Dr Lesley Howell and the QMUL team are the winners of the LearnSci Teaching Innovation Awards.
Dr. Lesley Howell and the team from QMUL have won the LearnSci Teaching Innovation Award for their use of mixed reality technology in undergraduate labs.
When the pandemic hit, the practical chemistry team were tasked with identifying innovative and novel approaches for the delivery of practical chemistry. Furthermore, it was imperative that approaches were inclusive ensuring international students/those shielding were able to participate. Aware of the challenges these students faced, we became interested in the application of mixed reality for delivering practical chemistry and purchased a Microsoft HoloLens2. The headset is worn by an academic and enables students to view what the academic sees. This is aided by holograms/interactive features. A second academic facilitates Q&A, monitors chat and runs Mentimeter quizzes. We adopted a “Blue- Peter” style approach to the set-up with experiments prepared at different stages to reduce downtime, enabling more skills to be covered in a shorter session time. Although initially its use was intended for a small cohort, following the announcement of another lockdown in January 2021, we rolled out this innovative and creative approach to all Y1/Y2 students. To the best of our knowledge, we were the only department to employ mixed reality during this time to deliver practical chemistry classes.