Science Education AppsDEVELOPING MOBILE APPS FOR TEACHING UNDERGRADUATE LEVEL CHEMISTRY
The classroom has left the building. With smartphones becoming ubiquitous, interest in apps that support education has ballooned. The Impact Centre has long had a core expertise in physical chemistry, and in the model of providing students the opportunity to learn by doing, have been guiding the creation of student-made apps to enhance learning outcomes in the first-year U of T course CHM139 Chemistry: Physical Principles. These apps teach concepts in small chunks, for example, something that will take 2-5 minutes at a time to use, and at the same time, build some intuition for chemistry using visual, interactive, and even game-like approaches.
The program brings together two to three students over the summer to work on three different types of iOS apps: (1) short modules to teach a concept to complement lecture materials in an interactive way; (2) self-study assistance by showing worked example problems or test preparation; (3) modules to complement in-lab experiments (e.g. an app you can use alongside the lab tutorials).
For the students who participate in the program, they gain an understanding of the complete app development cycle – from concept to coding, debugging to final submission. When finished, the students also have a downloadable app that they can show future potential employers or add to their resume.
For the students using the apps, they address the evolving needs of how students engage with learning materials. Students have transitioned from pen and paper, to laptops, and now to smart devices, not only in the classroom but in most daily interactions. The use of apps in tandem with tutorials and laboratory sessions provides an active learning experience and promotes interest in the subject and research on the whole.
- 12 apps created to support chemistry education
- 10 students participated over 3 summers
- Provide an experiential learning opportunity for undergraduate students to design and create educations iOS apps
- Enable deeper learning of chemistry material through engaging and relevant content