Meta bets on virtual learning

It might not be long until parents are adding virtual reality headsets to their kid's back-to-school shopping lists. 

What happened: Meta is trying to bring Grade 9 algebra lessons into the metaverse by launching a new education hub for its Quest VR headsets. The platform — slated to come out this fall — will include a roster of educational apps for students 13 years old and over. 

How it works: The interface will allow students to work in virtual labs, take in an immersive Shakespeare play, or — as Meta’s president of global affairs suggests — “giggle” at Julius Caesar getting stabbed in ancient Rome (though we hope they save that for the older kids). 

  • There will also be measures in place to stop students from using the headsets to watch YouTube or play games when they’re supposed to be dissecting a virtual frog. 

Why it matters: VR headsets have, in some cases, improved learning experiences and boosted students’ motivation. In fact, one study done at Morehouse College showed that students who learned in the metaverse actually outperformed their in-person classmates.

Yes, but: Other studies, however, have found VR can overwhelm and distract students and, in some cases, have negative effects outside of the classroom on sleep and health. Plus, schools struggling with resources will be unable to afford the ~$350 solution.—LA