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HK primary schools implement Metaverse in Education to nurture sustainability awareness

  • Hong Kong primary schools implement ‘Discover2se – Metaverse in Education’ to nurture sustainability awareness from a young age

  • The initiative aims to teach students the importance of conservation through hybrid learning in the era of the metaverse

Six primary schools have joined hands with technology, entertainment and education companies to develop ’Discover2se – Metaverse in Education’, a program to build a mindset of sustainability among students through a hybrid, shared learning experience on Minecraft for Education. The name refers to the blending of two universes – the physical and the virtual. Through a series of customized workshops and a competition, the year-round program equips students with essential ocean and species conservation knowledge while providing hands-on experience of collaboration in the metaverse.

Hybrid learning to discover nature in a virtual reality world

Powered by Microsoft Hong Kong, its Global Training Partner Gamenoodlesoup Ltd, Ocean Park Hong Kong and Modern Educational Research Society Ltd., the first of its kind Discover2se hybrid learning course will run in the upcoming academic year to help students discover and appreciate the beauty of biological diversity and nature and foster sustainability awareness. The program will take place in-person through workshops and visits to Ocean Park, as well as virtually through Microsoft’s Minecraft for Education, which gives students direct experience of animals and nature conservation on a game-based learning platform.

“Appreciation of nature is an essential part of life education and should take root at primary school,” said Shirley Duthie Chuang Sha Li, Principal of The Education University of Hong Kong Jockey Club Primary School, one of the Microsoft Showcase Schools in Hong Kong. “Creating experiences of the natural world through technology is a good way to instill in our students a sense of personal responsibility in environmental protection. As the convenor of the Discover2se – Metaverse in Education program and a Microsoft Showcase School, we are glad to provide our STEM education know-how and work with our peers to cultivate a mindset of sustainability in the next generation. We are also excited to help reimagine and reshape education for the future, empowered by technology and virtual platforms like Minecraft for Education.”

Fred Sheu, National Technology Officer of Microsoft Hong Kong, said: “Raising awareness of the importance of sustainability among the next generation is at the forefront of our minds. We believe in the power of technology to help solve environmental challenges in Hong Kong and the world. Others share our vision, and we are excited to empower The Education University of Hong Kong Jockey Club Primary School with Minecraft for Education to inspire students with immersive experiences in the virtual world and stimulate their awareness of environmental issues.”

Aim to empower 3,000 students to start the learning journey of sustainability

Convened by The Education University of Hong Kong Jockey Club Primary School, six local primary schools have committed to implement the program in the upcoming 2022/23 school year with Microsoft’s resources and technology supports to turn their vision into reality, including:

  1. The Education University of Hong Kong Jockey Club Primary School (Convenor)

  2. Aldrich Bay Government Primary School

  3. Lam Tsuen Public Wong Fook Luen Memorial School

  4. SKH Yautong Kei Hin Primary School

  5. Francis of Assisi’s English Primary School

  6. The Salvation Army Lam Butt Chung Memorial School

(From left to right) Mr. Nick Yu, Executive Committee Member of Association of I.T., Leaders in Education, Mr. Jason Wong, Chief Operating Officer of Modern Education Research Society, Mr. Anderson Yu, Founder of Gamenoodlesoup, Mrs. Shirley Duthie Chuang S.L., Principal of The Education University of Hong Kong Jockey Club Primary School, Mr. Fred Sheu, National Technology Officer, Microsoft Hong Kong and Mr. Timothy Ng, Executive Director of Guest Experience & Education from Ocean Park Hong Kong join hands to launch ’Discover2se – Metaverse in Education’

As program pioneers, the six participating schools will introduce the Discover2se hybrid learning course as an extracurricular activity series for more than 120 students. At the same time, Minecraft for Education will be available to more than 3,000 students. The schools’ principals and teachers will also form an inter-school focus group to discuss, rethink and provide insight to Hong Kong’s K-12 schools on hybrid teaching and learning, such as relevant pedagogy and student experience management, as well as potential ethical and safety issues and resolutions on education in metaverse.

The Discover2se – Metaverse in Education program comprises two phases:

Phase 1 – Discover2se Hybrid Learning Course for Primary Schools

Designed for P.4-P.6 students, a 10-hour hybrid experiential learning course will equip students with essential concepts around biodiversity and provide an opportunity to connect with nature. It includes three hours of in-person workshop and an off-site visit at Ocean Park, and up to seven hours of game-based learning in the Minecraft for Education world. Scenarios range from discovering a nature reserve deep in the forest to scaling a high-altitude plateau and witnessing sea turtles navigating tons of debris in the open ocean. By the end of the course, students will have a handle on biodiversity and species conservation, as well as hands-on experience designing and building a sustainability tour in a metaverse-like environment.

Minecraft for Education gives students a first-person immersive experiences of wildlife habitat and nature conservation in the virtual world.

Phase 1 – Inter-school Metaverse Experience Creation Competition

Schools that complete the Discover2se Hybrid Learning Course will be eligible to join the first Metaverse Experience Creation Competition at the end of 2022/23 school year to demonstrate students’ learning outcomes. Participating students will form teams to create an experience under the theme of ’Creative Conservation’. Entrants will be assessed according to their metaverse-building and technological capabilities, value created for Ocean Park visitors and overall creativity. The winning piece will feature in an exclusive virtual exhibition hall in the Discover2se’s Minecraft for Education world, which students and teachers taking part in the program can visit. Ocean Park and Microsoft will also use the winning entry for future education programs.

Phase 2 – Extend the program to other curriculums

The Education University of Hong Kong Jockey Club Primary School plans to extend

Discover2se – Metaverse in Education to a broader variety of curriculums in early 2023, aiming to nurture a fun, inspiring and co-build digital learning environment for students to learn and unleash their potential in the metaverse era.

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