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2013. Vol.4, No.4, 241-247
Published Online April 2013 in SciRes (http://www.scirp.org/journal/ce) DOI:10.4236/ce.2013.44035
The Application and Perspective of Multimedia Technology in
Chemistry Experimental Instruction in China
Dimei Chen1, Xia Chen2, Wenxia Gao1
1College of Chem is try and Material Engineering , Wenzhou University, Wenzhou, China
2Yuhuan Middle School, Taizhou, China
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org , email@example.com
Received January 26th, 2013; revised February 28th, 2013; accepted March 14th, 2013
Copyright © 2013 Dimei Chen et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons At-
tribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the
original work is properly cited.
The paper elaborates the features and superiority of applying multimedia technology to chemistry ex-
periment instruction in details, and introduces the practical application of multimedia technology in dem-
onstration experiment. The application of multimedia technology in chemistry experimental instruction
has its own features, namely enjoyment, great information capacity, sharing network, easy operation and
flexibility. The paper concludes the superiority of applying multimedia technology to the chemistry ex-
periment instruction from nine perspectives. Meanwhile, the paper elaborates its disadvantages. Simulated
experiments cannot take place of real experiments. The relationship among teachers, students and multi-
media needs to be dealt with properly, and the multimedia courseware should be scientific. Prospective
forecast of multimedia technology in chemistry experimental instruction is also demonstrated.
Keywords: Multimedia Technology; Chemistry Experiment; Instrument; Simulation
Multimedia technology used in traditional chemistry teaching
was the integration of modern information technology and
chemistry instruction. Meanwhile, it is an essential symbol of
achieving educational informatization, and is an important ap-
proach to improve chemistry experimental teaching. Applica-
tion of multimedia technology to traditional chemistry experi-
ment has the advantage of establishing valid teaching scenario
and stirring up the interest, which leads students’ thought and
improves the development of students’ scientific literacy. There
is no doubt that the integration of multimedia technology and
teaching is a new trend and is a very effective way to develop
students’ self-study ability. However, we cannot simply apply
multimedia technology to teach chemistry experiment. The
information technology era promoted the development of edu-
cation. The application of multimedia technology started in
early 1980s in China and great progress has been made.
Characteristics of the Application of
Multimedia Technology in Chemistry
Multimedia technology provides a good personal learning
environment. Softwares are developed with the interactive
digital technology to be used in both instruction and self-study
(Huang, 2007). We can simulate experimental phenomena and
wrong operations to improve students’ understanding of ex-
perimental phenomena and results and cultivate their intellec-
tual capacity and passion for experiment in the game-like envi-
ronment (Ma & Ran, 2008). The application of multimedia
technology in chemistry experimental instruction has its own
Enjoyment (Yan, Yu, & Sun, 2005)
Multimedia technology can stimulate students’ interest in
chemistry by showing animation, pictures and sound. So the
atmosphere of the classroom is activated to help students gain
Great Information Capacity
Using multimedia technology in teaching can save a lot of
time in blackboard-writing. This kind of teaching model can
impart amount of chemistry knowledge to students in regular
class time. It also has good effect upon students’ acceptance of
With the development of Internet technology and informa-
tion technology, it’s universal for teachers and students to share
resources on the internet. If the computer network and teaching
software can be used reasonably, excellent teaching production
can be shared by teachers and students all over the world (He,
2007), the long-distance education and autonomous learning
will also come true (Wang, 2008). Therefore, students can learn
online at any time, and they don’t have to be limited by the
forty-five minutes in classes.
With the teacher’s development of skills in the use of com-
puters, the ability of using multimedia courseware also gets
Copyright © 2013 SciRe s . 241
D. M. CHEN ET AL.
improved day by day. Technologies such as flash animation,
digital pictures and digital cameras have been applied widely in
multimedia c o urseware.
Multimedia courseware relates to theoretical knowledge with
practice by taking video and photos and so on. To some degree,
it provides an effective way for students to master professional
knowledge and skills.
The Situation of the Application of
Multimedia Technology in Chemistry
Enhancing Visibility and Improving Experiment
As we all know, some reaction speed of experiments is too
fast to observe the phenomena. For example, the reaction be-
tween H2 and Cl2 on condition of illumination is instant, so it’s
difficult for students to catch the process and phenomenon,
while some other experiment reaction is so slow that the phe-
nomenon is not obvious, such as polysaccharide hydrolysis and
esters hydrolysis. Therefore, students always fail to get the
expected effect leading to students’ low passion for chemistry
learning. In order to overcome the disadvantage, we can slow
down experiments that react fast on the big screen by video
projector, so that students can observe details of experiment
process, oppositely, the slow reaction experiment can be ad-
justed and controlled to make the reaction fast and enhance the
Showing Micro Experiment
Chemistry is a branch of science researching on constitutes
property and regularity of substance in nature. Therefore, the
subjects of chemistry research are mainly about microstructures
of materials, the motion and change of particles, reaction prin-
ciple and process of chemistry. We cannot see the micro-
structure and micro-particle with our naked eyes. The essence
of chemical change is the recombination of primary atoms by
chemical bonds formation and break. These contents are so
abstract that it’s hard for students to understand. To solve the
problem, we can turn to multimedia courseware made by Mul-
timedia animation and three-dimensional pictures for help, by
which the microstructures, micro-particles and processes of
chemical changes can be vividly demonstrated. The multimedia
technology can offset the shortage that chemistry experiment
cannot show the dynamic change in the microscopic world. For
example, the three-dimension animation can be applied to
simulate the structure and process of bond formation. What’s
more, different atoms can be represented by different color
balls, and the scale of the ball represents the outermost electron.
