The “future” classroom may be closer than you think. With the advancement of augmented reality technology and the push given by the pandemic to remote teaching, universities and schools in Brazil and around the world have begun to explore the Metaverso resource. The virtual reality space was sold as the next “revolution” of the Internet, in the 1980s, in which it is possible to buy land, hold meetings, watch shows, football matches and lessons using an avatar that is controlled for you.
Although it’s not entirely new, Metaverso is back on the radar after Mark Zuckerberg, owner of Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram, renamed the holding company Meta and said this would be his next bet. This mix of the Matrix universe with characters from The Sims is now making its way to Brazilian education.
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One of the first classes of its kind was launched last week by the FIA Business School, which has begun running courses on the Metaverse. The teacher uses virtual reality glasses to teach, while students who don’t have the device yet can enter the online space via a video call.
“For them it is an incredible experience. We are not talking about a ‘quarantined’ world, but a different world. A student can participate at home, lying on the bed, when taken to class. There, he walks, talks, clap his hands and interacts with classmates, while I write on the board I make a presentation and answer the questions, ”explains Alessandra Montini, director of the FIA Labdata core, which is responsible for creating the space.
She says she immersed herself for ten days with her classmates to create this virtual classroom. Just holding the remote took three to four hours.
Despite the visual and interactive attractions, Alessandra notes that this is one of the main challenges for Metaverso teachers. “It’s great for the student, because he sits and watches. For the teacher, he has to know the material by heart, follow the expressions of the glyphs to see if the student understands or not, and control the technological resources available… Giving a class in the metaverse is like a marathon.” You have to stop for 15 minutes and rest after that,” he says.
Companies and universities in China, the USA, Mexico and parts of Europe have invested in training and courses taught exclusively in virtual reality. Among the advantages, they highlight the possibility of receiving students and employees from all over the world.
Last month, USP also joined the game and became the first public Brazilian university in the Metaverse, through an international cooperation agreement with Radio Caca (RACA), which provided the institution with its first NFT (non-fungible token). The aim is to encourage research into the technical, economic and legal applications and aspects of the virtual reality world.
This NFT means that the USP has acquired a “piece of rare earth” in its Metaverse developed by the United States of Mars (USM), the online “nation” created by RACA. In practice, the Brazilian Foundation can use this “virtual land” to build spaces for interaction. But before that, it is necessary to find qualified labor to produce the units and the necessary funds to pay for them. “Right now, our goal is to get people and ideas to build a space and things inside of it,” explains Marcus Simplicio, associate professor of computer engineering at USP’s Polytechnic College.
“It’s an expanding market, and not just for those coming from the tech field,” notes Juliana Tenorio, director of educational solutions at the Brazilian Institute of Capital Markets (Ibmec).
She says the search for jobs in this field has grown both in the marketplace and on LinkedIn. In partnership with the magazine ExamThis year, Ibmec launched a master’s course in Digital Manager and Metaverso, which lasts for one year, costs just over R$18,000, is conducted entirely online and is equivalent to a postgraduate degree recognized by the Ministry of Education. information from the newspaper State of Sao Paulo.