Use Of Computer And Augmented Reality In Chemistry Teaching

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Chemistry had been regarded as a difficult subject for students by many researchers, teachers, and science educators because of the abstract nature of many chemical concepts, teaching styles applied in the class, lack of teaching aids, and difficult symbolic language of chemistry. For a better understanding of its concepts, students need to visualize chemical structures and molecules in three dimensions. Picturing chemical structures in three dimensions has consistently been troublesome. Traditionally, we have utilized molecular models for this reason, normally comprised of balls and sticks yet they have restrictions. Molecular models can't be overlaid, they conflict. Moreover, they can't be crumpled to an important 2D representation of that particle.

Computers can turn out being a splendid guide in teaching. Computers facilities an audio-visual representation of information. Accordingly making the way of learning interesting and interacting. Furthermore, education is not any more restricted to classrooms. The computer technology has made the fantasy of distance learning, a reality. Computer-aided learning adds a great component to education.

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Immersive technologies comprising of virtual reality and augmented reality are amongst the fastest growing and fascinating technologies today. Immersive technologies create or extend reality and this is done by immersing the user in a digital environment having applications in different domains for example, web application, healthcare, transportation, construction, gaming and significantly in education. This technology is gaining momentum with every passing day and hour, transforming and helping us reimagine the future.

Virtual Reality (VR) is a computer technology that uses VR headsets to create a simulator environment and helps an individual to immerse into it to experience an entirely different reality. However the historical journey of virtual reality began back in the 1800s.This marvelous idea has been evolving from the time practical photography came into existence. Morton Heilig invented the first VR device called SENSORAMA in 1957. His multimedia device the SENSORAMA is considered one of the earliest VR systems. However the term virtual reality was coined later by Jaron Lanier in 1987 during his intense research on this evolving technology. Virtual reality is revolutionizing many industries like education, military, medicines and sports. Class VR is an innovative new concept in the educational industry which uses VR tech to raise engagement and knowledge retention for students of all ages. Class VR uses VR headset with the user-friendly interface for both students and teachers.

Immersive virtual reality make students to be able to connect microscopic reality with symbolic representation. By applying virtual reality in chemistry teaching, students are immersed into the molecular world where they are free to walk around the molecule and even through it. Objects can be picked up, their size can be changed by using different scales and be laid over one another. Students can visualize the bonding and structure of any molecule in three dimensions. They learn by experiencing themselves in same environment, by practicing and by immersing in that world.

Researchers have proposed that visualization such as simulations and animations offer help to learn chemistry. Finally, a set of atom and bond representations on human scale would empower our immersion in a molecular world. This immersive technology allows us to be hook up into the same space as those molecules. Chemists can also create their own virtual objects.

Augmented reality (AR) is a technology that projects computer generated augmentations on top of reality, helping us perform tasks better and efficiently. AR which falls in between reality and virtual reality is a method used to render real world data and presented intuitively so that virtual elements resemble the present reality to an extent. AR is not a new technology. Ivan Sutherland develop the first AR gadget called SWORD OF DEMOCLES during 1968. Google Maps, Google Lens, Snap chat filters, these all are examples of augmented reality. Pokémon Go is a popular video game that uses augmented reality. From Pokémon Go to training future surgeons augmented reality started to infiltrate industries of our society today. The main difference between VR and AR is that, AR augments reality, but doesn't replace it. VR completely replaces your surroundings with a virtual environment.

Augmented Reality in education

Augmented reality in education is used to enhance students’ learning in interesting and interactive manner. As students learn effectively and effortlessly, it would spark their interest toward science. Throughout the most recent decade, the researchers have suggested utilizing the virtual world to persuade students to learn by giving more practical and immersive environment.

Researchers investigated the effectiveness of AR, and some compare traditional teaching methods. Among the types of active learning, collaborative learning is the method that has more advantageous effects on learning as learners share their understandings with their peers and this enhances their learning to much better extent. The environment for collaborative learning is enhanced and conducted by face-to-face communication with the help of computer and mobile technology. Thus AR combined with collaborative learning provides better learning outcomes.

