Mohamed S. Hussein
St. Lawrence College
The understanding of natural sciences, such as chemistry, depends on the student’s imagination. Until recently, the teachers of these subjects would strive to create this imagination on the two-dimensional boards in class or using some static demonstration models or films. But now, various technologies and innovations have changed the way we see the world where the characteristic sorts of unique technology show up annually. We should not be astonished to see parts of the world encountering tremendous changes in different fields of daily life applications. As education represents the backbone of various societies and the main locomotive that motivates these societies to progress and evolve, education should involve these different emerging technologies in education applications. Although this involvement is vital for all disciplines, this chapter will focus on emerging technology in the Chemistry courses in High school and Higher Education. Various research in the application of introducing AR in Chemistry has been studied. This research proves that the learning outcome of students has been improved. AR tools significantly affect students’ excitement and Learning, specifically in the elementary grades. Finally, the recommended requirements will introduce teachers and leaders of education organizations to overcome challenges and smoothly and successfully apply the AR technologies.
STEM, emerging technology, Augmented reality, AR and Chemistry
Education is an essential part of every society. In the 21st century, one of the main factors that affect the stability and strength of any state’s present and future is depending on these states’ abilities to reshape and develop their education systems. The development of the education system started with the advancement of different curricula to facilitate the teaching and learning processes. The success of these processes is measured by how much its products (students) have solid foundations and experience with the ability to use these skills in real-life applications and innovations, which could be achieved through deep Learning of scientific concepts. It also can be accomplished through the excitement of enthusiastic and passionate instructors encouraging the mindset of the 21st-century students to make teaching and learning more enjoyable, effective, attractive and engaging. The curricula of the current decade should be tailored to maximize the teaching and learning outcomes of emerging technologies and continuously work on its updates in the teaching and learning processes. At the same time, emerging technology should be employed in a way that serves the diversity and equity of students.
The possibility of embedding augmented reality (AR) in authentic inquiry activities to contextualize students’ exploration of medical surgery and investigate students’ perceptions of the AR lessons and simulators, and their Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) interests (Hsu et al., 2016).
Learning has never been easier than we have currently seen, due to the extensive changes those various technologies have produced. These emerging technologies pave the way to facilitate, enhance, and maximize the teaching and learning processes and, consequently, their products. The teachers and scientists interested in the modernization of the educational systems should work to reshape education to meet the challenges and needs of the current student’s mindset. This can be done through involvement and correlation between curricula development to be accepted by applications of emerging technologies (Chen et al., 2020).
Although the involvement of different emerging technologies in education is vital for all disciplines, this chapter will focus on augmented reality as one of the optimistic emerging technologies in teaching chemistry. The introduced cases provide the reader with examples and results of these applications of AR in the teaching and learning processes. Finally, the required recommendations to face the challenges of applying this technology in the designated courses in higher education are introduced.
In this section, we will introduce the diffraction of the seven emerging technologies and how they have extraordinary benefits in education. In general, the objectives of emerging technologies in education are comparable; these objectives are centred around enhancing teaching and learning approaches and fostering the student’s engagement in the class and with the course contents. In brief, there are several emerging technologies recommended to merge and apply in education in 2022 (Adam, 2022), such as:
Augmented Reality (AR) and Simulations
It is an enhanced version of the real physical world that is achieved through the use of digital visual elements, sound, or other sensory stimuli delivered via technology (Hayes, 2021). AR provides users with experiences that may otherwise be inaccessible to them, creating interactive environments that can allow students to interact with real-life objects enhanced by virtual technologies and that can stimulate their visual, auditory, olfactory, somatosensory, and haptic senses for a holistic learning experience.
It is a technology that provides learning activities to students based on their needs and learning style/behaviour. Consider adaptive Learning as a piece of tech that adapts to every student’s needs quickly. It helps students adapt to unique learning paths based on their interests and learning ability.
Education Technologies Based on Artificial Intelligence (AI)
There are different applications of AI in Education. For instance, AI allows 24hr access to teachers and lessons anytime, anywhere (L. Chen et al., 2020). AI can be used as an educational tool that guides students toward their goals by providing personalized feedback on homework, quizzes etc., based on AI. Accordingly, AI can help the teachers determine and map the students’ learning styles, including the diversity of the student’s accommodations, to enhance recommendations to accommodate students precisely.
