“We would like to contribute to better education. We strongly believe that how we learn is just as important as what we learn.” – Amra Buljubasic, Chemicalium
When it comes to students’ favorite subjects, Chemistry isn’t usually at the top of the list. But with the all-important focus on STEM skills, its importance is growing. So, where should we turn to make this notoriously dry subject more lively? Students at Imagine Cup World Finals, of course!
Hailing from Bosnia Herzegovina, Innovation category finalist and winner of Avanade People’s Choice Award, Chemicalium blended a love of both science and technology and created something extraordinary: a mobile app for elementary and high-school students that teaches chemistry…and it’s fun. The team, made up of students Amra Buljubasic, Ema Begulic, Hamza Subljakovic and Samir Supcic, along with their mentor Mohamed El-Zayat, “strongly believe in playful learning,” says Buljubasic. “We wanted chidren to enjoy it (chemistry) because they are natural scientists. They are curious about everything.”
With Chemicalium, each phone represents one element. By using Near Field Communication (NFC) technology and the “tap+send” feature of Windows Phones, students can create compounds by sending an element from one phone to another. Once a compound is formed in the phone, the user sends the compound to check if it exists in the compounds database. If the compound doesn’t exist in the database, an algorithm will start combining the elements based on the Valence shell electron pair repulsion (VSEPR) algorithm.
It may sound a bit complex, but it’s really quite simple in action. This great video the team created shows that Chemicalium appeals to younger students, high school students, and even teachers.
One of the things that impressed me about Chemicalium is how the team embraced differences, and turned them into strengths. Turns out, embracing differences is core to their mission. “We are all very different so we contributed to this project with different ideas, and that’s what made it very rich,” says Buljubasic. “We think that’s why we’ve succeed.”
It was a pleasure to speak with these incredible young people during today’s Daily Edventure. Please join me in congratulating Chemicalium on their fantastic showing at the 2014 Imagine Cup, and undoubtedly, on a future of success.