Meta announces a Quest product to help teachers engage students 13 and up

Could VR headsets be just as useful in classrooms as laptops? Meta hopes so, and its new product aims to help make that happen.
Written by Artie Beaty, Contributing Writer
Person using a Meta Quest 3 VR headset
Kerry Wan/ZDNET

While laptops, especially Chromebooks, have become ubiquitous in today's classrooms, Meta hopes another piece of technology could become just as helpful -- VR headsets.

The company announced a new education-focused product on Monday, one that lets teachers, trainers, and administrators control what apps are on connected headsets and lets them manage multiple headsets at the same time. The education product will be focused on learners aged 13 and older, and will be available later this year.

Meta suggested that students could take a field trip to a world-class museum without leaving their homes, learn in laboratories filled with expensive equipment a school wouldn't have access to, take part in training that might be dangerous for novices, and more.

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Meta won't be developing the content itself, but relying on educators, researchers, and third-party app developers around the world, the company said. Experiencing things that would be otherwise impossible is the appeal, but Meta's main goal is to help teachers teach.

"Education and training providers represent a considerable market for technology products," Meta said in its blog post, "and we see a growing number of developers building and releasing apps aimed at this sector." The company admitted that the use of immersive technology in the classroom is still fairly small scale, but added that there's immense, even "transformative" potential.

In the blog post announcing the new educational product, Nick Clegg, Meta's president of Global Affairs, pointed to a few examples where Quest headsets were already being integrated into education. 

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New Mexico State University is teaching criminal justice by immersing students in virtual crime scenes to learn how to best investigate. Stanford University is using VR to teach business students workplace soft skills, like how to have a difficult conversation with a coworker or how to interview well. The University of Glasgow is placing students inside virtual intestines to learn how the body battles bacteria.

Meta has yet to reveal a name or pricing for the product.

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