Virtual reality educational startup MEL Science has created 28 VR chemistry lessons that fit into the curricula of U.K. schools at various grade levels. Each lesson costs $10 on the Google Play store and is compatible with the Google Cardboard and Daydream devices. A one-year license is also available for schools, which costs $50 per device and unlocks a new mode that enables teachers to guide students through the experience.
MEL Science raised $2.5 million last year for its VR and AR chemistry kits. Its kits cost $50 per month on a subscription basis and come with a Google Cardboard. To get its lessons into classrooms, it’s partnering with RedBoxVR, a company that manufactures then distributes VR kits to schools. Schools that already have VR hardware can simply purchase a license or lessons.
“The biggest challenge for chemistry teachers is to visualise basic chemistry concepts,” said MEL Science founder Vassili Phillipov in a press release. “We believe that VR is a great tool to explain the things that cannot be seen.”
Supplementing traditional chemistry lessons with VR may be helpful because it could help students visualize concepts that may otherwise be abstract. For instance, some of MEL Science’s lessons enable users to zoom in and out of molecules, showing how different concepts relate to one another. Another tasks students with building their own atoms, actively participating in the lesson instead of perhaps just memorizing.
MEL Science isn’t the only company that believes new technology can enhance educational experiences. Google Expeditions features AR field trips to locations like the International Space Station and Antarctica. Stories of Tomorrow, a research and development group, uses AR and VR to show people what it’s like on Mars. More museums and art galleries are supplementing their collections with AR and VR, or even displaying AR-only exhibits. And the edtech company Labster raised a series A round of $10 million earlier this year biology, chemistry, and physics 3D simulations.