Chico State's 400 General Chemistry Students Get VR

Chico State University General Chemistry students have a leg up this semester when it comes to understanding Atomic Orbital Theory after taking part in an innovative educational program developed by SAMA Learning.

All of the Chico General Chemistry students, more than 400 in all, received their lesson on Atomic Orbital Theory this semester from inside a virtual reality headset. Inside that headset the students were able to learn about and interact with the concepts in new and novel ways. Students received an entire lesson, including lecture, were able to change the mathematic makeup of the atom and see the effect in real-time. They could even pick up the atom and look inside to see all of the critical components directly.  And, adding the VR lesson required almost no planning as professors were able to drop the SAMA lesson in right alongside their existing lesson plans.

Founder of SAMA Learning Dr. Christopher Tassone tells us that “Atomic Orbital Theory is traditionally taught using a whiteboard, a textbook and a lecture.  The concepts are difficult to grasp but our VR curriculum brings STEM subjects alive for the students.”  Dr. Tassone says further that “SAMA was founded to improve learning outcomes for all types of students and is seeing significant learning outcome improvements from schools like Chico.”

Enabling the entire chemistry class to experience VR is remarkable, but only the beginning.  Other institutions of higher learning will soon be using SAMA to teach Chemistry, Physics, Biology and Mathematics.

About:  SAMA’s goal is to make STEM more accessible and more appealing to a wider range of students regardless of their background and to improve the learning outcomes for students across the learning spectrum.  This will improve overall graduation rates and help fill a gap in STEM education and the STEM workforce.  At SAMA, we use technology to teach Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). Integrating VR content into students’ everyday experience and displacing outdated instructional materials has the potential to create a step change in the way STEM education is taught and ultimately the way students learn. SAMA’s general chemistry course was designed to bring chemistry to life, to enable students to interact with atomic orbitals directly, to easily associate the underlying math, and to improve their learning outcomes.   The results of this testing is delivering a significant improvement in learning.