Usage of 5G Technologies in Education
5G is the fifth generation of wireless technology, through which students can access its high speed and improved enhancements with low lethargy wireless technology. Students are more likely to benefit from this unique innovation, as this promises them quick downloads of student files and resources and more powerful networks that help the learning tools such as VR and AR (Hayes, 2021).
With automation, students can enhance and receive the lectures automatically at specific times as many platforms allow for classes to be digitally scheduled. Not to mention, automation allows for a better way to adopt artificial intelligence. The AI system can recommend the teaching materials and tools for teachers that are adapted to students’ learning styles. Automation and AI can support the students as a center of the teaching and learning processes (Hayes, 2021).
It provides a means for students to improve their learning experiences and skills based on their ability to master competence. This allows students to learn independently regardless of the environment (Hayes, 2021).
Learning is an overall process requiring efficient tracking and analysis to understand results better. As an emerging technology, learning analytics is now being used by teachers to better record the learning behaviours of students. Keeping track of student learning rates and behaviours is that most teachers will stand the chance to provide targeted improvements to courses and enhance curricula (Hayes, 2021).
For instance, Augmented Reality (AR) will be discussed as a teaching and learning tool in high school, college and university chemistry classes.
Augmented Reality (AR) and Simulations
Augmented Reality (AR) is an extension of Virtual Reality (VR). Compared to traditional VR, AR provides a picture-perfect user interface that combines the real and virtual worlds. In AR, users can interact with virtual objects that are inserted into real scenes around them and obtain the most natural and genuine human-computer interaction experience.
Tools need for AR
Only a computer and a camera are needed to construct a local AR environment. The camera detects markers within its vision and then presents the scene it captures and the corresponding virtual objects represented by the markers, simultaneously on the computer screen. Users can move the markers to interact with the interposed virtual objects. The next section introduces three applications of AR in Chemistry class.
- Using AR to explain the class of atomic structure.
- Using AR for Chemistry learning
- Using AR for Organic Chemistry
(Cai et al., 2014) use AR to explain the class of atomic structure in the chemistry class. According to the results, participants commented that
The AR tool can help me remember the structure of atoms. Chemistry is relatively difficult, and sometimes, we are not able to imagine the structures correctly in class with merely the teacher’s simple instruction. The software is more attractive, which leaves a deeper impression in our mind. The more interesting the material is, the longer it will be remembered (p. 39).
The students also inform that learning chemistry using AR in real space can be exciting. The AR software makes learning materials clearer and more understandable, which helps me remember knowledge points more directly. The AR also offer direct interaction better than other 3D modelling software; the AR tool could help us develop operation capabilities. The natural and direct interaction is better than the keyboard and mouse interaction for remembering procedural knowledge. Some disadvantages of the software were that the model can be unstable, and the display can flicker sometimes.
As shown in Figures (1), (2), and (3), The students were to able create and see 3D models of three atoms, Molecules of water and collect a number of water molecules to create water droplets.
Models of three atoms (from Cai et al., 2014, p. 35)
The structure of a water molecule (from Cai et al., 2014, p. 35)
Water molecules form a real water drop (from Cai et al., 2014, p. 35)
This educational application was built to provide students with a more engaging and interactive approach to learning chemistry. The application applied by (Macariu, et.al, 2020) The application has a variety of components, such as text recognition that can allow students to research concepts and terms from their textbooks on Wikipedia (Wikipedia Foundation, n.d.) to increase their knowledge and understanding. Another app component is an interactive component that invites students to learn a concept and test their knowledge through an interactive activity. If students struggle with answers, the app provides interactive help to guide them through their actions and learning processes. This component also allows for a competitive aspect wherein students can complete activities correctly to gain points. This creates a more engaged and active student experience that can enhance student understanding. The last part of the application is dedicated to the admin user. They can add or delete chemical compounds. This role can be played by a teacher who can help the students to learn faster and better and can tailor the app to their classroom’s needs.
