The metaverse is here, and while the technology that powers it is nascent, it’s already been embraced by the most tech-savvy segment of our population, namely our children. What started as fringe video game technology has become a potential game-changer for life and business, and children are at the frontier of mass adoption of this technology, both as consumers and as as creators.
New-age coding platforms on the market like Hatch XR even allow kids to code their own Metaverses and AR/VR apps, and are used by coding techs, schools, and governments around the world, including the Delhi government here in India.
In this article, we look at what the Metaverse is, why it matters, the role children can play in shaping that future, and the positive impact of early exposure to the Metaverse in their lives.
Metavers – what’s the problem?
The last great computing revolution was made possible by the advent of smartphones, mini computers in our pockets that enabled a whole new world of applications, business models and productivity.
GPS sensors on smartphones have given us hyperlocal apps for shared mobility (Uber), navigation (Google Maps) and food delivery (Swiggy); the mobile camera has given us new ways to share our lives with others (Instagram, Snapchat) and to interact with our environments (PayTM with QR scanning); the various sensors on mobile devices have made possible a new era of real-time health and fitness tracking; and more.
It is a popular belief in communities of entrepreneurs and technology investors around the world that the next great revolution in computing, human productivity, and business models will be enabled by spatial computing and the metaverse.
Spatial Computing refers to the idea that we can free ourselves from the shackles of smartphones and 2D flat screens and use all the 3D space around us. With the help of virtual and augmented reality hardware, we can transport ourselves into virtual worlds or bring virtual elements into our real world, opening up a number of enterprise and consumer applications not possible today.
Metaverse is a standalone concept, separate from spatial computing, but the two work well together and enhance each other’s usefulness. The metaverse refers to a persistent 3D Internet universe, where each person has a digital identity (and 3D avatar, if desired), a fully functioning digital economy to participate in, digital assets with new forms of digital ownership, and the ability to socialize / play / collaborate / transact / work with other digital users.
Child exploring a 3D castle metaverse environment he created using HatchXR, a metaverse building platform for school-aged children.
Today, children and adults access the Metaverse primarily for video game purposes, and on their laptops and desktops, but as spatial computing technologies like AR and VR become more mature and cost effective, we may interact with the Metaverse in an immersive way in the 3D space around us.
By donning virtual reality headsets and wearable devices with embedded sensors on our arms and legs, we’ll be able to walk around an internet metaverse as if it were a true 3D environment. We can go to school in the metaverse, we can create art and play music in the metaverse, do jobs and earn money. With the help of augmented reality glasses or lenses, we will be able to blend our life in the metaverse with our physical lives. Imagine walking into your home and seeing a number of digital paintings you purchased from the Metaverse practically hanging on your walls. Imagine watching your kids do virtual science experiments in realistic reality, dissect a frog in augmented reality in the living room, watch a volcano erupt in the kitchen, or see a rocket take off in the living room.
Augmented Reality: A child watches a virtual rocket take off in his classroom via an AR app developed by his classmates on HatchXR.
Metaverse for Kids – what’s in it for them?
Together, these technologies – Metaverse and Spatial Computing (AR/VR) – make possible a future of limitless possibilities and unfettered imagination, with new tasks to perform, new ways to interact and collaborate with other humans. , new ways to acquire information, and new revenue generation opportunities.
For children, the Metaverse is not a new concept. Children are digital natives, born into a world with 3D multiplayer video games like Roblox and Minecraft, and the concepts of internet identities and digital transactions are familiar. Combine that with the fact that children are highly imaginative, and we can quickly recognize the important role they will play in shaping the future of the Metaverse.
I think kids stand to gain from early exposure to the metaverse and spatial computing in three important ways:
- Early exposure to the Metaverse and AR/VR allows a child to be a creator rather than a consumer in the inevitable future of the Metaverse.
- An early start in digital creation within the Metaverse prepares children for the professions of the future.
- The metaverse makes learning more fun and effective for the child in general: for example, it is now well understood that coding and design are important skills that children need to learn early in life, as they build foundations logic, promote creativity and instill self-confidence. . With Metaverse and AR/VR technology, teaching these skills is much more engaging and engaging for children compared to traditional methods of teaching coding and design on 2D flat screens. Nothing holds a child’s attention more than the 3D worlds they can build, navigate and invite their friends to play.
How can my child get started early with creating Metaverse?
Today, there are two types of platforms to help children learn about this new technological field.
The first concerns gaming platforms like Minecraft and Roblox. These are massive multiplayer three-dimensional worlds on the internet that a child can access through a laptop, mobile or tablet. The main focus of these platforms is entertainment and gameplay. However, they also have creation modes for advanced users where a child can start designing their own 3D world and write scripts in Lua (for Roblox) or Java (for Minecraft) to add custom interactions and behaviors in their 3D worlds.
These are still the early days of the Metaverse and AR/VR, and children will be the kings and queens of this new world. There’s no better time for them to start building for this world than today, and edtech companies, schools, and government agencies must do their part to make this technology more accessible. to our children.
The opinions expressed above are those of the author.
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