Meta Plans To Make Virtual Reality An Educational Staple

Meta recently announced its plans to integrate its virtual reality (VR) headsets into the education system.

The tech giant, which owns Facebook and Instagram, is reportedly launching a new product of their Quest headsets which are to be designed for teachers to use in classrooms. The venture was announced by the United Kingdom’s former Deputy Prime Minister and the current President of Global Affairs at Meta, Nick Clegg.

The company representative said that there are many ways that “metaverse technologies like virtual, mixed and augmented reality” can impact society. However, he added his belief that “the potential they have for education is one of the most exciting.”

The announcement comes nearly a year after one school in England — Reddam House in Berkshire — made international headlines for utilizing VR for a variety of educational purposes, such as learning biology. The school became the test model for a VR space that connected dozens of schools from across the globe who were able to participate in lessons from a distance.

However, substantial controversy has come from giving kids VR, a practice that has raised concerns about digital safety and misusing the technology to promote political ideologies. Some have pointed out the possibility of using VR in the classroom to indoctrinate students to believe a certain viewpoint.

Opponents of the idea have said that this could occur if school VR programs put kids in hypothetical scenarios involving political bias or discrimination that do not accurately reflect reality. Similarly, while the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and VR have increased, so have reports of children being targeted by scams and perpetrators online.

Clegg, however, has said that making VR a standard classroom and educational tool would actually increase the safety of students. He also added, in response to backlash about the proposal, that the technology would only be used in schools if teachers were able to actively monitor the activities of the students.

Clegg also told Axios that Meta is “investing billions of dollars in constantly iterating on the

technology” and claimed that VR was in high demand in the education sector. The tech official also said that teachers have come to the company with feedback that “the immersive experience” is “more fun, engaging and memorable for students” compared to traditional book learning.