Details of the substance Argon (SR) (left), option to combine elements (right) (Macariu, et.al, 2020)
This module focuses on specific learners’ behaviour in the educational process. There are some cards made in Adobe Illustrator (2022) (e.g. Image Target). A card contains the full name of the substance, the chemical formula, and the periodic table of Mendeleev, being coloured with the specific element (Figure 4). These Image Targets are then recognized in a Vuforia (2022) component. For that, we created a database named “ArLearn”, where each card with the corresponding name was registered as an Image Target. Also, Vuforia can recognize the cards and provide the behaviour we build in Unity (2022).
As an example, The first indication is to form “sodium chloride”, for which a cardboard “Cl” (Chlorine) and “Na” (Sodium) is needed. When placing the camera on a card, the molecule will have a specific colour and size and the text with the particular information from the periodic table (Figure 5 left). If it is not the right card or the compound is not entirely composed, there will be indications about which card should be brought to the frame. If all the elements necessary to form the compound have been brought into the frame, a message “You can combine the elements” will appear (Figure 5 middle). When combining the elements, a force of attraction is applied to the molecules, the writing on the cardboard becomes specific to the compound, and a green edge is applied if the compound is correctly formed (Figure5 right) or red if it is wrong. After closing the explanatory frame, at the top appear three-button guidance representing back, resume, and forward (Figure 4 right). The first indication is to form “sodium chloride”, for which a cardboard “Cl” (Chlorine) and “Na” (Sodium) is needed
Details of the substance Sodium (Na) (left), option to combine elements (middles and right) (Macariu, et.al, 2020)
Organic chemistry represents one of the most challenging branches of chemistry. In the application, AR is used in organic chemistry classes, focusing on student-centred Learning. The student applied AR to identify abstract concepts, such as carbon hybridization and find similarities and differences among the different organic groups (Reyes,2021). To do this, the application “Carbon hybridization AR,” was used so that students could visualize how carbon hybridization occurs, the form taken by hybrid orbitals, and how the simple, double, and triple bonds of hydrocarbons form, as shown in figure (6).
The same application has another section where students can visualize organic molecules in different functional groups to identify their characteristics. To create the application, the author uses free educational software such as Unity, Maya (Autodesk, 2022), and Vuforia. I used these to bestow three-dimensional shapes, create animations for each molecule, place them in an augmented reality environment, and compile the upload to the App Store, where it is now available.
Details of the Organic compounds with single and double bonds (from Reyes, 2021)
Implementing AR in chemistry courses significantly improved student evaluations and increased their motivation to use AR to understand abstract concepts. Ninety-five percent of the students agreed that this app helped them improve their learning processes through better understanding; 88% were totally satisfied with AR, and 85% felt entirely motivated in the chemistry classes. Undoubtedly, there was a significant advance in Learning, and, above all, the application positively impacted my students.
A brief result from these three applications can be summarized as:
- AR tools have significant supplemental learning effects, especially on chemistry and in general in all STEM classes.
- The AR tool has more significant learning gains for low-achieving students than for high-achieving students. The AR tool is more effective for low-achieving students.
- Students possess a positive learning attitude and provide positive evaluations of the AR tool.
The subject of Chemistry requires a lot of imagination, prediction, critical thinking and retention skills. Few are interested in this subject, given the complexity of the basic concepts to understand the structure of matter. However, with augmented reality, we can motivate students to learn more about this subject and enter unknown worlds.
In the current chapter, three applications in different areas of Chemistry are introduced. The experiment results show that the AR tool is useful in improving students’ cognitive test performance on corresponding content performance and significantly impacts low-achieving understudies. Moreover, understudies by and large hold a positive attitude toward the AR instrument and appreciate the investigation involvement.
Based on these results, the further employment of AR tools as remedial learning tools and extending the method to other chemistry classes and contents in high school and higher education is effective for deep understanding and memorizing abstract chemical structures and concepts.
Finally, Using Augmented reality as a learning tool allows students to see a molecule from all its angles, visualize how atoms are arranged in an element, and understand more abstract chemical concepts. Using AR as a learning tool is not limited to the middle and high school students. Still, it is expanded to university students studying organic chemistry and related courses.
With the application and instruction form, teachers can apply this AR tool in inquiry-based Learning in their classes. The design of chemistry curricula should undergo the AR tools for teaching and Learning.
Use the AR as a learning tool for the college chemistry course.
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