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Using Virtual Laboratories in Chemistry Classrooms as Interactive Tools Towards Modifying Alternate Conceptions in Molecular Symmetry

Publication Type : Journal Article

Thematic Areas : Learning-Technologies, Medical Sciences, Biotech

Publisher : Education and Information Technologies.

Source : Education and Information Technologies, 2018

Url :

Campus : Amritapuri

School : Centre for Cybersecurity Systems and Networks, School of Biotechnology

Center : Computational Neuroscience and Neurophysiology, Amrita Mind Brain Center, Biotechnology, Cyber Security

Department : cyber Security, biotechnology

Year : 2018

Abstract : Molecular symmetry plays a central role in chemistry education with regard to predicting chemical properties such as bonding and spectroscopic transitions. Better understanding of the symmetry of molecules requires high visual-spatial thinking ability. Conventional teaching methodologies, with limited teaching aides, fall short in providing a detailed understanding of scientific theories and related concepts. Incorrect understanding has been known to perpetrate concepts that are not consistent with the consensus of the research community or alternate conceptions. This work elaborates a methodology designed to discover the alternate conceptions stemming from teaching molecular symmetry in a typical classroom environment and the impact of the virtual laboratory (VL) environment in correcting these misconceptions. Three significant contributions presented in this paper include: (1) the development of a media and information-intense VL experiment platform designed to enhance understanding of symmetry elements and point groups of molecules with diverse structural geometries. (2) the development of an instrument, Molecular symmetry Alternate Conception Test (MACT), designed to capture and estimate the extent of alternate conceptions. (3) the successful identification of typical alternate conceptions amongst students in the context of molecular symmetry. In addition to perceived alternate concepts in symmetry education, the results indicate a significant statistical improvement of 156% in understanding of molecular symmetry concepts (p < 0.05) after subjecting students to the interactive VL platform. This study also shows identifying bond angles and planarity as concepts crucial for students. It is also implicit that estimations of discrimination skills related to identifying concept-based learning may be relevant for perceiving alternate concepts among learners.

Cite this Research Publication : Dr. Krishnashree Achuthan, VK, K., and Dr. Shyam Diwakar, “Using Virtual Laboratories in Chemistry Classrooms as Interactive Tools Towards Modifying Alternate Conceptions in Molecular Symmetry”, Educ Inf Technol , 2018. DOI:

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