Meta to Launch Education Hub for ‘Quest’ Headsets

Credit: Meta

On Monday, April 15th, Meta announced it was bringing its ‘Quest’ VR headsets into the education sector. A new hub for Quest will be launched later this year that will allow teachers to access educational features and apps, as well as tools that let them control and manage all the headsets in a classroom.

The move from Meta signals a pivot away from individualized user experiences like immersive environments and games towards more educational services and products. The educational hub, which has not been named yet, will be available to schools serving students 13 years and older.

Nick Clegg, Meta’s president of Global Affairs, said in a blog post that virtual reality (VR) makes things “possible that are impossible in the physical world.” He used walking among the dinosaurs or visiting the world’s best museums without leaving the classroom as examples.

Currently, several educational institutions have already employed Quest headsets in the classroom, including New Mexico State college, Stanford University, and the University of Glasgow. They are being used across a diverse range of disciplines, including a life science course where students use VR to peer inside the human body, a criminal justice course that lets users explore a crime scene in VR, and a business course that helps students prepare for interviews and difficult conversations.

The company has been experimenting with its metaverse educational hub since last September when it provided 15 U.S. universities with Quest headsets. According to the blog post, the new product comes as a result of collaboration with educators, third-party developers, and researchers in the education space.

More details about the new education hub are expected in the next couple of months, and it will be launched sometime before the end of the year. The hub will be available to users in the U.S., Europe, Australia, Japan, Canada, and New Zealand.

The Metaverse Leans into Education

One of the biggest companies in the world expanding its VR offerings into the education sector is a big deal and could be a significant step towards transforming the future of education. But Meta isn’t the only company that understands immersive technologies’ potential for revolutionizing training and education. Here are three other stories about VR being used to train and educate students and workers.

First, in September, Hitachi began using the metaverse to train its skilled workers. Through VR technology and off-the-shelf cameras, veteran workers from a remote location can train and instruct newer workers on the floor in real-time. Instructors can move their IRL hands to demonstrate techniques, and the workers on the floor can see the virtual counterparts through their VR headsets.

Next, about nine months ago, Bank of America (BOA) announced it had integrated the metaverse and AI into an employee onboarding process. The VR training simulates real-life issues that employees face regularly. At the time of the report, it had already been used with over 200,000 BOA employees.

Lastly, about a year ago, Prisms VR raised $12.5 million in a Series A funding round that will be used to help improve students’ proficiency in math in the U.S. Through VR headsets and 3D experiences, students can learn abstract math concepts in a more engaging and effective way.

While much of the conversation surrounding the metaverse has revolved around gaming and social activities, these stories show that education is shaping up to be an important part of virtual worlds. Whether schools and teachers around the world will embrace the new technology remains to be seen, but the forthcoming offerings from Meta could be the first major test of VR education.