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Digital Futures

17 Oct 2023
Design, Construction & Delivery Stage

What will the next generation of internet – Web 3.0 and Metaverse mean for the future of HE Estates?
Graeme Scott, Director and Intelligence Sector Lead & Richard Mallinson, Learning+ Studio Associate Director, Arcadis

As the concept of Web 3.0 and the Metaverse becomes more tangible, the boundaries between physical and virtual worlds are shifting. How will the university and college of the future accommodate the demand and excitement for hybrid and interactive virtual learning to create a 21st century paradigm for higher education?

It must be our collective ambition as designers, education partners and estates professional to sow the seeds for an exciting new landscape for learning, where university and college estates nurture flexible thinking, educational agility, social interaction, and emotional wellbeing holistically with the technology of the Metaverse.

How can this understanding lead to decision making which supports the seamless integration of virtual worlds within physical learning environments?

  • How can educators and education providers inform designers to harmonise physical learning environments with virtual and augmented training tools of the metaverse to create a new typology of education buildings and institutions?
  • What lessons can we learn from other sectors such as science, healthcare and industry?
  • How should a new family of education environments blend the physical and virtual to generate and sustain ‘learning to learn’ skills?

Shaping a Sustainable Future for Learning - How to harness the power of the Metaverse for future learning environments
Juliet Hook, Associate Director, KSS

The classroom has not fundamentally changed since the last century. An essentially square room with a singular teacher and presentations board at the front with students facing the teacher to ensure a visual and physical link to the teacher and the content being delivered. This ‘chalk & talk’ method of lesson delivery has migrated to an interactive white board and digital delivery and can be more interactive however is this format of teaching still relevant in today’s world where children are immersed in the digital world and transported to other dimensions on a regular basis? Should we be re-evaluating how children learn in order to harness their interest and inherent ability to engage with the Metaverse and provide a teaching and learning environment that is sustainable in a rapidly changing digital world?

Students learn in very different ways, at different speeds and in a world where neurodiversity has come to be increasingly recognized in its various forms it is more important than ever to acknowledge that teaching and learning needs to make a step change to ensure we create spaces that can be flexible and adaptable.

There is still a significant socio-economic divide in schools. The increase in Education Trusts has had a positive impact on the resources available to students, the buying power and centralized approach to resources has expanded schools access to technology, however it is still schools often in the most deprived of areas that suffer a lack of resources in England. These schools conversely often have the students that require these resources the most. These students don’t necessarily have personal access to digital resources that could expand their educational and personal horizons. For those that are unbale to travel the world and experience other cultures and environments the Metaverse could be the answer.

Jamie McFarland, Account Leader, Further Education - Arcadis
Graeme Scott, Director and Intelligence Sector Lead - Arcadis
Richard Mallinson, Associate Studio Director - Arcadis
Juliet Hook, Associate Director - KSS



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