• Updated : 2022.1.3 월 13:37
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Get Ready to Dive Deep Into the Metaverse!
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승인 2021.09.10  17:16:55
트위터 페이스북 미투데이 요즘 네이버 구글 msn
▲ Ryu Jee-heon, Professor, Department of Education

Metaverse is probably one of the most popular words these days. The jargon, metaverse, seemed to come out of nowhere, but now we feel everyone should know it even if they cannot conceptualize the meaning. If you are still unfamiliar with the metaverse, let's think about the following questions. What is the metaverse? Is metaverse different from the video games I've played before? Or is it still some game? Why has it been so many cases to connect the metaverse with higher education these days? What are the essential words of the metaverse concerning the educational environment? These various questions are likely to come out with tails on their tails.

Let's look at these questions one by one. First of all, the metaverse means some virtual worlds beyond the others. In a science fiction novel in 1992, Neal Stephenson coined this term to refer to a metaphysical world in which people interact with each other using avatars in a three-dimensional virtual space. Well, defining the metaverse is difficult, but it is not a form of software. In the metaverse, you can interact with your companion in the virtual learning space while remaining connected socially in the real one. Metaverse is a shared online space in the virtual environment with 3d graphics. Then, is the metaverse a video game? It looks like one of them. If you are playing a game that provides spatial perception in a virtual game space, you belong to the metaverse in the game.

However, the metaverse is more than a video game; instead, it is a social place. The metaverse can be explained as a slightly broader concept in that it enables social interaction like the real world. For instance, in the game, the interaction with players is only based on the competition to win. However, in the metaverse, it is necessary to have social interaction with emotional expression. Social interaction is crucial to building a collaborative relationship with others as a team. It is a significant reason we are trying to apply the metaverse as the learning environment. We can find the pedagogical value to the most critical implication with the social interactions among learners in the virtual space. Technological advances have made the implementation of virtual reality easier, faster, and even more realistic. Moreover, in a situation where the pandemic continues, the streaming-oriented online learning environment has begun to experience limitations.

There are two reasons to apply metaverse as an innovative learning environment. First, we can learn more when we have embodied experience. The embodiment implies that movement is so essential for our understanding. When we learn something, rather than simply memorizing knowledge, we must learn by touching and moving to understand it well. This learning activity is called embodied cognition. Learning through spatial movement helps in authentic learning. Second, it is easier to express emotions in the metaverse because we play avatars as a surrogate of ourselves. The avatar-based relation sometimes helps to form social relationships. The perception of being with others during learning is vital to create a social presence in online learning. We can have the feeling of learning together with other people in the metaverse.

How will the metaverse change university education in the future? Metaverse has high potential because it has network-based virtual reality implementation technology. How should we face these changes? Rather than following the changes, I hope you could become to lead them. We want our students to become more creative and challenging, innovative people who lead change. Our present is always in progress. As the future possibilities are open-ended, it is essential to make more challenging attempts.

By Ryu Jee-heon, Professor, Department of Education

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