Research shows that the immersive AR technology enhances students’ interest and motivates them to learn new skills and knowledge in depth as the interaction between students and environment is the main cause of interest. AR develops short term situational as well as long term individual interest for chemistry.

Researches have made to investigate the effectiveness of AR combined with traditional teaching methods like demonstration and student-centered hands-on approach and they found different results. They perceive that hands-on AR learning activities empower students’ concepts and knowledge and arouse interest in chemistry better than demonstration strategy especially in chemical reactions. As time passes, hands-on AR strategies allowed students to retain their conceptual understandings and causes students’ long standing engagement in science. Symmetry, chirality and solid state structures are the most challenging topics of chemistry where students find great difficulty in 3D visualization. Using this innovation in teaching, can possibly assist students to appreciate the reality presented by the teachers in symbolism.

Incorporation of AR in the classrooms and laboratory

The new emerging technologies, like smartphones, have made great impact on chemistry learning methods. Basically AR was envisioned and introduced decades ago, but proper implementation of this immersive technology requires particular skills of advanced computer programming. Early chemists had no such skills that are necessary for the utilization of AR technology. Then HP Reveal app is introduced which is free, user-friendly application, used to create useful AR content for chemical conceptualization as well as important instructional information for laboratory instrumentation.

AR content can be created in the instructor’s smartphone. Students download HP Reveal app in their smartphones and follow instructor’s HP Reveal account to get that AR content.

AR-based notecards are used as an example of this technology that contains many of the reaction mechanisms. Physical notecards contain Organic Chemistry I reactions and show only reagents and substrate, while AR notecards due to interaction with HP Reveal app, show the product of reactions with full hand-drawn curved arrow mechanism telling how the product is formed. Furthermore, these notecards show how this app can be utilized to set up instrumentations in laboratories.

AR in classrooms

Notecards have been used for memorizing main points in chemistry learning. With AR, those notecards would now be able to give more elaborative content for learning. For this purpose, HP Reveal app can be used to make notecards with augmented images and videos. Physical AR notecards contain QR code, reactants, chemical substrate and arrow pointing towards an unknown product. With the help of HP Reveal app, video is projected onto the AR notecards and the chemical structure of product become visible. After sometime, electron movement is shown in the mechanism with curved arrows.

Initially, Chemdraw was used to create molecular structures and import them into Microsoft PowerPoint with a square border. These notecards could be printed and used with HP Reveal app. QR code was generated for differentiation purpose using a free, online QR code generator. This QR code contains text that describes each reaction. If the QR code was found on the same place for nearly 20 cards, HP Reveal app may confused and give incorrect AR projections. According to Kyle N. Plunkett, variation in placement of QR codes on different notecards can solve this problem and provide access to 50-60 different notecards.

The AR projection content was created by simple recording. Video was recorded at resolution of 640×480 pixels. The application allows video size of 100 mb that’s why reducing the video length to 4 min. Even longer videos could be generated and then reduced in size by using video editing softwares.

AR in laboratory

The best possible use of lab equipment is significant for efficiency, safety and instrument’s life span. The transfer of inherited knowledge from an experienced equipment user to a beginner commonly happens verbally or through composed directions. There is a space for elective strategies for information transfer that can be accessible whenever. AR can provide information and can instructs user on how to use these instruments in the laboratory. The content was generated inside the smartphone using HP Reveal app.

To encourage the creation and access of information within laboratory, a single shared group account could be made in HP Reveal. Laboratory staff could work together to make AR content utilizing same account on multiple personal devices. To get access to AR projections, lab users could use personal accounts that follow the shared lab account.

In this way researchers made the incorporation of AR in the classrooms and laboratories effectively possible with the help of this user-friendly HP Reveal app for which no particular programming experience is required.

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Use Of Computer And Augmented Reality In Chemistry Teaching. (2022, February 24). Edubirdie. Retrieved June 22, 2024, from
“Use Of Computer And Augmented Reality In Chemistry Teaching.” Edubirdie, 24 Feb. 2022,
Use Of Computer And Augmented Reality In Chemistry Teaching. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 22 Jun. 2024].
Use Of Computer And Augmented Reality In Chemistry Teaching [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Feb 24 [cited 2024 Jun 22]. Available from:

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