Words by Jhesi Howerton
I have used Metaverse in my classroom for the past year. I’ve created review games, scavenger hunts, and icebreaker get to know you activities. But the most impactful use of Metaverse in my classroom is when I have students take control of the creating and use it to demonstrate their learning.
In my 8th-grade math class, we end our school year with a cross-curricular Project Based Learning Project (PBL). Our students design and create an amusement park. Students create a scaled map of their park using all their math skills learned throughout the year, a model of one of their rides applying their science skills they have acquired, a commercial that advertises their park, and an elevator pitch and proposal of why their amusement park should be chosen as the one to be built. The project concludes with a science fair-style exhibition where students “pitch” their STEAM amusement park project to community guest, parents, and teachers.
Metaverse was showcased throughout our project. Several students wanted to add a “wow factor” to their project and wanted to incorporate Metaverse into their presentation. One group created their entire presentation on Metaverse and when guest scanned their QR Code, they were taken through an Augmented Reality experience of different aspects of their presentation. They even linked their green screen video recorded commercial to the experience.
We are a Google Suite School and use Google Tools in our classes. Students are very familiar with creating a Google Slide Presentation. One of our groups wanted to add a little more flair to theirs by linking their Google Slide Presentation with Metaverse and adding a QR Code to their ride model that guest could scan and enjoy their presentation.
Several students created Metaverse experiences that were added to the scaled map of their park that took guest on a virtual tour and gave descriptions of the individual rides. The interactiveness of the maps made them more than just a two-dimensional paper that hung in the background during the showcase.
When it was time to set up our projects, several students asked if they could create a custom photo filter and hashtag for guest to take pictures and for students to use throughout the day. The students created a photo banner that represented our school colors and mascot. The students hung posters throughout our building of how to use the filter using Metaverse. It was an amazing experience seeing students promote the projects on social media.
Many guests from the community had never experienced Augmented Reality. They were in awe of what these students had created. Many of them commented on how when they were in school, projects were just made out of materials found at home, but these kids were creating and using mediums in ways they didn’t even know were possible.
Project Based Learning is about engaging students in solving a real-world problem or answering a complex question. They demonstrate their knowledge by developing a product to show a real audience. Through the process of the project, students develop a deep conceptual understanding of the material as well as critical thinking and communication skills; qualities students will need to be successful in “the real world.”
Through this project our students’ grit and creativity shined. They took a few basic requirements and developed projects that were business worthy. Projects that were creative, showed ingenuity, and possibly laid the framework for future creators and makers. Metaverse was instrumental in this project. It gave students the ability to enhance their projects and showcase their best selves. Metaverse broke the mold of what many thought projects had to be. Students used the platform in ways that demonstrated what the future holds and how technology will be used in future classrooms.