ScholAR: An interactive e-learning product
David K. A. Robertson - July 8, 2020
At a time where students seem to be more curious when it comes to finding their own way in educating themselves there have been very little resources (almost none of the good quality) in the sector of ‘edutainment’, a combination of education and entertainment to foster this flaming desire.
“ScholAR” is an application developed with an augmented reality experience of simulations to serve as the student and teacher’s connection to a virtual yet interactive laboratory. Although there are a number of resources available online to teach theoretical topics and instruct students with simple foundations of an experiment, hardly are there any that go a step further to allow hands-on experiences. “ScholAR”'s main objective addresses this by being a step further in allowing that hands-on experience required. It is the product brand developed by EscaVel with a simple but well-established objective of creating an interactive environment for both students and teachers to participate and learn. “ScholAR” allows the user to run experiments that are otherwise hazardous or extremely challenging to conduct. For example: playing with Acids in Chemistry experiments; analyzing forces during a skydive; playing with Radioactive materials for Physics experiments; and so on. For safety concerns, such experiments are usually not accessible to middle/high schoolers.
Inspiration for this application came from various sources, one of which was the Cone of Experience also known as the Learning Pyramid designed by Edgar Dale, an American educator. Dale postulated that we retain 90% of what we experience by doing something compared to retaining 10% of what we read. Hence, the need for an application such as this which is of more importance especially during these challenging times of the current pandemic where most learning has completely gone online.
The application currently caters to a significant number of Physics and Chemistry experiments between the 8th to 10th standard using the references of but not limited to topics under IGCSE, CBSE and Maharashtra state board syllabus in which simulations are also categorized. These simulations also tackle a number of topics in both subjects and per the company’s road map we will be expanding to other grades to allow complete coverage for middle and high school in the academic year.
To students, this application serves as an environment for self-learning and satisfying curiosity when it comes to the various topics in the school syllabus. There are a number of topics that are not relatable or visually representable in the syllabus example is that of the mole concept, which is one of the most confusing topics for students according to some teachers. With this application, students can explore visually relatable experiments based on such topics, and with the help of the online instructions in each experiment its easier for students to learn on their own without any supervision.
To Teachers, this application serves as an answer to making educating students more involving, visually entertaining and also safe. “ScholAR” covers a variety of topics in experiments, some of which might not be safe to perform in school laboratories and hence, make it easier for teachers to teach and instruct students using a virtual environment that shows accurate reactions and metrics of real-world scenarios and values in the experiments.
“ScholAR” is the general container for all experiments by employing the use of the internet for a one-time download or update of the files required by the application which is acquired by the user from the “ScholAR”lab website http://www.scholarlab.in/.. The “ScholAR” application then begins with a one-time sign-in page that is allowed to one user and is tailored to one computing device. Once a user signs in with the given ID and password there is no need to sign in again afterward even after closing the application. The application currently serves as the container that holds the two subjects, Physics and Chemistry which is further divided into the various experiments under these subjects.
Sample screen of the Subjects page
The Physics subject is where the main experiment packages are housed from the likes of the seemingly basic topic of Bell Jar experiment to the complex topic of Radioactive Decay which is usually a conceptual and confusing topic for the average student or person. The Chemistry subject has a similar flow in structure with the difference being the experiments being available there.
Sample screen of Physics experiments
The main experiment package Is a three-in-one pack containing a Video, which is an informative short video on the topics and experiment, an Assessment, which is a multiple-choice questionnaire based on the experiment topics and a Simulation, which is the actual interactive experiment.
Sample simulation of Vector Calculation experiment
The ScholAR application can be downloaded from http://www.scholarlab.in/. Visit the website to sign up, explore and request the experiments for the application. It is currently available as an executable file on Windows and Mac OS and will soon be available for Android and iOS platforms as well.
In the future, there are plans to introduce more subjects to the ScholAR product in order to achieve a wider impact in the education field.
Remember to Experience, Observe, Learn!!!