Thursday, May 26, 2011

Outline Jan's edu-seminar: Using simulation and visualization in chemical education

Here are the main points of my seminar which I give tomorrow:

Chemistry deals with complicated three-dimensional structures and the complex motion of many particles, both of which are usually reduced to static two-dimensional structures on blackboards and Power Point Slides when teaching.  This is one of the things that makes chemistry a "difficult subject".  In the talk I show some examples (listed below) of how this can be overcome using three free software packages called Jmol, Molecular Workbench, and ChemDoodle Web Components.

I discuss four ways of using simulation and visualization when teaching chemistry:

1. Make an e-resource page (for example on Absalon) with links to simulations or visualizations you find on the web.  Examples: the DGU site and Jean Claude Bradley's page.
Try Googling "jmol and xxx" where xx is your topic of interest, such as "inorganic chemistry" or "chirality".  Or look through the library of simulations that come with Molecular Workbench.

2. Use them in lecture. Examples: illustrating energy states and molgrabberOther examples in physical chemistry.

3. Use them in peer instruction.  Examples: cyclohexane and illustrating entropy. See more examples hereSee two videos on peer instruction here.
I use Polleverywhere.com for voting.  It is free for 30 or less students.  I have bought a 1-year license for larger courses.  If anyone at KIKU or COMS wants to use it, contact me for login instructions.

4. On-line quizz or practice pages.  Examples: cyclohexane, chirality, and molgrabber.

If someone in KIKU or COMS is interested in pursuing some of this further, please contact me.  We have money to hire student helpers.
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