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Thursday, May 25, 2023

Metaverse education blossoms in South Korea, Japan, Taiwan

Still wondering the ultimate value of the Meta.   Have seen simple examples, but not the strongest. 

Metaverse education blossoms in South Korea, Japan, Taiwan

Teaching taps VR even as emerging tech's mass adoption remains in doubt

South Korea's Pohang University of Science and Technology wants to become a "metaversity" with digital classrooms.   © Photo courtesy of Pohang University of Science and Technology

DYLAN LOH, Nikkei staff writer

May 8, 2023 11:29 JST

SINGAPORE -- Educators in Asia are dipping their toes into the metaverse, the much-hyped virtual reality where humans can interact socially in cyberspace, even as emerging technology in this space grapples with finding its place in the real world.

From South Korea to Taiwan, schools and other organizations are tapping the metaverse as a tool for instruction, experimenting with VR applications to bring teaching beyond the classroom and devise new ways of imparting knowledge and skill.

Pohang University of Science and Technology in South Korea is working to become a "metaversity" where classrooms are digitalized into the metaverse, offering training courses in cyberspace.

The university, known as POSTECH, serves 1,400 undergraduate and 2,500 graduate students who work with 450 faculty members and 820 researchers in fields like energy, materials, basic science, information communications technology and health.

"Virtual reality technology can be applied in fields that are difficult to access in reality, such as outer space and the nanoworld," Moo Hwan Kim, the university's president, told Nikkei Asia. "In the long run, it will be able to replace classes that require more hands-on experiences or training in dangerous environments."

POSTECH said it invests $300,000 a year to buy equipment and develop educational programs for students and has pooled $500,000 to build classrooms that tap the metaverse.

In Japan, at N and S high schools, the largest online high schools in the country, 7,000 students learn through VR headsets.

Director Riichiro Sono told Nikkei that the organization took to the metaverse to conduct lessons without physical constraints while providing an immersive environment for individual learning.

The schools surveyed the VR participants last year and found a satisfaction rate of 98.5%, he said, but noted that "it can take time for users to get accustomed to a VR environment" and that "the additional weight of a VR headset can be a deterrent" for some users.  ... '

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