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Educating in the metaverse: Are virtual reality classrooms the future of education?

A Florida charter school, the Optima Classical academy is setting up a virtual, metaverse school for the term beginning in August 2022.
A Florida charter school, the Optima Classical academy is setting up a virtual, metaverse school for the term beginning in August 2022. Copyright Canva
Copyright Canva
By Aisling Ní ChúláinReuters
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Equipping its students with Oculus headsets, the Optima Classical Academy in Florida is just one of the schools betting on virtual reality to power the classrooms of the future.

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Buzzy metaverse projects have already sprung up around gaming, socialising, working and creating, so it’s unsurprising that educators have started to explore ways to bring education into a shared virtual world.

The Optima Classical Academy, a charter school in Florida in the US, has embraced the new technology and announced its intention to establish a virtual school which will take in pupils tuition free commencing August 2022.

The school will equip up to 1,300 students with Oculus headsets so they can participate in virtual lessons.

Students will be permitted to choose their own course of studies and select projects and tasks scheduled as live VR sessions, which could take them from Ancient Rome or the Oval Office in the White House for history class or let them get up close up and personal with the planets for astronomy.

The typical school day will be divided into four hours of live tutorials held in the metaverse classroom and another four hours of independent study and supplementary coursework.

The school, which claims to be the “world’s first virtual classroom,” says they are addressing a need borne out of the COVID-19 pandemic with its many waves and variants, to find alternative ways to reach pupils.

For more on this story, watch the video in the media player above.

Video editor • Ivan Sougy

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