The notion of sending an avatar to go to school in stead of going physically to a real school may seems far-fetched to some of us, but it proves once again that we are climbing another step on the ladder in Technological advancement. And as usual it is Japan that is right ahead of the rest of the world. They are the Gurus of Technology, especially if you think that they already have robotic receptionists all over Japan and even robotic newscasters.
The school Meisei Cyber High School in Chiba Prefecture is opening their virtual doors next spring. The original Meisei High School, which was a traditional correspondence school since 2000, revealed their new school and we went to investigate.
The virtual school works like this: It plays like a virtual reality game (Think the Sims almost) on PC or using a smart phone, which you enter with your avatar using your REAL name. After 3 years of playing you can actually earn your high school diploma, just like doing it at a regular Japanese High School. Sugoi!
Let’s look at what this game (or educational institution) has to offer:
Classes – It’s 20-minute video lectures ending with a quiz (which is a mini-game)
Library – Where the avatar can borrow e-books
Field trips – Using the audio-visual ‘classroom’
Teachers – They can be emailed if you have any problems.
The school will have the look of any other school: classrooms, desks, even an athletic field (that is weird, since avatars cannot replace the benefits of a real P.E- class.) Avatars can also interact with other students’ avatars in the hallways.
The avatar’s looks can change by buying them clothes and goods using ‘Study Points’. These Study Points are obtainable by studying kanji, doing math problems or learning English.
To top it off there are even after school activities like farming or fishing.
In Japan, where High School is not mandatory (but 97% of the kids choose to enter High School), people that did not finish High School due to illness and so forth, now have the option to finish school from hospital or home. Virtual schooling might sound weird, but maybe it is the answer to get your kids a cutting-edge education while they are having fun. Isn’t the best way to learn often hidden in enjoyment?