Augmented Reality in Chemistry Education - First Test Session in School

5/7/2021

Futu-AR is an AR app that we are prototyping in parallel to our VR content development. The app is currently focused on visualizing chemistry and learning to balance chemical reaction equations.
 

01.04- First Futuclass AR test session with students.

Kristen, Arnold and apprentice Roland from UT have been working on a side project - molecule visualisation and reaction balancing in Augmented Reality. Prototype version of the app is ready and had it's first test session in a public schools regular natural science class. Over the web.
 

Summary

AR application has potential. Students liked the lesson and described it being interesting and fun, a lot more engaging than sitting and listening to the teacher. Brought out one specific game mode as their favorite. Natural science teacher said she'd use this app in her class. Problems we had during the test session were technical and are solvable.
 

General

  • 10 students from 7th grade and 1 chemistry teacher took part of the lesson - 11 testers in total (7x Android, 4x Iphone)
  • Lesson was hosted on Zoom: everybody had their web cameras on for testers and teacher being able to track progress, help and make notes
  • It was Futuclass AR ver. 0.07 that was tested, previous versions have been tested internally by Kristen and Arnold
  • Teacher did a reflection round asking about what were the interesting fact that each of the students learned when playing the "Find the correct" mode.
  • Lesson was hosted in a stress free online chemistry lesson with a teacher that has good trust and relationship with her students. Meaning students aren't afraid to speak out.
     

iOS vs. Android

2/7 Android users were not able to run the app. Google Play store gave an issue that the app is not compatible with their phone. One of the students had Samsung A5. So probably both of them had older Android OS than Futuclass app requires (8.1).

2/7 Android users had serious tracking issues. One of them uses Xiaomi Redmi 9 and the other one Samsung A71. Examples:

  1. Showed only one molecule although two or several were in the focus area. Playing with the angle and phone distance didn't help.
  2. Molecules were located in random places around the display area, not on top of their marker cards.
  3. Molecules didn't go away when markers were out of visual area. 3/7 Android users were able to run the app without any problems - 43% of testers

4/4 Iphone users had no issues with the app: tracking worked perfectly and everything ran smoothly - 100% of testers
 

Actionable feedback

  • "Find the correct" asks for the same molecule too often (H2, Fe, S were mentioned).-> Make the pool larger
  • Students who have a phone that isn't compatible with the app feel left out -> **Define what is the criteria for the phone and OS beforehand **
  • Some Android phones tracking in the app is very poor -> **Improve tracking **
  • It is hard to measure educational impact and make notes if there are technical problems during the lesson ->** If we' d like an ideally working test session then we need to test in schools that have iPads available**
  • Some molecules are missing the fun facts -> Add fun facts for every molecule
  • "Find the correct" mode was this test groups favourite -> Develop levels for this game mode, increase pool size
  • Same fact is presented multiple times if you get the same molecule -> Multpile facts per substance
     

Quotes from students

  • "This way of studying is a lot better than just sitting and listening"
  • "Much cooler than textbook and TV"
  • "I liked that I got to know a fact about every molecule in Find the right game mode"
  • "I really like that I can see molecules!"