Educators, homeschoolers and remote learners using VR and AR have experienced a big win — Meta announced that it’s launching a new education product. While the company has been tight-lipped on details, it has revealed some key aspects.

What Is Meta’s Upcoming Education Product?

On April 15, 2024, Meta unveiled plans for a novel VR education product set to come to Quest devices sometime this year. While the details were sparse, Nick Clegg — the company’s president of global affairs and announcement’s author — said you should expect more information on its features and name within a few months.

So far, only the basic details have been released. Apparently, it will be a platform for people like you — namely teachers, trainers and administrators — to access education-related apps and functions. You’ll also be able to manage multiple headsets simultaneously without needing to access, update and prepare them individually.

Meta didn’t create the product’s VR content on its own, if you were wondering. Instead, it relied on educators, researchers and experienced third-party developers. It aims to break into the education field — a potentially lucrative market for this technology — so its goal is likely to appeal to its target audience with a high-quality, well-designed tool.

Ayesha Rascoe, a National Public Radio journalist, interviewed Clegg about the plan to use Quests in classrooms shortly, asking why classrooms should trust Meta. In response, Clegg said it’s not about trusting the company. Instead, he stressed the tools are “entirely controlled” by the educator, revealing they decide what the content is and when the headsets are used. Clegg also divulged students won’t be able to access the Quest store.

How Many Headsets Did Meta Sell in Q1?

Will You Be Able to Use Meta’s Quest for Education?

Meta plans to launch this new, unnamed product by the end of 2024, meaning you’ll have to wait a while. So far, there are three main caveats — the age restriction, subscription barrier and market availability. You’ll only be able to use it if you or your students are 13 or older.

Also, if these new tools are anything like what this company produced in the past, you’ll have to pay a monthly fee for continued access. There’s no word on what that price could be yet, but Clegg has stressed the importance of VR offering experiences schools wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford, indicating you won’t have to break the bank.

Moreover, at launch, the education product will only be available where Meta’s Quest for Business subscriptions are supported, meaning over 20 countries — including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, Japan, Italy and Ireland — will get to use it.

Although the initial announcement repeatedly references schools and classrooms, you’ll likely be able to use the tool regardless of your situation. Exclusivity would be unexpected, given the homeschooling population increased to 3.1 million students in 2021-2022. Besides, if it’s anything like Quest for Business, it’ll give access to anyone who pays for a subscription.

Will These Tools Change How Remote Students Learn?

While research shows VR is generally an effective education tool, this company’s upcoming product has the potential to be better. After all, 92.5% of teachers agree it’s an effective education tool if they have a say in its implementation. It’s hard to say how impactful it could be without knowing the details, but you can imagine how complete control could be beneficial.

Clegg says parents and educators will only use Meta Quest tools if they have “complete visibility and control” of what’s happening, suggesting the business’s upcoming product could affect how you approach teaching, thus changing how remote students learn.

If you go from a typical remote learning experience to a VR one, the change would be drastic. You’d be able to immerse yourself in various environments, participate in hands-on lessons, take virtual field trips and meet with others regardless of location. It would remove the isolation aspect of distance learning.

If you already use a Quest for educational purposes, you probably rely on free apps or third-party services. The main difference with this business’s new product is it’ll be an all-in-one solution produced by — and for — Meta headsets, meaning the user experience, interface and tools will probably be more seamless and efficient.

How Many Consumers Have Tried VR?

Is This the Future of Remote Learning?

Without knowing what the education product is, deciding whether it’s the future of remote learning is tricky. However, the company has already made efforts to improve the VR experience. For example, newer headsets — like the Quest 2 and 3 — offer six degrees of freedom, allowing you to learn comfortably all day.

However, there’s the issue of cost. With the Quest 3’s starting price of $499 — not to mention its 2-3 hour battery life — you may have to dip into savings to learn with the upcoming tools. While splurging on a nice headset is a fine way to spend money, it’s a big commitment.

The Quest 2 may be a better option affordability-wise. Meta permanently lowered its starting price to $199 on April 18, 2024, just days after announcing its upcoming education product. It also halved the prices of accessories, including the elite strap, carrying case and active pack.

Wait to See What Meta’s Education Product Will Be

If you’re interested in Meta’s product, all you can do is wait for now. Clegg will likely have a few more interviews or make a handful of blog posts in the meantime, making him your best source of breaking news. Until then, it might be best to consider how you’d work Quest headsets into your education routine.

April Miller is a senior writer at ReHack Magazine and editorial contributor at AR Insider. She specializes in VR/AR, IoT, and business technology. See her work here and follow her @rehackmagazine.

More from AR Insider…