Monday, March 4, 2024

STEM Metaverse: Integrating Metaverse in education with Ritika Kumar

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These days, it is important to understand the difference between the culture, the ways of learning and the things to learn that differ from the traditional ways. The modern ways of education has a lot of things that the old and traditional way was not including. There are more and better ways to explore, to understand, to learn and to teach.

Today, we have a very unique startup with us that is trying to change the ways of learning and teaching. STEM Metaverse is an well researched and studied idea by Ritika Kumar, the founder. She was always passionate about creating an innovative way for modern students to learn and wanted to focus on development of thinking abilities of kids and empowering them to explore their talents and be confident in this ever changing world.

Let us know more about her and STEM Metaverse by herself itself.

A small introduction about Ritika Kumar

My journey in the educational industry began with producing educational screenplays. I eventually launched my own business producing material for television, corporate training modules, and websites. As I gained more experience in these sectors, I became increasingly interested in exploring the intersection of parenting and education.

This is why I launched Young Chronicle and AchaBacha.co.in, a social network for parents in 2009, while I was still pursuing my MBA at MICA, These platforms became incredibly successful and helped me eventually establish STEM Metaverse. For me, traditional learning methods never seemed to fully engage students. I was passionate about creating a more innovative approach to education that would challenge and inspire young learners. That’s why I strongly believe in the “Traffic Light Ideology,” which focuses on developing sequential thinking abilities in kids and empowering them to innovate and explore their talents.

What is STEM Metaverse?

Essentially, STEM Metaverse is built to provide a futuristic approach to education. STEM Metaverse is an end-to-end STEM learning platform for students from their early years to Grade 12. We aim to bridge the gap between traditional school teaching methods and the rapidly changing global landscape of technology and innovation. Our marketplace of courses, products, and teachers provides STREAMM learning journeys based on multiple intelligences, including Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Art, Math, and Mental Health.

We empower students to adapt strategic skills like design thinking, problem-solving, and pattern recognition while identifying and exploring their potential and talents early in their lives. This is done by using Metaverse, VR, Web3, and NFTs to create customizing experiential learning journeys for children with a combination of courses, reading materials, kits, toys, and books backed by analytics. Our students can pursue careers in fields like Creative Writing, Robotics, Coding, Data Science, Entrepreneurship, Music/Drama, Apparel Design, Diplomacy, United Nations, and Art.

How did this journey start?

Our journey began with The Young Chronicle, a newspaper for kids. We started conducting interactive workshops with students to understand their thoughts and ideas to make it more engaging. Our workshops became so popular that we decided to create a separate vertical for them. Along the way, we partnered with like-minded organizations and built a marketplace for STEM education.

Our courses are outcome-oriented and conducted by experts in smaller groups, but we received feedback that they were a bit expensive. So, we decided to build a scholarship mechanism backed by NFT and blockchain technology. Now, students can earn scholarships by showcasing their talents on our platform. We’re always looking for ways to make our platform more accessible and affordable to all students.

In the initial stage, was it difficult to make people believe that Metaverse is helpful for education?

In the beginning, it was definitely a challenge to make people understand the potential of the Metaverse for education. It was a new and unfamiliar concept for many, and we had to work hard to create awareness and build trust. But we believed in the power of this technology and how it can revolutionize the way students learn.

However, we also recognized that not everyone was ready to jump into the Metaverse just yet. That’s why we also offer a range of physical products on our STEM Marketplace. This allows us to cater to different types of learners and provide options that are comfortable and familiar to them. Having said that, we see great potential in the Metaverse for education, and we’re excited to be at the forefront of this movement. We’re working hard to ensure everyone understands the benefits and opportunities it offers students.

What are the things that make STEM metaverse different from other education Ecosystems?

STEM Metaverse offers a unique and completely experiential format of education, which means that our courses are designed to be hands-on and practical, rather than just theoretical. We want our students to learn by doing, so we offer outcome-oriented courses that are conducted by experts in the field.

Moreover, we understand that every student has different strengths and interests, which is why, as mentioned earlier, we offer a range of courses across multiple intelligence-based STREAM learning journeys. Our platform provides customized and experiential learning journeys for children that include a combination of courses, reading materials, kits, toys, and books, backed by analytics along with our own newspaper, virtual reality, and interactive videos. This empowers students to identify and explore their potential and talents very early in their lives.

Do you believe Artificial intelligence and metaverse in the future would help in the education sector? How?

