Oculus

OCULUS AND EDUCATION

“There has been a lot of hype in VR spaces about the Oculus Quest, and Quest 2, and its impact on the market. It is generally accepted, based on a great number of articles and postings, that the Quest has had a significant and positive effect on the VR market. I agree with this assessment, and submit that this is a terrific device, has a fantastic price, and is a watershed moment for both gaming and entertainment. However, such well-deserved praise must end when considering education.” The rest of this article, The Oculus Quest & Education, from January 2021, can be found by following this link.

 

“My school gave me some money and I went out and bought 20 Oculus Quest headsets. 

I am looking for content. This is going to be great!”

 

Distressed by witnessing this same scenario, in region after region, and well-aware of the issues to soon be faced, I was compelled to follow up the January article with this, The Oculus Quest & Education, Part 2, in June 2021.

 

I will also identify myself as the anonymous source for the Known Issues Using Oculus VR in Classrooms article which first appeared in August 2019. So, nothing discussed here is new or unknown, and has been discussed for years. For those who may not wish to read through these articles, I have put together a video of ideas, and where things stand in 2022.

Oculus/Meta/Facebook Quest

 

 

  • Wonderful device
  • Fantastic price
  • Great for gaming and entertainment
  • Not appropriate for education

Why is this not the right fit for education?

In the articles and within the video, I have tried to lay out a number of reasons. The list is not exhaustive and I have tried to stay with the most important points. The Go article from 2019, for example, listed out 14 reasons. If one device is being purchased, these points may not seem unsurmountable, but when looking at mass deployments, these will all definitely come into play.

 

  • Content (what’s available and how it’s handled)
  • The need for a phone to activate an account
  • The setup process, on a mass scale
  • Serial number on the headstrap (seems mundane, but it’s not)
  • Identifying controllers in a mass deployment (schools are messy)
  • Two controllers, an issue for special needs students
  • 6 Dof movement and special needs students
  • Students under 13 are restricted from using 
  • Oculus business terms state that this is “not for education”
  • Privacy and the need for a Facebook/Meta account

 

The last one, of course, is a huge issue, but as I have reminded others, even if you take away Facebook and the absolute requirement for a personal social media account, the Quest is still not recommended for a school environment. 

 

Does Veative make content for the Quest?

 

Have we made content for the Quest in the past? Yes. Will we redo the entire STEM and ELL library for the Quest? No. 

 

The answer is both simple, and slightly convoluted. The simple part is that although we have the technical skill internally to convert our library to be used on this device, there is no good path forward in doing so. There is no way to load and manage that content (in a simple and meaningful way). There is no way of using a subscription service with this device, which would be far better for schools as they wish to expand the experiences and resources used for immersive learning. There is also the 6 Dof element to using this device, which will be more of a challenge in schools (space issues) and a far bigger challenge for special needs students. 

 

If we were dealing with 1, or even 5, content pieces, there might be a simple way to use this device, although the question of whether it is an appropriate choice remains. However, we deal with more curriculum-aligned, educational content than anyone else in the world, and there is no way to take this forward. 

 

And finally, we learned our lesson from the Oculus Go. We made our library available on that device, based on consumer demand. The complaints were many, and all too often the same. “We love the content and love the platform. But loading and unloading multiple headsets with content, issues with the controllers in a muti-user environment, batteries dying constantly and so on, are a problem. If you could switch out that device for something else, it would save us a ton of issues.” If we bring our content on this device to you, you will end up hating Veative, and it will have nothing to do with what we create. 

 

Having learned these hard lessons, we can faithfully proclaim: 

 

“Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”