computer-based learning

Four Things I Learned on the Path to the Right Online Learning Platform

Edmodo, Coursesites, Schoology…which digital learning platform is best for you? I’ve been searching for the right, free fit for me for the last three years. My journey has taken me from Edmodo to Coursesites to Schoology. I learned four valuable lessons about myself along the way that may help you make your own decision.

A Thing for Chairs!

Over the past two years, I have immersed myself in designing mobile games for organic chemistry: founding a company called Alchemie and building a team to develop these games. The first of our games is called Chairs! (The exclamation point comes from the fact that an app called Chairs already existed in the AppStore.) The game Chairs! is what we call our proof-of-concept. Folks were a bit incredulous when we told them we design games that make learning organic chemistry intuitive and fun. 

Representing the Macroscopic, Particulate, Symbolic, & Real World Representations of Chemical Reactions.

 Last year while attending the Biennial Conference on Chemical Education at GVSU I had the opportunity to hear a talk that showed a video of a chemical demonstration showing the burning of magnesium metal.  We have all seen many of these videos (thank you YouTube) and probably have performed this demo for our own students many times.  During the video it may have been represented with a chemical equation followed by the students being asked to balance the equation or maybe even predict the products.  Although the use of video including the showing of the equation nicely represents the macroscopic and symbolic representation, what was so unique about this particular video is that it also included the particulate representation embedded on top of the video of the demo.  This was the first time I had seen the particulate level representation done like that and so I was intrigued in wanting to find more of these representations.  

New Year, New Format

Happy New Year! For many, the beginning of a new year involves creating resolutions. And, hopefully not quitting them! Something I have resolved to do is modify the presentation and submission of lab reports.

Build a Boat Collaboration

I want to learn more about the modeling approach to teaching chemistry, but have not yet found the time to attend training. It seems like modeling would be the next logical step after the flipped classroom method of instruction that I have used for the last four years. My goal in using modeling is to continue to move from a teacher centered classroom to an environment wherein students take on true ownership of their own learning. As luck would have it, I met some experienced modelers at a Biennial Conference on Chemical Education 2014 (BCCE 2014) Birds-of-a-Feather lunchtime chat and got to pick the brain of Erica Posthuma-Adams, and others, regarding this instructional approach. Their passion for modeling was clear and their willingness to share effective strategies for building a classroom around modeling was most appreciated.

Flipped Learning Questions

I am preparing to teach a "blended" chemistry course this fall and I admit that I am a little nervous. Students will be expected to access some of the course material outside of class. It will be very important that students preview materials and complete assignments.