Laurence Gosse and Nathalie Badreau (Metaverse Lab): “The school must maintain control over the educational metaverse”

Laurence Gosse and Nathalie Badreau are at the origin of the Metaverse Lab, a research organization that studies the challenges of immersive worlds called metaverses in the fields of education and communication.

One is director of Iscom’s “Influence and Reputation” department, the other is a lecturer specializing in social media, web and technology subjects. Laurence Gosse and Nathalie Badreau co-founded the Metaverse Lab last October, which focuses on studying the problems of the metaverse in the world of education. According to them, the use and application of immersive and interactive worlds in education, whether in primary, secondary or higher education, is inevitable and has already begun.

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Le Figaro student. Which metaverse users in teaching do you recommend?

Laurence GOSSE. It will change the learning experience, involving even more pupils and students. He imagines a course on ancient Egypt: we can do it at the foot of the pyramids of Cheops, explained by Tutankhamun himself. Also, according to a study by consulting firm PWC, memorizing a course taught in the metaverse would be four times more effective than a traditional course. We can also mention the whole “data” aspect: the large and precise collection of data after a course taught in the metaverse will allow for the creation of individualized courses.

Nathalie BADREAU. With video games, young people are already rooted in these worlds. From a flat narrative, we move on to a 3D narrative. There is something revolutionary about this creed. In any case, every decision must be made with the young. We must move forward together.

“We must understand that the metaverse and the virtual are not intended to replace traditional education”Nathalie Badreau

What are the limits you shouldn’t cross?

Nathalie BADREAU. Obviously, the content needs to be adapted. If we all think about it together, it shouldn’t be a problem. On the other hand, there is no interest in doing a Pythagorean theorem in 3D, or a school trip to Décentraland (note: virtual amusement park). It must be understood that the metaverse and the virtual are not intended to replace traditional education, but to complete it, modernize it, improve it. This does not replace the current offer, it increases it.

Laurence GOSSE. Our main and first task is to set these limits. Whether it is the training and recruitment of teachers, the types of platforms used, the contents of the courses, the evaluation criteria, the health aspect, the supervision of young people in this new environment, without forgetting the entire ethical and deontological aspect . We must reflect on every aspect of this new tool to set the limits of its use. This is why we created the Lab.

Isn’t that a bit premature?

Laurence GOSSE. Now we have to go, everything is going fast. It must be done step by step, that’s for sure. But I don’t doubt the appetite of our young people and the teaching staff.

Nathalie BADREAU. You know, a few years ago when I showed a VHS in progress, it was shocking. In my opinion, it will become commonplace, it is inevitable. To make a comparison, we are on the 7kg big phone, and I’m sure we are moving towards a next iPhone. You must at least take an interest in it, so as not to be too excluded.

Isn’t it dangerous to sell the data of millions of young people to companies whose goal is to hit them with advertising?

Laurence GOSSE. I think one of the crucial questions surrounding this question, if not the number one question, is knowing who owns these platforms. The school must absolutely maintain control over this, have its own authority and choose its own content, in accordance with the legislation of course. Otherwise, if this task is delegated to foreign digital giants, the risk is great: possibility of interference, abusive data collection, dependence on the establishment, etc. Clearly, educational content doesn’t have to belong to anyone and everyone.

Nathalie BADREAU. On this, I believe two key elements are needed: on the one hand, a real political will to emancipate oneself from GAFAM, and not to repeat the same mistake as the Internet. On the other hand, we need to have a solid and precise legal arsenal that provides a framework for all of this, because it is currently the Far West. To give you an example; while wandering around on a metaverse server, I saw an advertisement for Marlboro: it should not be tolerated, rather it should be legislated. Because it is already there.

In a speech on March 17, Macron expressed a desire to “create a European metaverse”. What do you think?

Laurence GOSSE. He put the subject on the table. Mr. Macron is also well aware that there is a question of digital sovereignty at the European level, and he is right to include the metaverse. We must now begin this reflection on what we will do with it, and teaching is no exception to the rule. I just hope they aren’t empty words. As Nathalie said, a political will to invest in the metaverse is essential.

Nathalie BADREAU. Recently, Jean-Michel Jarre, spokesman for education at UNESCO, issued several recommendations on the priorities of the metaverse, and one of the first is education. I don’t know if the president was inspired by these, but I think mentioning the metaverse in a political speech necessarily includes education. You should know that France has an incredible strike force in this area, in terms of skills and competences. We must therefore ride the wave and worry about the metaverse for education, especially if it is mentioned at the head of the state.

Next July, 60 ISCOM students will meet during a workshop organized by the Metaverse Lab. On the agenda: think about the school of tomorrow, how to include the metaverse, with the aim of starting the first lessons in the metaverse next year.

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