The integration of augmented and virtual reality in cell biology courses as a pedagogical innovation in the training of life and earth sciences teachers
Keywords:augmented reality, virtual reality, cell biology, pre-service teachers, life and earth sciences
Teaching and learning using mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones has become a trend. Learners can use mixed reality technologies including augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) which are promising tools for science education. Augmented reality allows the user to see a combination of the real world and virtual objects, while virtual reality generates a virtual environment in which the user feels like in the real world. Several studies have focused on the contribution of AR/VR in different fields of education and have shown that this technology positively affects learners' motivation, promotes their self-learning, and can improve their academic performance. Our study was designed to investigate the contribution of activities integrating augmented and virtual reality in cell biology courses, on the learning and motivation of Moroccan pre-service teachers of life and earth sciences. We adopted a semi-experimental approach using a pre-test and a post-test with two groups. The pre-service teachers in the experimental group (n= 30) took the courses using AR/VR materials and tools, while the pre-service teachers in the control group (n=30) took the same courses using only traditional tools and materials. The results of the pre-test and post-test showed a statistically significant difference in the post-test in favour of the pre-service teachers of the experimental group who, in addition to the improvement in their test scores, expressed high motivation during the different training courses.