What was presented a few days ago by Mark Zuckerberg when announcing the change of name from “Facebook” to “Meta” was news that had been speculating for a few weeks and did not surprise. However, the implications of the new technology and immersive experience proposed by launching this new platform openly, opens a different world of opportunities and challenges, putting several ideas that were previously science fiction in a plane of the possible and that promises to revolutionize the form of human interaction in the most diverse fields, such as work, personal relationships, social life, investments, business experiences and also, by the way, education.
If less than two years ago the educational system was forced to adopt technologies such as Zoom, Meet or Teams to face the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic, in an act of adaptation full of gaps and resistance, which raises the The immersive reality that Meta will bring will be really something else.
We know that human beings are made to socialize and live in groups. That social and vicarious learning is fundamental to our process of incorporating new skills and competencies, as well as to be able to build our identity and know who we are, in an interaction with other human beings that allow us to see and recognize ourselves in the mirrors of feedback and the relationships. It was precisely this very essential and characteristic element of the human that has been (in important part) in question with distance education, its effect on the links and with it on the learning itself and, therefore, on education. Distance education continues to grow and will not stop. There is no sign that we will return to spaces that are increasingly face-to-face and face-to-face, even if we yearn for it. In fact, some voices (including myself) have argued that face-to-face experiences will be increasingly exclusive and reserved as true “prime” experiences, both in daily social life, as well as in continuous learning and training processes.
In other words, meeting other people in safe spaces that promote bonding will be a “luxury” or a “rare good”, which over the years will reflect its value in many ways. It is clear to think that this transformation makes the human and essential something more distant, when it was always like that and was at hand, however, the trend of technological irruption and new experiences of human interaction will change this situation to a greater or lesser extent.
Thus, “Meta” comes to make reality what until now was in movies of the future and in the most adventurous predictions. Being able to study history by visiting history, interacting with multicultural groups that are really located anywhere in the world, being able to access varied human groups that enrich our lives and educational processes in stimulating, entertaining environments and that allow us to personalize the learning style. There are many possibilities for this new world that is beginning to open up. Immersive learning colleges, chairs and practical laboratories that students can attend and participate from anywhere, human interaction enriched by augmented reality and virtual reality. The best infrastructures even for the smallest institutions and with less budget, thanks to these new spaces, which for the mind will have less and less difference, but which do not require laying a single brick or paying tax contributions (although they will surely have other costs for the tech giant), that help make the learning experience truly unique.
By the way, this raises a series of other challenges, such as access to these technologies, the development of programs that prepare developers and teachers themselves in how it is taught and how it is learned in this new context and what is the role that they must fulfill, the decision of educational institutions to move forward with curiosity and desire towards these new horizons or even the birth of 100% immersive institutions, as well as 100% virtual entities in the teaching-learning process. On a horizon with more opportunities and everything to be created, it will be a matter of disposition and mentality, those who venture to what seems to be a hidden desire in literature and cinema, a virtualized world that allows us to be and do what we think so far. impossible or at least more difficult.
What today seems restrictive in terms of implementation costs, will not be so in the short time, finally it is the barrier of overcoming our fears and ignorance, leaving behind our customs and gazes, the innovation process more complex to carry out: cultural innovation, which allows other human creations to break through and bring the transformations that are incubated within them.