SCHOOL / teacher, students and bureaucrats will be overwhelmed by Metaverse?

The quality of teaching is becoming increasingly important and is underpinned by didactic innovations, so it is useful to spend a few words on what Metaverse is and why, in his wake, Mark Zuckerberg has changed the name of Facebook to Meta.

In summary, Metaverse is a much more absorbing and immersive virtual reality than any experienced before. Thanks to a visor (today special glasses are being tested, much less invasive), you can enter a virtual world using your own avatar, which can interact with other people’s avatars. Our digital selves thus experience a life parallel to what we commonly consider real. The first expansion of this new reality will probably take place through the spread of community games, where each individual gets his own role, “embedded” in a more or less stable player.

However, one can imagine how the Metaverse can be extended to involve other areas, such as work, where different activities will be possible (for example, those we perform in the presence of our colleagues today) and real transactions, such as the sale of goods and things . Not surprisingly, in the reality of Metaverse we have money (cryptocurrencies) for the purchase of digital objects, which, registered by special algorithms (blockchain), become irreplaceable and unique, or Nft (Not Fungible Token).

One wonders if someone, after experiencing parallel life for many hours during the day, still prefers their physical and real identity to the digital one. Perhaps some would choose the virtual world, because more is adapted to your needs rather than the right one. Above all, at this point, it is useful to ask another question: is it possible that in the future the Metaverse does not involve the world of education and school?

The question is rhetorical, because inevitably that world will be permeated and perhaps overwhelmed by the Metaverseactually all the way through gamification, i.e. the didactic use of video game mechanisms. Furthermore, there are clear economic signs of what is happening: the financial sector is interested in education because an incredible transformation of human capital is underway worldwide, as claimed by Fabio Vaccarono, CEO of Multiversity, the company that controls various private universities (Pegaso, Mercatorum and more).

Some means of capital fund they invest in companies dealing with education, in the most promising start-ups, which not only make predictions about the future, but help build it, according to the dynamics of “self-fulfilling” prophecies. Indeed, it can be expected that such a powerful and immersive virtual reality such as Metaverse will find training applications. It is clear how, thanks to it, it is possible to create endless situations with the aim of building or testing students’ skills. Moreover, teaching will consider extraordinary adaptation processes, and the role of the teacher, who still carries out mostly broadcast lessons, in “cinema mode”, will require strong innovations. The teachers become animators and leaders of the learning processes.

This may not please, and indeed will disdain a significant portion of the school’s teachers and unions, but if it was shown that with Metaverse you can learn more effectively, it would be difficult to advocate in advance the only value of traditional lessons. The primacy of the state education system will also enter into a crisis that in Italy enjoys an indestructible credit: schools will be judged by public opinion for how they function, regardless of whether they are public institutions or private companies.

There is also a final aspect to be aware of, which is related to the role that the school can have in terms of social cohesion, which is a theme that is not always properly identified. According to Perulli and Vettorino, the traditional social composition of classes today is undergoing radical change, and errors have emerged that describe a triad of social groups: the elite, often indifferent to national destinies, and gradually declining, the creative class, which makes use of knowledge as a working tool and, finally, neo-life, which includes people in difficulties, animated by anger and constant risk of detachment.

The creative class is the one that would keep alive the code of responsibility that Hegel identified in the civil society of his time. People who, thanks to their knowledge, believe that they can pursue their own interest in line with the general interest of society; who believe they can achieve prosperity through cosmopolitanism, which allows them to open new markets for ideas. The eventual expansion of this class would represent society’s greatest chance of maintaining cohesion.

Also for these reasons, didactic innovation, which favors the spread of the creative class, indirectly promotes a social balance, and the Metaverse can, in my opinion, represent an opportunity to be seized.

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