Many a budding chemical career never made it past the classroom: The reasons were plenty, sometimes as simple as a lack of teaching materials or a lack of time for experiments. In 2011, the specialty chemicals company Evonik introduced a third dimension in chemical education, the Evonik cyber-classroom. Now, at the Science Centre World Summit (SCWS) in Tokyo, the chemicals company from Essen has gone one step further and the cyber classroom no longer requires a separate IT system. This means that three-dimensional chemical education is now available online for schools who wish to use it. And there’s more: Teachers, students, and scientists are invited to participate in designing their chemical education.
The world is three-dimensional, and chemistry is too. In recent years, all students who received instruction in a cyber classroom were able to see this for themselves: Observing molecules and atoms from all sides, viewing complex experiment set-ups with chemical substances quickly and at no risk. Evonik has provided a new dimension in chemistry class. With the new Cyber Classroom 2.0 which Evonik presented in Tokyo, this option is now open not only to schools but interested parties are also invited to shape the content themselves.
Markus König, project leader at Evonik, said at the SCWS: “In the past, the principal hurdles were of a technical nature but now, the task is to generate three-dimensional content for every online-capable platform.” He emphasized that this work step can be carried out easily and intuitively using any internet connection.
And the idea behind it: “Capitalizing on the wealth of knowledge available in the world” – as has already been done in the topical projects supported by Evonik during the past five years: Specialist teachers, specialists from the chemistry sector, and students work together. The new platform enables online collaboration on projects and creation of digital educational content. This allows the users to become participants and co-developers – thus enabling them to acquire digital media competency.
The formula is referred to as “CyberDevTool” – which stands for Cyber-Classroom Development Tool. Technical support for the project is provided by Imsimity GmbH, the inventor of the award-winning cyber classroom. Access is via standard technology such as conventional 3-D monitors or VR glasses and games console controllers - therefore not only suitable for the classroom but also for individual use on home computers.
Evonik will provide this learning platform worldwide as part of its commitment at selected sites to ensure more fun in the natural sciences at the company’s partner schools. Markus König encouraged the participants at SCWS2017 to use their personal, free-of-charge access code from the Evonik “developer set” to help shape new topics.
Evonik itself is planning to apply this technology in the areas of research and development, marketing and sales, and education and further training.
The Science Centre World Summit is a global meeting of employees from scientific centers, museums, universities and research institutes, and representatives of governments, industry, international institutes, non-government organizations, non-profit organizations, and the media. It takes place every three years. Approximately 500 participants from 50 countries attend.