Lynch, Tiina, & Ghergulescu, I. (2018). Innovative pedagogies and personalisation in STEM education with NEWTON Atomic Structure Virtual Lab (pp. 1483–1491). Presented at the EdMedia + Innovate Learning, Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE).
STEM education in Europe is suffering due to student disengagement and demotivation, which is starting as early as 12-13 years of age. STEM education should be student-centred, encouraging inquiry and problem-solving skills, while being personalised for each student. Practical training is becoming a challenge for schools and universities due to funding cuts and space limitations. Virtual labs provide a solution to these challenges by removing limitations set by time, equipment, and geography. This paper presents the Atomic Structure Virtual Lab aimed at teaching secondary level Chemistry students, developed as a part of the EU H2020 NEWTON Project. This virtual lab is based on inquiry-based and self-directed learning, placing the students at the centre of the learning experience. The lab incorporates personalisation in the form of an innovative learning loop, gamification elements, instant feedback, accessibility for the hearing impaired, providing a unique learning experience for students. Preliminary interviews with secondary school students and teachers showed positive aspects and benefits of the Atomic Structure Virtual Lab.