1 Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg (GERMANY)
2 German Centre for Higher Education Research and Science Studies (GERMANY)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN22 Proceedings
Publication year: 2022
Pages: 2358-2364
ISBN: 978-84-09-42484-9
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2022.0612
Conference name: 14th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2022
Location: Palma, Spain
A decline of students of engineering sciences, including computer science, is observed at German colleges and universities. [1] This development is influenced by demographic change as well as the Covid-19 pandemic and all related difficulties, especially for international students studying in Germany. Hence, it is an important task to motivate potential new students for academic education. The urgency is reinforced by the goal to achieve deep decarbonization by the year 2050, which will be one of the major tasks for today's young academics. [2].

In this context, new methods for attracting young people are coming into focus. For example, interactive apps can be used to teach engineering basics in an interactive and easily understandable way and, thus, create curiosity for such topics. Most young people are already familiar with the use of apps, which means the basis of acceptance is already existing and new content can be learned intuitively. Already 90% of children like to acquire knowledge via digital devices. [3] Individualized learning with the help of apps enables the users to grasp a topic independently at their own pace and simplifies the visualization of complex and abstract content, which is especially useful in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) field.

With the app presented in this study, students can explore topics such as technology, chemistry, energy, sustainability and mechanics in a hands-on way. Our app introduces an invention by the German chemist M. Honigmann from the 19th century, the soda locomotive. [4] This locomotion was driven by saturated steam, which was generated by hot soda. The process is selected for the application because it combines a fundamental process engineering technology, with relevance for sustainable energy storage in our century and with the mysterious history of this invention. A locomotive driver accompanies the users and explains the principles of operation. As a method of gamification, the user of the app has to ensure that the locomotive can be put into a working state. This teaches the basics of a procedural process. The illustrations in the app are reduced to the essential parts to simplify the process of understanding correlated principles. At the same time, this is intended to awake interest and to encourage further topic-related questions by the users. The goal of this app is to reach people with creative ideas and to draw attention to the possibilities to learn to develop sustainable processes and technologies for the future. [5]

[1] Statistisches Bundesamt, Destatis, Studienanfänger/-innen im 1. Hochschulsemester nach Fächergruppen, 2021,, 08.01.2022
[2] European Union, Regulation (EU) 2021/1119 of the European parliament and the council of 30 June 2021 establishing the framework for achieving climate neutrality and amending Regulations (EC) No 401/2009 and (EU) 2018/1999 (‘European Climate Law’), 2021
[3] M. Bende, Verlage der Zukunft, Lernapps - Fluch oder Segen?, 2014,, 15.01.2022
[4] C. Mähr, Vergessene Erfindungen - Geniale Ideen und was aus ihnen wurde, dumont, 2015
[5] R. Weber, B. Fumey, C. Moser, L. Baldini, „TRNSYS Simulation of a sodium hydroxide Sorption Storage System”, In: Proceedings of the SOLARIS Conference, London/ UK, 2017
Unity, App, Animation, Higher Education, Process Engineering.