In our digital, interconnected world, quality pathways to learning abound–from educational videos, to math games, to tablet-connected robotic kits. These are perfect for Gen Z and Gen Alpha, since they are digital natives who thrive on digital experiences. Nothing hooks them into learning like a new app or virtual offering. If you’re looking to add more online-learning-momentum to your class, there’s an exciting new tool on the block: metaverse games.
Through the metaverse, digital worlds come alive, giving classrooms the opportunity to blast off into a galaxy of experiential learning. In this virtual space, students can do everything from building with geometry concepts to traveling back in time for an immersive history lesson.
Educators can look to burgeoning virtual reality and metaverse technology to add new dimensions to students’ academic life.
In this article, we’ll run through the basics of what the metaverse is, how people use it for gaming, and all its exciting applications for classrooms and schools.
Question: What’s the Metaverse?
Answer: a digital, 3D network of interactive spaces, activities, and events. In a sense, the metaverse is the next evolution of the internet–an expanded, immersive iteration.
However, keep in mind that the definition of the metaverse is fluid. Developers are still refining it, and will continue to do so. The metaverse will always be ever evolving.
That being said, the metaverse is very much here.
In case you haven’t heard much about the metaverse, there are some big names bringing awareness to it:
- Facebook did a full rebrand as “Meta”
- Roblox and Fortnite each attracted millions to metaverse concerts
- Microsoft recently bought a gaming company for it’s high metaverse potential
Clearly, the metaverse is the next big thing.
Users can enter this world of possibility through extended reality (see below), accessible via a variety of devices. For a fully immersive experience, you’ll need a VR headset. However, tablets, laptops, and smartphones can also get you in.
A Crash Course in Extended Reality
If you’re planning on introducing the metaverse into your classroom soon, it’s important to have a firm grasp on what Extended Reality (XR) is.
XR is an umbrella term that encompasses a few different digital experiences (VR, AR, and MR). You can read more about these (and related terms) below.
- In Virtual reality (VR), students enter a simulated, 3D reality through a head-mounted display. Their real-world audio and visual stimuli are replaced by digitally-generated counterparts. As they move around, they can interact with nearby digital objects.
- In Augmented reality (AR), students view digitally-generated content through a see-through, head-mounted display. They remain grounded in the physical world, but can interact with digital elements (i.e. hiding behind a virtual rock).
- In Mixed reality (MR), students can use mobile devices or see-through, head-mounted displays to view digital elements superimposed on their physical surroundings. With MR, there is little interaction between the digital and physical elements.
- Blockchain: A method of storing data in a chain, rather than in one central database. Blockchain are stored in chunks across several different linked devices. Blockchains will be used in the metaverse for things like buying and selling real and virtual goods.
- Cloud computing: A method of processing data on remote servers instead of on a local computer. It takes a lot of computing power to handle complex environments, so cloud computing will be necessary to keep the metaverse running.
An Immersive Internet
O.K., so the metaverse integrates many top-of-the-line technologies, but what exactly is its purpose? What can it do?
A better question is “what can’t the metaverse do?” Not much.
At its core, the metaverse is a way to expand our physical world into the digital world to connect with new people and experience new things.
The metaverse is already enabling users to do the impossible–from piloting a (pretend) airplane from your couch to dissecting a digitally-generated brain. In the metaverse, the constraints of gravity and physics don’t apply. It will allow humans to do things we’ve never done before.
Plus, the metaverse also augments run-of-the-mill processes, like meetings. Tired of Zoom? Try joining a 3-D, digital workspace with your colleagues, complete with avatars that look just like them.
As the metaverse grows, it will become a staple of academic and professional lives. The metaverse in a ideal platform for:
- Professors and teachers to share virtual lectures
- Med students to learn procedures in a low-risk environment
- Engineers to test out ideas before creating prototypes
The metaverse is an incredible leap forward in digital connectivity. It continues to impact many important spheres of daily life. But of course, it also has amazing potential for entertainment.
Specifically, the metaverse is a growing hub of gaming.
Metaverse Platforms Are the Future of Gaming
The metaverse enables mixed reality gaming that makes virtual experiences feel more organic. This gives it huge potential to engage players in entirely new ways by bringing them directly into games. These possibilities are why the metaverse is being hailed as the future of gaming.
