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Meta’s Bringing VR to the Classroom as Part of its Expanding Metaverse Push

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Meta’s planning to launch a new program to help educators make use of VR within the classroom, as part of its next push steps towards making the metaverse a bigger part of everyday life.

Which is still a long way off, but in order to get to that next stage, Meta needs to find more ways to normalize and democratize VR technology, in a wide range of applications.

As explained by Meta:

“Meta will be launching a new product offering for Quest devices dedicated to education. It will allow teachers, trainers and administrators to access a range of education-specific apps and features, and make it possible for them to manage multiple Quest devices at once, without the need for each device in a classroom or training environment to be updated and prepared individually. This will save teachers time and allow students to pick up the headsets and get started right away – something that educators using our devices have consistently told us they want.

The initiative will essentially enable teachers to utilize shared VR experiences in the classroom, which could be a great way to both showcase the possibilities of VR, while also expanding the value of VR in more ways.

Which, again, is key to the next level of adoption for its metaverse push. VR adoption is increasing over time, but right now, it’s far from ubiquitous, and far from being a must-have tech item for most people. But by effectively gifting the experience to students, that’ll help to increase demand. And if it also enhances learning, that’ll be another angle for Meta to pitch VR to parents, bringing even more users into the frame.

Though there are also risks to consider when bringing VR to kids.

Much like social media before it, digital interaction brings with it all sorts of potential exposure concerns, which will likely be exacerbated within more immersive environments.  

Meta’s already been forced to implement personal boundaries for VR avatars after reports of sexual harassment, and even “virtual rape” in its VR environment, while it’s also implemented a range of age verification checks and processes to keep kids safe.

Yet, at the same time, Meta has also lowered the age requirements for Meta Quest accounts, with children aged between 10 and 12 now able to create their own VR identity via ‘parent-managed’ profiles (note: Meta says that it’s educational initiative will only be available to students aged 13+).

There does seem to be some conflict here, in acknowledging the potential risks, while also looking to bring more youngsters into the fold. Within the controlled environment of the classroom experience, that seems relatively safe, but if more kids want to use VR at home as a result, the expanded safety risks are worth noting, especially since we don’t fully understand them at this stage.

But Meta’s preparing for the widespread adoption of VR, and the next phase of its metaverse push. In that sense, this is a logical program.

I just hope the risks are also factored into its planning.  

Meta says that it will share more details of its VR education program later in the year.

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