So the formation of ionic compounds and covalent compound
can be simulated clearly. For another example, the three-di-
mension animation and pictures can be applied to show the
rotation, motion and scale of crystal space structure and its
stretch. Moreover, the direction of election current and cation-
anionic in primary battery can be magnified by the three-di-
mension animation and pictures.
Analyzing the formation and break of bond in the molecular
structure is the key point in organic reaction process. Applica-
tion of multimedia technology in organic reaction process will
make its effect much better. The formation and break process of
chemical bonds can be shown visually and clearly by multime-
dia animation. For instance, the peptide formation process of
amino acids can be designed into animation form. When two
amino acids meet the covalent bond between carbon and hy-
droxyl group breaks into two free groups in one amino acid, at
the same time, the covalent bond between nitrogen and hydro-
gen breaks into two free groups in the other amino acid, and
then the four free groups are rearranged to form a dipeptide and
a water molecule.
Showing Toxic and Pollutional Experiments,
Making Experiments Clean
There are some toxic substances involved in some chemistry
experiments, such as potassium cyanide, sodium nitrite, ben-
zene and carbon monoxide. There are also some toxic gas pro-
duced in some experiments, such as cyanic acid and sulfur di-
oxide. There may be some waste water, exhaust fumes and
solid waste in the process of experiment. This kind of experi-
ment can produce large volumes of gas, leading to environment
pollution and harming the health of teachers and students. It’s a
good way that students can do the experiment by computer. In
this way, students can master experimental method easily and
the experiments are also cleaner. Meanwhile, it can enhance
students’ environmental awareness and set up concept of green
Simulating Wrong Operations, Showing Inflammable
and Explosive Experiments to Make Experiment Safe
There’s no doubt that it’s dangerous for students to perform
inflammable and explosive experiments in the lab. Meanwhile,
demonstrating such dangerous experiments is also not suitable.
The multimedia technology can deal with this problem. The
inflammable and explosive experiment can be done with the
help of the application of multimedia technology, which keeps
students and teachers safe. The wrong operation can be shown
on computer by video technology. For example, students can
simulate adding water to dilute concentrated sulfuric acid dur-
ing the experiment of dilution of sulfuric acid. As a result, the
sulfuric acid solution splashes around. As another example,
after finishing the process of producing hydrogen experiment
with the device of gas generator explodes as soon as students
ignite the new produced hydrogen without testing its purity.
Student can experience dangers that wrong operation brings,
which enhances the awareness of danger and help student mas-
ter the correct steps of experiment, and more attention will be
paid to wrong operation in the experiment.
Materialization and Visualization of
It’s good to review theoretical knowledge related to experi-
ment before entering the lab. This helps students understand
principles, purposes and methods of an experiment. But it’s
hard for students to understand them when teachers just narrate
the theoretical knowledge (Wang & Liu, 2010). Students can
finish the experiment successfully based on solid theoretical
knowledge which can be shown by projector, such as molecular
structure, orbital shapes and crystal structure. To some extent,
three-dimensional figure is much better than chemistry model
for solving these chemistry problems.
Copyright © 2013 SciRe s .
D. M. CHEN ET AL.
Copyright © 2013 SciRe s . 243
Chemistry model can be made by some map-making soft-
ware, such as AutoCAD, flash, 3Dmax, ChemDraw and
Chem3D. For example, when illustrating production principle
of chlorine in class, The method of combining overall cognition
and part analysis was applied in the teaching process, with the
help of simulation experiment. First, a series of questions arise
from presenting pictures of sea, such as what sea water tastes
like, what is contained in the vast sea, and what the edible salt
eaten in daily life is made from. Second, the industrial method
of making chlorine is introduced to the students by explaining
from electrolysis of water to the electrolysis of saturated salt
solution. Finally, the chlorine preparation experiment is simu-
lated by the Jinhuake simulation chemistry software. In this
process, students’ mind was inspired by Q&A. On one hand,
from the point of our daily life, it prevents poisonous gas from
polluting the Earth. On the other hand, simulation experiment is
a good way for improving economic performance, especially
for cost-saving chemicals. Stick model of methylbenzene can
be made by software of Jinhuake simulation chemistry lab (as
shown in Figure 1). How to get started using Jinhuake simula-
tion chemistry is important to teachers when making molecular
models, Jinhuake simulation chemistry, made in China, is a
kind of software for middle school chemistry instruction. The
software includes three modules of simulation chemistry lab,
three-dimensional molecular model and chemistry encyclopedia.