The metaverse emphasizes connection. This makes it a natural way to change the landscape of gaming, since socialization is central to so many games. Extended reality makes cooperative and competitive gaming more immersive for users, who can actually play side by side in digital environments.
Cutting-Edge Learning With Metaverse Games
But wait, what does this have to do with your classroom? A lot!
You already know that kids learn through play, which is why sites like Prodigy, Kahoot!, and BrainPop can be way more effective teaching tools than, say, a textbook published four decades ago.
The metaverse is much the same. It presents educators with an abundance of opportunities to make learning feel like a game. At Kai XR, we believe that the next step in education is interactive, engaging, and tech-forward learning, and that the metaverse is a powerful tool to achieve this.
For decades, educators have sought to make learning feel more like playing a game. Plenty of research supports this approach. Teaching through games improves student motivation and engagement. It also helps them to retain more information from a lesson. Plus, it can facilitate shifts from fixed to growth mindsets.
The beauty of educational video games (including those in the metaverse) is that they greatly reduce the amount of time educators must spend trying to get students interested in a topic. For example, there’s little need to spend valuable lesson time convincing students that the math concept they’re learning really does have practical applications, when you can instead send them into the metaverse to try the concept out for themselves. It’s a win-win.
For example, educators who use the metaverse environment Roblox (we’ll share more about this site below), say that this digital experience gets their students excited about learning. They noted that the metaverse presents many organic opportunities for students to problem-solve and explore. It naturally supports learning.
Plus, hands-on, interactive learning with the metaverse can support any subject area.
- During a social studies class, students could visit historical sites, witness moments in history, or talk with historical figures
- During math, students could manipulate tools, models, and numbers to make abstract mathematical concepts more concrete
- Reading in the metaverse would allow students to take notes, search for definitions, or even phonetically break words apart with unimaginable ease
- In science class, students could conduct digital experiments and examine things like cells and galaxies up close
Teaching with the metaverse doesn’t just support what students learn, though. It also supports how they learn. Teachers constantly face the huge task of delivering lessons which will meet the diverse needs of their students. Extended reality in the metaverse and VR classroom will make this easier. Interactive, digital tools will let educators customize content to students’ needs on the fly. Because the metaverse is immersive, it lends itself to the needs of all types of learners.
Below, we’ll provide tips on safely incorporating the metaverse into any classroom, as well as the exciting applications of specific platforms (including our own).
Is the Metaverse Safe for Kids?
We’re guessing that your first hesitation when it comes to the metaverse is safety. Wondering how you can monitor dozens of kids in somewhat uncharted territory? We get that it seems daunting.
However, we’d like to stress that it is 100% doable. In fact, keeping students safe on the metaverse is not much different than keeping them safe on the internet.
The first step is to make sure you provide students with age-appropriate devices.
Currently, VR headsets aren’t recommended for use by kids under the age of 13. That’s why, at Kai XR, we ensure that all our metaverse experiences are also accessible via VR tablets, smartphones, and computers. In fact, we even created a specific platform for this, called “Exploration Mode.”
The next step is to only give students access to teacher-approved tools that are ad- and age-inappropriate-content free.
For example, our platform is safe for students of all ages to explore and completely free from ads. We also provide age guidelines on each of our virtual experiences so educators can decide if each offering is right for their class.
Below, we’ll take a look at a few sites (including our own!) that can be safe for classrooms. We’ll also pass along some tips on how to make the most of them.
Educational Metaverse Games: Roblox
Roblox is a massively popular online ecosystem. Over 47 million users log on each day, and nearly half of those users are under the age of 13.
Many think of Roblox as a simple computer game, but the company has actually built an entire virtual world in the metaverse. That’s why, for many kids, Roblox serves as a stepping stone into the metaverse.
Teachers are discovering that Roblox’s metaverse environment is an immersive tool for STEAM education. In particular, the ability to create new worlds encourages kids’ creativity while helping them learn to code.
Roblox also has an advanced physics engine, meaning it obeys the same laws of physics as the real world. This makes the game an engrossing way to teach concepts like forces and motion. Students can even explore these topics by building simple machines within Roblox.
