Partnership to Bring VR and 5G STEM Education to Underserved Students

Prisms VR (Prisms of Reality) and nationwide carrier T-Mobile have partnered to give more K–12 students in the U.S., especially those in rural areas, access to the 5G network in order to close the gap in interactive math and science learning via VR headsets. Technologies like VR need fast, reliable internet access, which is not typically available to students in outlying areas.

Prisms VR and T-Mobile launched a new math education pilot program in 2022 in Michigan’s Lenawee Intermediary School District (LISD). It provides Prisms VR's learning programs on Meta Quest 2 VR headsets connected to T-Mobile 5G across 11 school districts in rural Michigan.

VR headsets have been distributed to 20 schools so far, made possible by $425,000 in funding through T-Mobile’s Accelerator program, with headsets shared and transferred among schools. VR Prisms is also active in 28 states across the nation in partnering with T-Mobile to provide 5G access, the company said.

The headsets allow students to learn and develop core math and science concepts by studying and solving real-world problems. According to a release, “LISD has reported improved lesson engagement and retention, with 80% of students who participated in the program saying they better understood the concepts and received higher grades.”

Urban schools can also benefit from 5G, as VR headsets can be used immediately upon connecting, faster than a WiFi system, the release noted.

"A major roadblock our teachers have in implementing new technologies like Prisms VR is often due to unreliable network connections," said Ann Smart, educational technology consultant for LISD. "Prisms VR came to us with the recommendation to use T-Mobile 5G paired with their learning programs, which we've been able to easily adopt at over 15 schools in rural Michigan, with outstanding responses from students and teachers."

Prisms VR can also be used at home. For more information on STEM learning opportunities and how the system works, visit the Experience Prisms page.

T-Mobile also launched Project 10 Million, to connect millions of eligible students in underserved areas across the country by offering free wireless hotspots and connectivity. To learn more about that program and eligibility, visit the Project 10 Million page.

Go to T-Mobile’s Education page for more information about the latest in ed tech connectivity and devices.

About the Author

Kate Lucariello is a former newspaper editor, EAST Lab high school teacher and college English teacher.