Gotta Chem Them All

I recently bought an entry-level smart phone for the main purpose of being able to log into WeChat via a QR code. WeChat is a message app that my Chinese students use but an account requires phone details and the web version uses QR codes to login. On one hand, having a phone for login is a bit easier than trying to remember yet another password (or line of poetry/song lyric as my passwords are these days).

The phone cost £20 so isn’t a massive investment. But I do now have Pokemon Go so there are other advantages, alongside better GPS and maps to get me where I’m going.

A few years ago I very much enjoyed Keele’s foray into augmented reality, using Aurasma and if I recall correctly (it was an iPad ap), you used the camera to see icons and tapped for further information as you explored campus. Largely too clunky and hazardous to view the world through a smart phone lens but in the coming age of wearables, a very interesting ideas.

I could make this a longer ramble towards a point if I noted that Socrative is going to be a damn site easier to use with a class for PI than carting the clickers around (and extricating them from people’s offices when they haven’t been returned). Another smart phone thing but thankfully one with a useful web presence as well.

My point then, or as close to it as I’m getting is twofold – firstly, I realise I don’t do enough to harness smart phones in teaching sessions (and actively discourage it in certain circumstances), and secondly, what are people doing with augmented reality in chemistry teaching?  There are a few papers out there that involve using it for the obvious stuff – structures of 3D molecules and materials. But perhaps the technology is improving/becoming far more widely available so perhaps we can do more. It would be good, for example, to use it for improving laboratory technique.


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