are lots of unknowns when it comes to the role of education in the metaverse. Will you teach a class using an avatar in a virtual classroom someday in the future? Will your students launch their own community in the metaverse ten or fifteen years from now? Paying attention to an emerging technology doesn’t mean we have to become an expert. But it does mean it’s on your radar and you’re thinking about ways it might influence education in the future.
If you’re reading this and want to take the next step to help your students understand the metaverse and build their digital citizenship skills, head over to EVERFI’s website. You can register for a teacher account and access all of their free resources, including their course on Digital Wellness and Safety and Safety in the Metaverse. And be sure to follow them on Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok for more content and student opportunities like their upcoming metaverse student challenge.