The open-ended nature of Roblox encourages problem solving and critical thinking. It also helps meet kids’ natural need for meaningful exploration and play by opening a virtual world to them.
Educational Metaverse Games: Fortnite
Fortnite is a multiplayer battle royale game. It’s also part of the metaverse–millions have attended virtual concerts in Fortnite’s metaverse space.
In the future, more events will be held in Fortnite and similar platforms, too. Educational seminars, performances, screenings of movies, sporting events, and more will be accessible to people around the world using extended reality technology.
But how is Fortnite applicable to educators?
Well, Fortnite offers a “Creative Mode,” that lets students build their own maps. Many educators have found that this can be dynamically applied to their classroom. Students can use this mode to create buildings and landscapes–all with the ultimate goal of learning geometry and practicing math skills.
Educational Metaverse Games: Kai XR
At Kai XR, we bring classrooms into the metaverse through engaging virtual field trips. With us, your students can tour mars without leaving the rug.
Our goal is to empower young minds by making learning in the metaverse accessible to all students. We believe that the future of education is at the intersection of inclusivity and opportunity, so we’re designing digital tools to help propel classrooms forward.
We use the metaverse to extend the reach of the classroom. Our experiences are in the spirit of traditional field trips, but fully hosted in XR. These virtual field trips have benefits including:
- Increased information retention
- Higher levels of engagement
- Boosted social-emotional learning
- Heightened 21st-century skills
Learning in Kai XR’s sphere of the metaverse lets students explore real and fictional settings, as well as peek at different career opportunities. These experiences can enhance learning in all subject areas and improve critical thinking.
Kai XR offers more than 100 VR kid field trips in the metaverse, including:
- Our Solar System Virtual Field Trip: Investigate the cosmos during an afternoon in outer space.
- Rescuing Rhinos Virtual Field Trip: Get an up-close view of one of the world’s most endangered species, and learn about the conservation efforts to protect these massive creatures.
- The Great Barrier Reef Virtual Field Trip: Dive into the Pacific Ocean to see this colorful, underwater ecosystem.
- The Washington Monument Virtual Field Trip: Visit the Washington Monument in Washington D.C., and learn about the history behind this iconic site.
- Nickelodeon HQ Virtual Field Trip: Take a behind-the-scenes tour to meet the people who bring some of our favorite characters to life. Students will love learning more about what illustrators do at animation studios.
- Aerospace Engineering Virtual Field Trip: Learn about the incredible job of an aerospace engineer as they work to develop the tech that takes humans to space.
- Starry Night Virtual Field Trip: Step into Vincent Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” to see the famous painting from a new perspective.
- Earthquake Virtual Field Trip: Learn about the incredible power of an earthquake by witnessing how these destructive forces change the Earth’s surface.
- Paris Virtual Field Trip: Explore the historic streets of Paris and visit some of the city’s most famous sites.
- Cells Virtual Field Trip: Shrink down to a cellular level to investigate the building blocks of all living things.
Any of those experiences sound perfect for your classroom? If so, you can learn about bringing Kai XR to your program or school.
Metaverse Games Are the Future of Educational Technology
As metaverse gaming spreads into the mainstream, students will need to be comfortable utilizing extended reality devices and exploring digital worlds. This means it’s more important than ever to foster students’ digital literacy with expeditions into the metaverse.
This tech will shape students’ critical thinking and creativity in ways that reach far beyond the classroom. From biology to art class, metaverse games can immerse students into the content they’re studying in promising new ways.
At Kai XR, we’re helping to build the metaverse by filling it with student-centric, educational VR experiences. We strive to inspire the next generation of innovators and creators by empowering students with inclusive, engaging, and high-tech learning.
Ready to explore the metaverse? Get started as an early adopter of this futuristic technology by signing up for Kai XR today. Check out the 100+ virtual field trips we offer about topics ranging from aerospace engineering to the Egyptian pyramids.
Want to read more? Check out:
- The Metaverse: Transforming K-12 Education & Learning
- Exploring the Obama Portraits in VR with Artist Amy Sherald
- Learn Through Exploration with Virtual Field Trips for Kindergarten
Featured Image: Unsplash