June 22, 2022

Virtual reality and augmented reality in education — Observatory

Historically, technology has been one of the fundamental tools to advance education and improve learning, especially in the past two years when it has played a vital role in enabling distance education. In previous articles, we have covered both topics, Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR), and their applications in education.

In 2021, we featured Professor Mariela Urzua Reyes in a previous edition of our webinars. She accompanied us to explain to us the applications of augmented reality in the teaching of chemistry. This year, she returns for the webinar titled “Simply apply virtual reality in your chemistry lessons“, which will take place this Tuesday, June 21 at 12:00 p.m. (Mexico City time).

In this new edition, the teacher will comment on another project of her paternity, but with a different technology: virtual reality. What is the difference between this and augmented reality? We explain the distinctions below to better understand what will be covered in this show.

Augmented Reality Vs. Virtual Reality

Although both terms refer to the incorporation of technological elements into the human experience, their implications are very different. Augmented reality uses devices to add digital aspects and objects to a physical environment, such as in-game Pokemon Go.

Virtual reality (VR), on the other hand, generates an immersive experience through wearable devices, such as virtual reality visors or headsets. Virtual reality creates a simulated environment in which the user enters and perceives himself in a world that resembles reality. Simply put, Augmented Reality starts from the real world and overlays digital elements on it, while Virtual Reality immerses the user and creates a reality from scratch. Both approaches can bring significant benefits to the educational effort.

Didactic Technologies and Chemistry

The previous work of Professor Mariela in educational technologies involved an augmented reality project for teaching chemistry with very positive results for students. Together with her son, Jesús Alejandro Gómez, 15, she developed an app for her students to visualize the carbon hybridization process, where hybrid orbitals form, and how simple hydrocarbons form. According to the teacher, 95% of students said the app helped them improve their learning and depth of understanding.

“Chemistry is not so popular [among students]; very few are interested in it given the complexity of the basic concepts for understanding the structure of matter. However, augmented reality can motivate students to learn more about this topic and enter unknown worlds. The teacher commented on the benefits of technology to facilitate education in a Educational bits article on his project. With what she learned in this collaboration, she took a step closer to virtual reality and will share her knowledge in this next webinar. Don’t miss it!

The webinar will be in Spanish, but if you are an English speaker, we invite you to consult the English version of several of the linked articles and our Edu Trends report on virtual reality and augmented reality.

Translation by Daniel Wetta