With Facebook renaming Meta, the company wants to pull education into its ‘Metavers’

Facebook changed its corporate name to Meta yesterday, inspired by CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s science idea as part of a broader approach to building the next generation of “embodiments” of the Internet, where users, He described, “Be in experience, just don’t see it.” And as an important part of that vision, he is targeting education.

How those metavers will look is still a little unclear, but in the statements made by the company and One hour video They left. And it has pledged real dollars for the educational part of its endeavors, promising to use its Facebook Reality Labs to assist in tech development and engage people in educational training to enrich and virtual reality.

And Facebook (er, my guess now Meta) announced that it will partner with Coursera and edX to help push the curriculum of Meta into augmented and virtual reality, which they call. Spark AR course. A spokesman for edX, which was started as a non-profit by Harvard and MIT but is in the process of being sold to 2U for profit, said the group would share more information about the partnership and its sweeping changes in the coming weeks.

The choice to bet on the future of Facebook on the term “Metavers” is an interesting thing when Facebook is under intense scrutiny for its growing power and the company has moved forward with features even after the recent leak of internal documents. Internal research shows social harm. As it turns out, the term “metavers” was coined in a dystopian novel that is extremely critical to society and the growing corporate control of Internet technology.

The book that coined the term is the 1992 science-fiction novel “Snow crashAn action adventure set in a world where much of everyday life is lived in an immersive digital world that eventually replaces the Internet. In the novel, Metavers emerges after the global economic downturn, where governments have relinquished rights to private companies and entrepreneurs ज्यामुळे causing a huge divide between those who have and those who don’t. This is far from the sales pitch of a visual internet run by a giant company, although in the last few years it has become a template for how to visualize shared shared cyberspace in Silicon Valley.

Zuckerberg’s interest in virtual reality is nothing new. Company in 2014 VR company Oculus bought for 2 billion. And in his statement yesterday, Zuckerberg said the idea of ​​changing the name precedes the company’s recent criticism.

The hour-long video released by Meta yesterday includes a mix of technology in the version of the imagined Metavers, which features holograms. This is a scene (around 31:00 in the video) where a student is manipulating a giant picture of the solar system by swiping her hand for her astrophysics homework, zooming in on Saturn’s rings with gestures. Her hands.

“If you’re into astrophysics, you can study in multiverse,” said Marne Levine, chief business officer of Meta, the narrator of this part of the video.

But high-end VR headsets also seem to be part of the meta-metavision vision for education.

The next example shown in the video is of a student wandering around ancient Rome, thanks to the immersive VR world where the student is taken as an avatar.

In the video’s narration, Levin said, “Imagine standing on the street and listening to the sound, visiting the markets. To realize the rhythm of life more than 2,000 years ago. Imagine learning how a forum is created by seeing the forum in front of you. ”

Most of the graphics shown in this part of the video appear to be artist presentations rather than any demonstration of actual technology, as the video represents a possible future rather than any specific product (although one VR documentary by David Attenborough Developed for the Oculus VR headset was shown briefly). It sometimes felt more like an optimistic ride at a World Fair or Disneyworld than a sales game.

One of the challenges of making this vision a reality is that despite years of efforts by Facebook, VR headsets have failed to make it to the masses. The company discontinued the Rift headset after low sales this year, although it now sells a VR headset called the Oculus Quest 2 They say good sales are happening (Although the company has not released sales figures). That this week The headset was renamed Meta Quest To match the new corporate brand.

VR headsets remain obscure and expensive, and it is also expensive for them to develop materials for learning किंवा or any other purpose.

And with all the problems and challenges teachers face in times of global epidemics, adding bells and whistles to Hollywood-inspired curriculum content doesn’t seem like the best way for many teachers to spend time and resources. When Arizona State University touted a company backing the development of educational materials for VR headsets at the ASU GSV Summit, the demo sparked curiosity but heard from several executives who cared more about how AdSerge could make better use of existing tools. And adapt to the changing reality rather than investing in expensive new gear.

New York Times technology columnist Kevin Rouge said one reason for Facebook’s policy change could be anxiety. Other social media platforms are losing young (student-old) users.

“Metavers can help the company’s demographic crisis, if it encourages young people to strap on their Oculus headsets and hang out in Horizon-Facebook’s social VR app instead of watching ticking videos on their phones,” Roose wrote.

Disclosure: EdSurge is supported by the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative, a charity co-owned by Mark Zuckerberg.

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