Facebook has decided to expand an existing partnership with the Arkansas Department of Education and now plans to bring virtual reality (VR) education to every public high school in the state.
The original Arkansas Facebook and Techstart Partnership was announced earlier this year and entailed donating 500 VR kits to about 250 schools, educational co-ops and STEM education centers. The classroom VR kits include an Oculus Rift, touch controller, 30 VR viewers and other equipment necessary to participate in the Techstart program — which combines virtual reality instruction, curriculum support and professional development for educators to give students access to high quality computer science and VR education.
According to a state department news release, around 400 kits were distributed to date. Now, the company will send a kit to all public high schools in Arkansas (totalling around 360 schools).
“We are appreciative to Facebook for its continued efforts to generate excitement for STEM fields in Arkansas high schools,” said Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson. “Facebook’s generous donation will provide Arkansas’ students with an exciting learning platform that will allow them to have fun while sharpening their computer science skills and exploring STEM careers. Students who utilize this incredible platform will be well-positioned to succeed in our increasingly technology driven economy.”
The long-term vision of Facebook’s Techstart program is to address the employment gap currently facing the technology industry, or the estimated one million programming jobs that will be open by 2020.
To learn more, visit the Techstart Program site.