Meta Platforms is set to host an immersive partnership at the start of the school year in the United States. Ringing in the new academic year, Meta has announced a massive partnership with 15 universities across the US.
These institutions, currently actively engaging in immersive learning, are hosting classes in virtual reality (VR) to determine the efficacy of XR technologies in the educational curriculum.
The programme will include the following universities and their respective programmes:
- Stanford University and its Business School partnership with BodySwaps to learn soft skills
- Arizona State University to teach language skills in virtual environments
- New Mexico State University, who has applied VR to criminal justice for crime scene evaluations and other subjects
- University of Iowa to teach soft training skills to business students with virtual reality
- Purdue Global to train nurses for hospital care via role-playing and simulations
- University of Alabama at Birmingham, partnering with VictoryXR to teach business courses virtually
- Nova Southern University, teaching VR to first-year medical students about human anatomy
- Miami Dade College for its virtual campus for courses such as music, chemistry, research, architecture, biology, and many others
- Morehouse College, for its digital twin campus to teach courses across chemistry, journalism, business, biology, and many more
Meta’s Education Partnership—Across the World (and the Metaverse)
According to the company, the Meta Quest product lineup facilitates many education-based apps for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) courses. The Quest Store and others have also hosted VR learning appls for subjects like history, foreign languages, and more.
It has already seen massive success across Europe, including Italy. The nation’s University of Camerino has hosted its first course based fully on the Metaverse, the next step for spatial communications and the Internet.
Additionally, Itaca Education has tapped Meta’s hardware and technologies for virtual learning in the natural sciences and physics. This allows students to leverage virtual components, rather than turning to physical props and materials, to expand access to all learners.
According to Meta, students and tutors can join immersive spaces to conduct their classes.
Germany and Austria have teamed up with GoStudent, leading to major gains in language learning with virtual reality. GoVR learners can join immersive environments to interact remotely with native-speaking tutors and classmates from other locations.
Finally, the United Kingdom’s Noun Town has created new means to learn languages like German, Japanese, Chinese, Italian, French, Spanish, and Korea, among others.
Statements from Meta’s Nick Clegg
The news comes after Nick Clegg, President, Global Affairs, said in a recent blog post that Meta aimed to become an explorer of virtual, augmented, and mixed reality (MR) technologies.
Speaking of “the next evolution of the internet,” the former British Liberal Democrats leader stated that these spatial computing technologies could “create new ways for teachers to inspire students.”
Doing so would create shared experiences and presences to “offer new ways for teachers to do what they do best — teach.”
Citing a recent report from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), he explained that 40 percent of VR learners felt more confident in applying what they had learned. Additionally, they were 150 percent “more engaged during classes.”
He also referenced the XR Association (XRA) and the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). Research from the two organisations found that 77 percent of educators “believe immersive technologies ignite curiosity and improve engagement in class.”
According to further research from Prisms, a VR maths programme, learners in VR modules scored 11 percent higher than others. It noted that they were also more confident, engaged, and could retain information at greater rates.
Furthermore, Morehouse College revealed that students learning with VR posted average test scores of 85 compared to 78 and 81 for in-person and traditional online teaching methods, respectively.
The university, an early adopter of immersive technologies, also noted improved student attendance and engagement rates.
Explaining further, Clegg wrote,
“We want more and more teachers and students to benefit from these technologies. That’s why, as students return for the new academic year, we’re announcing a new partnership program to help college students in the US learn using VR and testing more ways to make it easier for Meta Quest users to find educational resources in the Meta Quest store”
Meta’s Education Partnership and the Future of Immersive Learning
He concluded that Meta remained “hugely optimistic” about the impact of metaverse technologies on the education sector. It was also crucial for governments and institutions to “embrace them and utilize them across public education systems.”
Clegg said: “If we, collectively, get this right, the opportunities to inspire students in new and exciting ways are endless.”
Currently, Meta works with the XR Association’s Education Working Group, which aims to boost adoption of XR technologies for academic institutions.
Jonathan Teske, Meta Platforms’ Future of Education Lead, chairs the group with Stephanie Montgomery, Vice-President of Research and Best Practices for the XRA.
Launched last year in June, the partnership hopes to rally US schools, universities, and other institutions to create best practices for educational environments.
The EWG and ISTE recently surveyed over 500 educators on their opinions of immersive tools in the classroom just before the former opened its doors to XRA member organisations. to join.
The Latest Updates on the Meta Quest
Meta Platforms has been stepping up its efforts to create a strong immersive platform leading up to the Meta Connect 2023 event later in September.
To prepare for its product launches, Meta Plaform’s Quest lineup is set to receive yet another major series of updates aimed at improving overall functionality, control, and support.
Looking for more information on v57? Check out the Meta Quest blog for the full rundown: https://t.co/I41zsUgAXv
’til next time
— Meta Quest (@MetaQuestVR) September 11, 2023
The Quest v57 update will allow users to remove Guardians for the first time in the device’s history, allowing unique controls for mixed reality (MR) applications.
Traditionally, the boundary alerts users when they’re getting too close to physical objects and ‘unsafe’ parts of the user’s environment. However, with the changes, headset wearers can leverage the upcoming Quest 3‘s full-colour passthrough to interact with physical surroundings.
This could signal an era where passthrough becomes high-resolution enough to substitute for the Guardian function, leading to greater mixed reality compatibility.
For those daring to brave the new option, Quest 2 and Quest 3 users will receive notifications on whether their devices are switching to the new mode. This will ideally work better on the latter than the former headset.
Additionally, the Menlo Park-based tech giant will update its Horizon Feed, substituting for the previous ‘Explore’ mode on the headset’s interface.