Studying at Metavers will soon cease to be science fiction. That’s what Alban Miconnet, president of Kwark Education, promised during Metakwark’s presentation. “the first open educational metavers “, which should welcome its first students in September 2022. 15 “metacampuses” are already being built, specifically those of the ESC Pau business school, the schools of the MediaSchool Group or the GES / Eductive Network.
“Metavers is a 3D immersive virtual environment in which people are represented by avatarswhich can have social interactions, and which is open 24 hours a day, ”he explains.
A “scalable” universe, which can therefore be adapted to the number of its users, and which has been developed to “encourage learning”. Thus, architecture immerses us in an environment that is both futuristic and natural, “in order to inspire students to learn”, explains Manal Rachdi, the architect who designed the metavers space. “You have to make them want to go, allow them to be somewhere other than reality”: “learning in the woods is possible in the metavers!”
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“We wanted create a learning environment that provokes emotion, emphasizing the characteristics and pedagogical usesAlban Miconnet specifies an interface that allows you to “weave social ties”.
“What students who were asked to take courses at Zoom lacked was being able to meet, ask questions, interact with other students. However, in the metavers, it’s totally possible. We can get together to see one for the “We can also walk and meet random people.” Therefore, a metaverse should allow both the development of distance learning for those who need it but also to extend the learner’s experience after face-to-face classes.
To design Metakwark, Kwark Education asked Manzalab, a French company specializing in virtual reality and in particular in “serious games”, this software that allows you to train using video game concepts.
In the metavers, the presence of his avatar, which can be very realistic because it is created from a photo, ensures “a virtual presence”. As to spatial presence, is linked to an environment that resembles reality.
In Metakwark, there are classrooms, amphitheaters, rest areas … “If the virtual allows us everything, even holding meetings on Mars, it’s not necessarily a good idea,” says Clément Merville, president of Manzalab. Because the idea is not to distract the learner, but to “make him rediscover the feeling that there are real people behind the screen.”
Why is it time for immersive learning?
After two years marked by the pandemic and the fatigue linked to distance learning, What can metavers bring to schools that depend on it? Many have already tried virtual campuses, remote open days, with varying degrees of success. For Matthias Bauland, CEO of Mediaschool Development, this is a project “that will transform the world of higher education.”
The group’s schools are already planning to hold their open house with Metakwark. “It is a more personal, fun and inclusive educational experience“Says Anne-Ségolène Abscheit, Academic Director of Education, who sees the possibility of offering” a learning experience that responds to the difficulties of distance care, especially when it comes to complicated concepts. ”
She also bets on “a pedagogical transformation “, which allows” to teach the uses of the metavers, in the metavers “. Florent Deisting, Development Director of ESC Pau goes even further. If the use of Metakwark can first facilitate “the hybridization of training”, even imagine a “disintermediation of higher education”: “why not imagine, tomorrow, that a student can choose the best course of each school? What can create your diploma between different entities?
In first place, Metakwark is expected to reach 180,000 students on 15 campuses, including those at ESC Pau Business School, MediaSchool Group schools and the GES / Eductive Network. Each actor will be able to propose events – master classes, conferences -, meetings (open days, work appointments) or even immersive practical work and spaces for tutorials.
The metavers should be adapted as much as possible to the uses of each one. “We want to put people back in technology“Concludes Alban Miconnet, who hopes to” improve the existing “and for whom the experience of video conferencing will be as far removed from that of metavers” as that of telephone booths is from the use of mobile phones. “
Other higher education institutions are interested in metavers and other projects are taking shape. Thus, the management school Neoma has announced the strengthening of its virtual campus, deployed since September 2020, while next to the communication school Iscom is investigating to integrate “bricks” of metavers at the beginning of the course 2022.