When it comes to the education sector, AI can be a game-changer. With the help of AI-powered tools, teachers can personalize the learning experience for each student, allowing them to learn at their own pace and in their own style. AI can also help identify areas where a student may be struggling and provide additional resources to help them overcome those challenges. As for the Metaverse, it provides a unique opportunity to make education more immersive and interactive. Students can explore different environments and scenarios that may not be possible in the physical world. They can also collaborate with students from different parts of the world, breaking down barriers and promoting cultural exchange.

I truly believe that the combination of AI and Metaverse, along with the physical teacher, will revolutionise the education sector. It will enable students to learn in a way that is engaging, personalized, and effective.

As an edtech platform, we wanted to provide a unique opportunity for students to showcase their artistic skills to a global audience. We believed that creating a virtual art gallery would not only give them a platform to display their talent but also give them a chance to earn credits for their work. These credits could be used to upskill themselves further by accessing various courses on our platform. We also wanted to make sure that every sale made through the virtual art gallery would directly benefit the students themselves, so we made sure that they would receive credits for each sale. This is a great way to empower students and encourage them to pursue their artistic interests with confidence.

How was the experience building STEM Metaverse as a brand?

Building STEM Metaverse as a brand is quite an experience, to say the least! It has been a strenuous journey that required a lot of hard work and effort, but it was also incredibly rewarding. We had to come up with creative ideas and innovate constantly to stay ahead of the curve, but seeing the impact we were and still are making on the lives of our students made it all worth it. It’s an enriching experience that has taught us a lot about ourselves and the education industry and it’s even more satisfying to see our vision come to life and watch our brand grow over time.

What do you believe we can change to develop or to give a boost to the startup ecosystem?

I think one of the main things we can do to boost the startup ecosystem is to provide more support to early-stage startups. This includes offering more funds, network access, and mentorship programs to help entrepreneurs take their ideas to the next level. Additionally, creating a more streamlined regulatory environment and reducing bureaucratic hurdles can go a long way in encouraging more people to start their own businesses.

Another area that could use improvement is increasing collaboration between startups and established businesses. This can help startups gain access to resources, knowledge, and networks that they may not have had otherwise. I also believe that encouraging more diversity and inclusivity in the startup ecosystem can lead to more innovation and better solutions to the world’s problems.

Overall, while I think the government is doing a great job, there is always room for improvement and more support for startups is always welcome.

One piece of advice you would like to give entrepreneurs who want to work on some unique startup like yours.

As an entrepreneur, it’s essential to have a clear vision and passion for what you’re building. However, it’s equally important to ensure that you have the necessary resources to scale your startup. This includes mental, physical, and financial bandwidth.

Starting and scaling a unique startup like STEM Metaverse can be a challenging journey. Therefore, it’s crucial to prepare yourself mentally and physically for the challenges that come with it. You need to have the stamina and resilience to handle the long hours, constant pressure, and ever-changing market dynamics. Financially, it’s essential to have a solid plan in place, and you should be aware of the financial risks involved. You must be prepared to invest time, money, and effort into your startup. It would be best to consider multiple funding options, including bootstrapping, grants, and partnerships.

Hence, my advice to aspiring entrepreneurs would be to have a clear vision and focus to sustain their business for a global run.

According to you, what things an entrepreneur should take care of while growing the business?

I believe there are two critical things that one should always focus on while growing the business – building a strong network for sales, marketing, and distribution, and creating a healthy culture within the organization.

Networking is crucial for every business as it helps to establish meaningful relationships with potential clients, partners, and investors. A solid network can help to build a strong brand image, promote the business and generate more leads. Similarly, creating a culture within the organization is essential to ensure employee satisfaction and retention. When the team is happy, they are more productive, creative, and motivated to drive growth for the business.

Apart from these, it’s also important to keep an eye on market trends, identify and adapt to changing customer needs, and invest in technology and innovation to stay ahead of the competition. Building a strong team and nurturing talent is also critical to the success of any business.

What things are important you believe a startup should keep in mind?

As a startup founder, I believe it’s important to stay determined and adaptable. Running a startup can be a wild ride, so being committed to your vision and open to pivoting is crucial. Building a strong team and culture is also key, as is managing your finances wisely. With limited resources, it’s important to prioritize spending and make strategic decisions to drive growth and revenue.

The integration of a metaverse and education with the use of innovative technology has the unrealised potential to transform the way the society teaches and learns. By providing a virtual environment where students can engage in immersive and interactive experiences, they can gain a deeper understanding of complex concepts and develop skills that are crucial for success in this century. The startup’s vision of creating a platform that seamlessly integrates with existing educational systems is commendable and has the potential to revolutionize the way we think about education. With continued investment and development, the future of education in a metaverse holds immense promising potential for students and educators alike.

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