ATLANTA — One of Atlanta’s historically Black colleges is turning things around when it comes to learning in the metaverse.
The metaverse is a computerized, three-dimensional, virtual world. If you’re studying the solar system, you can go to Mars. If you’re studying U.S. history, you can go back in time to the American Revolution or the Underground Railroad.
Morehouse College is the first college to teach courses in this digital world.
Channel 2′s Dave Huddleston recently toured the digital version of the Morehouse College campus in Southwest Atlanta.
You get to the metaverse by putting on a headset that you can see and hear through.
“The metaverse is what I call the world’s greatest playground. But besides that, what it really is, is the next iteration of the web,” said Muhsinah Morris, Ph.D., virtual reality program manager for Morehouse College.
Once you’re inside this digital universe, there is no limit to where and what you can see and experience.
“You want to climb mountains? Let’s go, you know? Let’s go to Mount Everest,” Morris said.
Morehouse College is the first college or university to offer classes in the metaverse.
“They need to know how to use it regardless of what field they’re in, regardless of whether they can code or not,” Morris said.
Computers and technology are a way of life for today’s students.
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The metaverse is not just for video games but education.
“We can give that to our students. And it’s such a gift because we had to read encyclopedias, right? And that information was stagnant. This is happening in real time in three dimensions,” Morris said. “I can go to Glasgow, and I can go to universities there and be in their midst and experience how they live. That’s what this technology does.”
Morehouse students also can experience the past. Morris took Huddleston on a tour of a slave ship in the metaverse.
Instead of reading about what it was like on a slave ship heading to America, the metaverse can put you on board.
Huddleston went below deck to see and hear what the conditions were like.
“And I think that people do want to know the history of us as Americans because we all have made significant contributions to this fabric of America. … To expand the story that we’re telling, to build confidence and understandings around how we’re all connected because we have a shared history in this country,” said Monique Earl Lewis, Ph.D., chair of Morehouse College’s Africana Studies and History Department.
Students Tahj Henry Jackson and Sid King said learning in the metaverse gives them a deeper understanding of the past and future.
“It’s a whole new experience and you’re meeting and experiencing things first-hand, such as the Underground Railroad,” Jackson said.
“We can see that anything can happen, right?” King said.
Morris said technology will continue to change our world. The metaverse is expected to become a nearly $1 trillion industry by 2030.
Businesses are setting up shop now in the metaverse. The more students know about it, the better their opportunities after college.
“They can create. They can produce. They can market. They can create social events. They can create a place of belonging in the community,” Morris said. “The future looks a lot like young people being able to come together from countries all over the world in one singular space.”
Companies like Facebook and Microsoft are leading the development of the metaverse.
The Pew Research Center said by 2040, 54% of technology experts believe the metaverse will be a regular part of daily life for half a billion people.
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