What is Metaverse?
Metaverse is a combination of “meta” (processing and abstraction) and “universe” (the real world). Together, “metaverse” is a 3D virtual world where the boundaries between the virtual world and the real world are broken down. The concept is similar to VR (Virtual Reality), but more advanced and is used like a video game. Examples of Metaverse include games such as Animal Crossing and Minecraft where game users use their online space by customizing their character designs and coexist with non-playable characters. In this respect, people in Metaverse can feel as if they were creating their own avatar in another world. One of the common misconceptions about Metaverse is that people think they only do something in virtual spaces that do not exist, but they can create value by implementing the real space in digital twin form and transferring it equally to Metaverse. For example, during the 2020 U.S. presidential election, Biden set up an election campaign in the game, Animal Crossing. Another example is a university in the U.S. which built their campus inside the game, Minecraft, and held a graduation ceremony. It is predicted that market shares for Metaverse will be able to generate at least 260.4 billion dollars in global markets within the next 5 years. According to Statista, a global statistical firm, the Metaverse market is expected to grow to 30.7 billion dollars this year and about 296.9 billion dollars in 2024. In addition, SA (Strategy Analytics), a market research firm, predicts that the Metaverse market will grow from the current 46 billion dollars to 280 billion dollars by 2025. In other words, the Metaverse market is expected to grow at least five to six times in the next four to five years. It is expected to grow its market size by interacting with various fields such as entertainment, education, medical services, Augmented Reality (AR) and VR technology, chipsets, related software engines, video contents, and 5G mobile communication. As such, Metaverse is drawing attention as a major technology in the era of the fourth industrial revolution that will create a sustaining virtual economy.
Utilization of Metaverse in Education
Metaverse is already creating a new change in education. Due to the COVID-19 crisis, non-face-to-face life has expanded with most schools offering online classes. However, online classes have caused many inconveniences and problems in the educational system. For example, having classes online reduces students’ attentiveness and immersion in the classroom and makes group projects impossible to devise. Metaverse can be a realistic solution to solve these limitations of online classes. It can increase students' immersion in classes through VR, and realistic on-site classes where students use their avatars to take classes and ask questions in creative virtual spaces. As a result, utilizing ‘Virtual I’ in the virtual world through Metaverse increases learning effectiveness and allows access to new experiences and content. Take learning differential equation in mathematics for example. Learning its concepts by visual experiences in a 3D virtual space could provide greater learning effects for students; more than explaining formulas with paper textbooks.
On a site called Vulabo, students, in the medical field, are given indirect experiences about meeting emergency patients. Students can virtually meet emergency patients and learn about their condition and treatment. In addition, the Korea Institute of Industrial Technology created “Future VR Lab”, a Metaverse engineering education lab where approximately 20 people can practice at the same time. These labs will help potential students become learners and leaders through practice within virtual environments. This program allows accurate and detailed monitoring of student progress that can help with academic achievement. By using Metaverse, students will be able to learn almost everything from virtual simulations without having to go to their universities. In terms of providing education, schools can prevent possible safety accidents in class because practice takes place in virtual spaces. These advantages will increase the demand for education to use Metaverse, resulting in the emergence of more creative educational content. As a result, students can receive optimal education experience to expand their freedom and creativity.