The seventh forum of the Global MOOC and Online Education Conference 2021 was successfully held on December 9, under the theme “Metaverse and Immersive Technology in Teaching and Learning.”
In the sub-forum co-chaired by the Global MOOC and Online Education Alliance, Tsinghua University, the UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education (UNESCO IITE) and XuetangX, scholars and representatives of leading tech companies had in-depth discussions on the concept of the metaverse, the integration of metaverse technology and education, as well as the latest innovations in the metaverse and education.
He pointed out that the metaverse had a powerful empowering effect on future teaching and learning, and said universities should ponder the relationship between the metaverse and higher education innovation in the future.
The metaverse can help learners focus, inspire imagination and creativity, diversify teaching scenes, reduce the cost of the learning process such as finance and manpower, and promote interpersonal communication and interaction, he said.
He emphasized that the vigorous development of the metaverse was inseparable from continuous and rich humanistic thinking, and called on the sub-forum’s participants to maintain an open mind and imagination, probe into the changes that technology has brought to the human world, and explore more possibilities.
In his keynote speech, Pan Hui, Professor of Computational Media and Arts and Director of the HKUST-DT Systems and Media Lab at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), said that immersive virtual technology could provide targeted auxiliary teaching based on different stages of education. He also pointed out that the current metaverse empowerment education was still limited by hardware and content.
Shi Kanle, Head of Computer Vision, AI Lab “Y-Tech”, Kuaishou Technology, said that the metaverse discussed in the education field was often a digital twin of the real world, and that technology companies had been exploring ways to disseminate knowledge resources to a wider group of people as information.
Wu Chenye, Assistant Professor from the School of Science and Engineering at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (Shenzhen), said that even though metaverse technology was mature, the metaverse ecosystem was not mature yet. He highlighted that user-generated content was an important factor in maintaining the sustainability of the metaverse ecosystem. He also said that the sound ecosystem and the decentralization of the Global MOOC and Online Education Alliance made it take on the embryonic form of the metaverse in higher education.
Faustina Fan, Senior Manager (VR/AR Go-To-Market) at Meta (formerly known as Facebook), said that the metaverse would usher in exponential development from 2023 to 2030. Experiments have shown that the real and immersive experience provided by the metaverse can effectively improve the quality of education. The integration of the metaverse and education was promising, she said.
During the panel discussion, Yang Bin, Xu Bin, Shi Kanle, Wu Chenye, Faustina Fan, and Meta’s AR Product Manager Jia Kenan discussed the concept of the cutting-edge metaverse and metaverse and immersive technology-empowered teaching, and provided constructive ideas to spur innovation and entrepreneurship among students.
In his closing remarks, Yang Bin expressed his heartfelt gratitude to the guests for sharing theories, best practices and thoughts on the metaverse. He said that technology would be more and more deeply integrated with social life, and the boundaries of education would gradually crumble. The development of the metaverse has opened a window of innovation for the future of education. Higher education institutions need to keep exploring, and brainstorm amid mutual exchange and cooperation.
Enoch Wong, Assistant Secretary-General of the Global MOOC and Online Education Alliance, moderated the sub-forum.
Altogether seven sub-forums were held as part of the Global MOOC and Online Education Conference 2021 from December 6 to 9 followed by the main meeting on December 9.