The steps of making stick model of methylbenzene are as fol-
After the three modules of simulation chemistry lab are re-
moted, the first step is to choose the benzenoid the red arrow
points to from the toolbar on the left. The ball-and-stick model
of benzene is shown on the interface (as shown in Figure 2). In
order to get methylbenzene, it needs to choose one of the hy-
drogen atoms of benzene to substitute methyl group for hydro-
gen atom, and the hydrogen atom turns white (as shown in Fig-
ure 3). After that, the ball-and-stick model of methylbenzene is
shown on the interface (as shown in Figure 4). In addition, the
three-dimensional space distribution of ball-and-stick model of
methylbenzene can be shown by rotating it, one of the shape of
ball-and-stick model of methylbenzene is shown on the inter-
face (as shown in Figure 5). What’s more, it’s convenient to
view the animation of its three-dimensional space by recording
animation and the shape of ball-and-stick model of methylben-
zene can be saved easily (as shown in Figure 6).
The three-dimensional animation of sp3 hybrid orbit can be
shown vividly. It can be rotated optionally. When relating to
structure isomeride in class, teachers can assemble and disas-
semble the molecular structure, and the scale of molecular
structure can be changed with the application of map-making
software (Liu, Jiang, & Xu, 2003). Moreover, the model made
by map-making software can be reapplied in class instead of
actual model again and again, which can save costs (Wang &
Zeng, 2006). The invisible substance in process of experiment
can be visible in simulation, and some experiments that cannot
be observed directly have become true. This kind of software
makes it come true while other media cannot (Chen, 2008).
Schools place emphasis on develo pin g students’ comprehensive
Interface of Jinhuake simulation chemistry lab.
Ball-and-stick model of benzene.
D. M. CHEN ET AL.
Substitud methyl group for hydrogen.
Ball-and-stick model of methylbenzene.
Another shape of methylbenzene.
Copyright © 2013 SciRe s .
D. M. CHEN ET AL.
Copyright © 2013 SciRe s . 245
The interface of saving.
experiment ability by reforming chemistry experiment. The
number of exploring experiment has increased while the num-
ber of verification experiment has been cut down. In order to
make up for the shortage of verification experiment, some im-
portant verification experiment can be recorded by video cam-
era, such as properties experiment of ethylalcohol and phenol
(Wang, 2006). The advantage of video camera is that it can
help students understand the properties of substance completely.
According to teaching and research, it achieved good teaching
Showing Instrumental Analysis Experiment,
Alleviating Instrument Shortage
Lacking instrument in instrumental analysis experiment has
been a big problem in the middle schools of China, especially
in rural schools. The speed of upgrading products is quite low.
Class size is large in China. Multimedia teaching software can
be applied to instrumental analysis experiment. Students can
master elementary principles and operating procedure by means
of simulating instrumental analysis experiment on computer
(Zhang, Zhang, & Luo, 2003). Familiar with the instrument,
students can accomplish experiments quickly. It’s also good for
the maintenance of instrument.
Showing Large Scale Experiment and
Constrained by conditions, time and space, it’s hard to show
large-scale and complicated technological process, such as
industrial production of sulfuric acid, ammonia and synthetic
rubber. We can simulate the process by multimedia technology.
The internal structures of equipments, the liquid status and the
principle of experiments can be imitated vividly by two-di-
mensional and three-dimensional animation. Students can mas-
ter the operation method vicariously and know how to deal with
accidents often occurred in practice.
Operation Skills Practice and Reinforcing the
Regularity of Students’ Basic Operation
As we all know, basic operations is one of the most impor-
tant experimental contents. Students get the skills of basic op-
erations in class with the help of teachers demonstrating the
operation in details. However, not everyone can clearly grasp it,
especially for those difficult and complex experiments, because
of the large number of students and their different positions in
class. It takes much time and effort for teachers to demonstrate
these experiments satisfactorily. In order to avoid these prob-
lems, teachers can show the basic operations with video tech-
nology, such as clearing and assembling laboratory glassware
and weighing with analytical balance.
