In a world where everything is digital and education is increasingly taking place online, it’s time to rethink education and shape the next incarnation of education in the Metaverse.
A word that in Greek means ‘beyond” or “after”, while in English the prefix “meta” connotes transcendence. A shared, virtual space where people can meet, interact and create together, and share ideas and experiences in a truly global classroom. The Metaverse is a place where education happens anytime, anywhere.
The education system is in crisis and needs to adapt to the times. With too much focus on testing and not enough attention paid to creativity or social-emotional skills development; children are being educated inefficiently. The education system needs to be more innovative and creative if it wants the generations of tomorrow ready for a digital world.
When the word ‘metaverse’ started dominating the news cycle in 2021, UK leader in British Online Education, Sophia Technologies Ltd, saw the future of education in a new digitised world and began to build an ecosystem and team that would work together to shape it.
The Athenaverse Project : Building The First Education City in the Metaverse
In a groundbreaking partnership between Sophia Technologies, Immersive VR world building Platform provided by Oasis Meta Games (OMG) running on top of Somnium Space, and leading Metaverse builder and creator UltraLord. OMG provides the first layer 2 solution for metaverse to give us a scalable solution and easy access to complex features we need to realise our vision of a better and more equitable future for education. This partnership enables us to start building the first home to Education in the Metaverse – The Athenaverse Project.
Athenaverse is the first of its kind for education and it brings opportunities for collaborative learning and co-creation into the virtual, persistent, worlds of Somnium Space. Founder of Sophia Tech, Melissa McBride shared ‘it is now possible for K12 students globally to get an exceptional and affordable British Education Online. The future is now about learning in immersive virtual reality and developing essential Web3 digital skills for life and work in a cyber focused world.’
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A Digital Future For Education
After two disruptive years, where online education has pushed remote learning from the occasional to the everyday; education finds itself at a paradigm shift from an analogue model to digital. Schools, education groups, and investors are actively seeking new opportunities to address the challenges in education, increase numbers and reduce spending. Increasingly this includes hybrid learning models which offer virtual and immersive learning experiences, to accelerate growth, reach new geographic markets, adapt to the changing needs of today’s students, and address a global teaching crisis.
And make no mistake, this Metaverse is coming. The reality is the metaverse is now being tipped as the next incarnation of the internet, and huge companies around the world are investing vast sums of money in it. The Metaverse offers a chance to do things differently as we imagine a world where you can be anything, do anything, and learn everything in one place. Recent advances in digital technology have made it possible to create immersive, persistent, realistic 3D virtual learning environments that can be accessed from anywhere on the globe. This is the dawn of a place where education can fire up kids’ imaginations and spark their natural curiosity, equipping them with the personal and digital tools they will need for the future.
The power of OMG Engine in combination with Somnium Space Worlds gives us the ability to create fully programmable virtual environments tailored to the needs of our students. With this technology we can take them on storytelling journeys throughout an entirely immersive virtual world to develop engaging new ways of teaching beyond the physical classroom. Instead of watching a lesson, students learn in real-time, use game-based styles of learning to captivate the imagination and gain exposure to the emerging future world of life and work in a metaverse of connected online worlds. Students can even take an active role in developing these worlds and shape their own future.
McBride believes, ‘as we approach the dawn of the Metaverse, educators, creators and developers can work together to co-construct engaging, immersive, and collaborative opportunities that are good for children, teachers, and families.’
Children will be able to experience real human social interaction on a global scale as they navigate virtual spaces, in ways that ensure the safeguarding and wellbeing of children are supported, and in keeping an eye on diversity in the representation and access to what is created. In doing so we shape a future of education where deep transferable learning can last a lifetime and we open the doors to a guided play-based model of education that could represent the schools of the future.