When Neal Stephenson coined “the Metaverse” three decades ago, his book Snow Crash was found on the shelves of science fiction.
Fast forward to today and that vision is quickly becoming a modern reality.
Numerous companies are now building toward their version of the metaverse, including Neal himself, and through early pioneers like Second Life, Roblox, Epic Games and Facebook, and many more.
There are many different ideas for how the Metaverse will come about, featuring technologies ranging from Virtual and Augmented Reality through the Blockchain and AI, and many compelling visions for where it may lead over the coming decades.
Our guide compiles and showcases this wide spectrum of ideas, technologies and ventures, to provide a comprehensive vision of a Metaverse Future, showcasing Scottish innovators pioneering the trend, important use cases for it’s adoption and massive opportunities for new startup ventures.
In particular there is a key focus on the Education sector, exploring the vast potential for the Metaverse to transform how we learn, and from this reinvent our entire concepts of schooling, a trend that has become known as ‘the Eduverse’.
In his Tedx talk Renaat Toppets reveals the ins and outs of using virtual worlds for education and answers the question of the year: will the Metaverse replace traditional education? Digital guru Bernard Marr explores How Will The Metaverse Transform Education, where he describes how the metaverse is poised to create more engaging, meaningful experiences for students of all ages.
The Center for Universal Education and the Yidan Prize Foundation co-hosted a virtual event Education meets the metaverse: The promise and the worry, to consider a path for bringing the best educational practices into the metaverse, stemming in part from a recent policy brief.
A moderated discussion of expert panelists sought to answer questions such as: How can those creating educational products for the metaverse work with educators and scientists to ensure that children experience real human social interaction as they navigate virtual spaces?
Showcasing Scottish Pioneers
As described in this previous article Scotland is already at the forefront of the trend, with Eduverse pioneers including the ESMS schools in Edinburgh and Forfar Academy.
Championed by Mr Simon Luxford-Moore, ESMS is trailblazing a new category of learning modes: There is visual, auditory and kinaesthetic, and Simon defines ‘Experiential’ as a fourth, with quite profound implications and benefits for teaching.
Forfar Academy is utilizing the technologies to involve students in building skills that will have huge value in the most modern of workplaces.
Scotland’s ambition to be a world-leading digital nation lies in harnessing these trends to transform our Education system, where schoolchildren are empowered to create learning content shared with other students, using the tools and technologies central to the future of the 21st century, and we can look to these visionaries as the catalyst for starting this process.
There are also Scottish businesses carving out a unique capability in this hyper-growth industry opportunity.
This includes i-immersive, a provider of large screen immersive classrooms for schools and colleges, who recently announced a partnership with Metaverse Learning, intended to tackle the teacher shortage problem by enabling colleges to connect campuses and share teaching resources, thereby expanding curriculum equity and accessibility.
They provide an ecosystem of unique immersive classrooms and Metaverse Learning offers a library of immersive learning programs available to license. They’re exploring innovative ways to integrate these simulations into teaching and learning, such as guiding learners through a healthcare simulation on a vast LED screen, inviting the group to suggest the best approach to a patient scenario.
Other exciting ventures includes Edify, founded by Scottish entrepreneurs with backgrounds in immersive content and technology Martin McDonnell and Chris Bryson.
With Edify educators can create and share lessons and immersive learning content with students across desktop, mobile, and virtual reality. This means they can:
- Teach complex and abstract subjects more effectively and in more engaging ways.
- Work in virtual labs to conduct challenging or costly experiments safely and on repeat.
- Travel in time and experience historical sites as they were centuries ago.
- Level up the in-person learning experience, using virtual reality to go anywhere and do anything.
Museums in the Metaverse
Of course there are a multitude of scenarios to apply these types of innovation for educational purposes, beyond the classroom.
One keynote example is the University of Glasgow’s ‘Museums in the Metaverse’ project, for which Edify were recently awarded the contract.
As Neil McDonnell tweets here, the MiM project will create a ground-breaking 2-sided Extended Reality (XR) Culture and Heritage platform, empowering online visitors to explore vast cultural assets in engaging new ways.
Delighted our Museums in the Metaverse project is part of this extraordinary investment in Glasgow. I will be leading alongside @MackayPAG @P14Murray @MariaEcoGl and working with a fantastic project team of tech and heritage partners. *We will be hiring!* Details in thread 1/5 https://t.co/CEiSqz020z
— Neil McDonnell (@nltmcd) March 17, 2023