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Virtual Reality to visualise chemistry in higher education: Digital tools to enhance student learning
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Science and Mathematics Education. (UmSER)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7688-651x
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Chemistry.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2523-1940
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Chemistry.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3927-6197
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Chemistry.
2022 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation only (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Visualisation of molecular representations is an important area within chemistry education that has been explored for a long time, from several different perspectives. In the 1950s, Linus Pauling and Robert Koltun defined the CPK-model, describing the colours of the different atoms used in wood or plastic ball-and-stick models, for example, the black carbon, the white hydrogen, and the red oxygen. These analogue ball-and-stick models (e.g., MolyMod) are still used both in schools and at universities to help students “see” chemistry in three dimensions (3D). Today, with digitalisation, new tools are available to represent and visualise chemistry(Bernholt, Broman, Siebert, & Parchmann, 2019). With these modern digital tools, there are less limitations in molecular size to represent molecules, and even large structures and reaction mechanisms can be explored (Won, Mocerino, Tang, Treagust, & Tasker, 2019). In our project, interventions applying Virtual Reality (VR) as the digital tool during organic chemistry workshops and tutorials, have been explored related to cognitive and affective learning.

VR gives students the possibility to practice spatial ability, i.e., to move between 2D and 3D. In textbooks, chemistry is presented in 2D using, for example, Lewis structures. However, in real life, chemistry is three-dimensional, and the move between 2D and 3D is something students, as novices, need to practice to understand why and how chemicals react. In our project, university students practice their spatial ability through the application of VR. This on-going project started in 2018, and different workshops and tutorials have been implemented in different chemistry courses for bachelor, master, and engineering students. As presented in previous recent research from Brown and colleagues (2021), our students were very positive, enthusiastic and engaged to work with VR to develop their spatial ability and to visualise chemistry. In the presentation, we will give examples on how students can improve their learning and interest with the use of VR to represent chemical structures.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2022.
National Category
Didactics
Research subject
didactics of chemistry
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-196949OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-196949DiVA, id: diva2:1673398
Conference
NU2022, Nätverk och utveckling, Stockholm/online, Sverige, 15-17 juni, 2022
Available from: 2022-06-20 Created: 2022-06-20 Last updated: 2022-07-04Bibliographically approved

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Broman, KarolinaChorell, ErikHolmboe, Michael

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