Assisting Experiment Design, Developing Students’
Doing experiment has a positive influence on students’ sci-
entific cultivation and qualities. Students can design experi-
ments by themselves in simulation laboratory. Different ex-
periment schemes can be designed to solve problems with the
help of computer multimedia technology, and updated when
errors occur. There are many experiment equipments worthy of
being designed, such as designing equipment of gas production,
impurity removing gas and drying gas. The multimedia tech-
D. M. CHEN ET AL.
nology is available when funds limit materials to conduct live
experiments. This is a problem that exists in many regions of
the world, including schools in the US. The wrong operation
can also be corrected by suggestion to improve students’ ability
of experimental design. Students can repeat experiments many
times without considering the limitation of instrument and
Issues about the Application of
Multimedia Technology in Chemistry
Real Experiments Cannot Be Replaced
Chemistry is an experimental science. It arouses the students’
study interests and cultivates their practical abilities. Simulation
laboratory is economical, simple and safe. However, it only
makes students know rather than do experiments. Simulation
laboratory is a kind of ideal model in which students cannot
experience failure, and there is little chance to think and ana-
lyze causes of failure. Therefore, we should consider simulation
laboratory an extension and supplement to real experiments.
Properly Dealing with the Relationship
among Teachers, Students and Multimedia
The traditional chemistry teaching is a kind of teaching mode
which takes books as the carrier, and teachers as the center,
where teachers’ interpretation and students’ attending the lec-
ture and practice are the main activities. Teachers play an im-
portant role as organizer, helper and promoter. Students are
active constructors of knowledge in classes. The task of multi-
media is creating study environment and arousing students’
study motivation. It is a cognitive tool for students to actively
learn and explore (Zhao & Zhu, 2008). Multimedia technology
should be used reasonably in accord with students’ cognitive
ability. And it can inspire the students’ studying interest and
innovation consciousness when properly designed. If the posi-
tion and function of all elements of teaching can be located, we
will make good use of multimedia.
Making Multimedia Courseware Scientific
Whether the courseware is scientific or not is an important
parameter for the courseware evaluation. Scenarios simulation
not only creates a lively atmosphere but also promotes the de-
velopment of teaching from static state description to dynamic
description (Zhao & Yu, 2006). Simulation laboratory is used
based on experimental facts, but it cannot take the place of
experimental practice (Ren, 2002). The purpose of courseware
is to impart knowledge, which can be mastered well by students.
So it’s quite necessary to make sure that the content is correct.
There is no mistake in the respect of knowledge, or it brings
negative effects on teaching.
Prospective Forecast of Multimedia
Technology in Chemistry Experimental
Instruction in China
Developing towards Intelligent Direction
Artificial intelligence is developing rapidly and it can be ap-
plied widely to education. A computer acts as a teacher by in-
teractive question-and-answer in a new environment of learning.
Students are encouraged ask questions as many as possible.
What’s more, artificial intelligence can judge the results of a
test and correct it instantly. According to students’ learning
style, the computer can adjust teaching strategies to control the
teaching process to meet students’ learning demand. However,
it’s really rare for artificial intelligent technology to apply in
chemistry instruction in China. It is still in development there is
no doubt that it will be a hot spot in the field of multimedia
technology soon (Hu, 2002).
Developing towards E-Learning System
Students are regarded as active constructors of knowledge in
e-learning system, it’s free for them to choose contents and gain
abundant study materials and convenient to consult teachers
online. Tele-collaborative learning comes true finally. Com-
puter Assisted Instruction (for short CAI) will be one of the
most important developing directions, especially for the web-
based research studying.
Applying Virtual Reality Technology to Teaching
At present, virtual physical laboratory and virtual chemistry
laboratory have been developed in foreign countries. Virtual
reality is an interactive artificial environment. Users communi-
cate with each other by visions, sounds and touch on computer.
And they feel and experience what they’re going through with
helmet, data gloves, data glasses, and three-dimensional mouse
in such an interactive artificial environment. By operating ex-
periments, users acquire the knowledge and skills and achieve
goals beyond traditional teaching. Virtual reality will be applied
in the middle school class in China in the near future.
As a modern teaching technology, multimedia techniques can
bridge the gap of traditional chemistry experiment teaching
model. The application of multimedia techniques in chemistry
experiment has not only changed traditional teaching mode, but
also improved teaching efficiency. Once Multimedia Technol-
ogy is used in “traditional chemistry teaching”, the teaching
will show advantages of Multimedia Technology teaching as
well as traditional teaching. Multimedia technology can push
the innovation of school teaching and can develop towards the
direction of science and modernization. It becomes more ac-
ceptable and offers a solution for shrinking equipment budget,
which is a challenge that many schools are facing. However,
the importance of traditional chemistry teaching can not be
ignored. It should be emphasized that computer-assisted in-
struction cannot take the place of real experiment though it is a
good method in teaching. The application of multimedia tech-
nology in chemistry experimental instruction is unreasonable
and defective in China. However, computer assisted instruction
of multimedia technology in China has a bright future for de-
velopment. It’s an important subject for further research on how
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