Possibilities of Learning Contemporary Chemistry via Virtual Reality
World Journal of Chemical Education
The fundamental challenge for understanding and thus for teaching chemistry is that chemical processes at the atomic level are all inaccessible to sensory experience and must therefore be represented by models. For learners these models are often difficult to understand and to use, as they pose high demands regarding cognitive and spatial ability as well as abstraction. This applies especially when it comes to current developments and research topics of chemistry, like nanoscience. It leads to
... ience. It leads to a situation where modern chemistry and chemical research is more and more inaccessible for learners at universities. Using learning environments that utilize virtual reality may help to overcome this problematic situation as they allow new ways of visualization, a more direct interaction between learner and chemical object and they are open to more game-based approaches. By using VR-technology in combination with aspects of actual chemical research topics, chemistry education students may gain better understanding of modern chemistry. As a result, they should be better prepared to realize modern chemistry lessons in the future, that delivers a realistic view of modern chemistry, cover topics of actual relevance and use digital methods that foster learning. In the following, two projects which focus on VR and contemporary chemistry will be presented. In the first project a virtual reality game was created and embedded in a course of chemistry education. The aim is to present the students a kind of real situation with aspects of modern chemistry, where they have to act as a forensic scientist. Additionally, they should use this VR game as basis for conceptualizing teaching materials for chemistry lessons at school and as a means to promote their digital competencies. In the second project, another context and software for learning contemporary chemical contents via VR is used. Students focus on chemical aspects of the Corona-Virus (Sars-CoV-2) as content and use the VR-software nanome for learning about complex molecular systems and making these chemical aspects teachable afterwards.