Asia: Using the Metaverse as a Tool in Higher Education

Metaverse exploration initiatives are proliferating, and it is becoming more common for companies to acquire land and/or open a store within the metaverse. Several brands, institutions, and even universities are closely following this trend and have embarked on their metaverse expansion strategy. Educational institutions recognize the benefits of the metaverse as a tool to facilitate educational and pedagogical processes. Two of Asia’s most prominent universities recently announced their plans to integrate the metaverse into their curriculum, each in their own way.

Source: Adobe

The University of Tokyo, one of Japan’s most prestigious institutions of higher education, will introduce a series of courses based on the metaverse later this year. These courses will focus on artificial intelligence, entrepreneurial education, and next-generation communications technologies. The goal is twofold: first, to introduce high school students to possible career paths at the University of Tokyo in engineering and information sciences. Secondly, this initiative should make it possible to fill the lack of qualified personnel to work with digital tools and new technologies in the university environment.

For its part, the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) announced the construction of the world’s first physical digital twin school buildings in virtual space for its two campuses in Hong Kong and the Chinese city of Guangzhou. This shared metaverse will bring the two campuses together as if they were one. Once the ecosystem is in place, students from both universities will be able to design materials available in the virtual world, such as their own avatars, NFTs, tokens, or virtual works, some of which can be used or viewed in physical buildings thanks to augmented reality. Reality technology (AR).

The app, called Metahkust, will allow students from a geographic location to attend classes and events as if they were in the same location. Pang Hui, professor of media and computer arts at the Guangzhou campus, told the South China Morning Post:

“(…) Zoom makes it feel like you’re just looking at a 2D screen. But thanks to virtual reality, you can feel like you are in the right place. I think interaction is very important for learning. The way you interact with the students around you will improve your learning outcomes.”

However, for all the media hype surrounding the Metaverse, invading this universe is far from easy, whether for professionals (as evidenced by the Meta’s lack of progression) or ordinary citizens in their daily lives. While the use of the metaverse in a professional setting is considered one of the most promising applications for this tool, the results of a study by scientists from the University of Coburg, the University of Cambridge, the University of Maritimes and Microsoft Research paint a very different and more pessimistic picture.

According to them, the current technology of the metaverse is not yet suitable for this type of application: indeed, the productivity of 16 different workers developing their tasks in a normal environment seems to be significantly higher than the productivity performed in the general metaverse during the course of a week40. hour work.

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