Updated: Apr 12
Building the Peace Literacy Metaverse*:
January 2017, Paul K. Chappell taught the first of many workshops on the importance of Peace Literacy skills for navigating virtual reality and augmented reality technologies.
August 2018, Paul published the essay The World of Electric Light: Understanding the Seductive Glow of Screens about the upcoming virtual reality and augmented reality revolution and the need to escalate our Peace Literacy in response.
June 2020, the Peace Literacy Institute team began providing Peace Literacy lectures and workshops in VR, using VR headsets and full-body tracked avatars to cast into Zoom from our custom-designed curricular worlds. Depicted below: Paul and Shari's original avatars.
Below, Paul's avatar wields the Sword that Heals, a concept borrowed from King who wrote: "Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon. It is a weapon unique in history, which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it. It is a sword that heals." The sword is emblazoned with Gandhi's Sanskrit motto "Satyagraha" or Truthforce.
August 2020, we started calling our curricular worlds the “Peace Literacy Metaverse,” a new kind of universe for exploring the human condition, allowing us to teach Peace Literacy through a multi-sensory curricular approach that we call “Spatio-Allegorical Pedagogy.”
January 2021, Paul gives a Zoom presentation about the need to leverage virtual reality and augmented reality to wage peace. (Note: since he made this recording, the U.S. Army has increased its spending commitments on these technologies from 480 million to 21.9 billion.)
Link to the Army XR video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XTV13...
Link to 2020 article on U.S. Army fielding 40,000 IVAS headsets by end of 2021 (this timeline has since changed): https://taskandpurpose.com/military-t...
Link to 2021 article on U.S. Army increasing spending commitment on IVAS from 480 million to 21.9 billion: https://www.businessinsider.com/us-ar...
May 2021, we began a pilot project with high school teachers who used VR headsets to journey through the first of our VR curricular worlds: "The Island of Aggression."
In the video, below, Paul offers a preview of the Peace Literacy Metaverse that transforms the classroom into an epic journey, taking students on a field trip into the human condition.
October 2021, we had the privilege of spending three days in workshops with leaders of the Abrahamic Reunion—a group dedicated to creating peace in the Middle East between people of Muslim, Jewish, and Christian faiths. We are now working with them to translate our Peace Literacy VR software into Arabic and Hebrew. Here is a two-minute video we made showing their response to the training:
November 2021, marked the first time that high school students used VR headsets to learn Peace Literacy in virtual reality. These students were from the Orange County Department of Education ACCESS program for youth-placed-at-risk. In the video, below, you can see the students in the VR world; at the end we show a glimpse of the Eye of Empathy, which is one of the powers that students unlock enabling alternatives to aggression.
*Note on our use of the term "metaverse"
Many people today refer to the "metaverse"as a single and interconnected network, like "the internet," but of course there is not just one internet. People in different countries can use different internets (such as the United States and China). Also, the “dark web” is basically a different internet than the internet used by most people. Our Peace Literacy research predicts that the VR/AR revolution will further this kind of digital fragmentation. There will be many more metaverses than internets, and many kinds of metaverses – which will form a kind of multiverse. We need Peace Literacy to help people maintain their humanity across the multiverse.
When people want the metaverse to be a single and interconnected network, this includes interoperability between all forms of online content such as digital items and avatars. But an education platform that serves students (such as the Peace Literacy Metaverse) should not be interoperable with the Forest of Mazes (the name we are using for the embodied technological medium that will replace pornography, which will include many worlds comprised of violent sexual content where people can do anything they want to virtual humans). The dream of a single metaverse doesn’t seem to take into account how much content in our digital future will be sculpted by people’s tangles of trauma, how much of this content will be far more extreme than the violent, conspiratorial, and hyper-sexualized online content that exists today, and how effective humans can be at putting up not just physical barriers, but also digital ones.