New online tool: The Atomsmith Classroom Online

A bit of background to serve as an introduction.

If you follow me on Twitter (@Thomsonscience) or read much from my blog here at ChemEd X: Thank you! And if you are in that category, you probably also know that I like using technology in my classroom to enhance the learning. I try to avoid using tech just to be using tech - but rather I hope to enhance and improve the classroom experience. 

Doug Ragan, a member of my Twitter PLN and a co-blogger here at ChemEd X, has inspired me over the years to experiment with resources such as the Atomic Dashboard, from Atomsmith Classroom. (Highlighted in a blogpost on ChemEd X) Based on this, and some Twitter interactions with Dave Doherty, I purchased the Molecule Lab App for my iPad. It's worth every penny of the current $9.99 price, in my opinion. I reviewed my use of the Molecule Lab App along with another online tool to help students understand Maxwell-Boltzmann energy distribution curves in a previous blogpost with an update here.

So enough background! In this Pick I would like to share a new product from Atomsmith, the Atomsmith Classroom Online. It's run in HTML 5, and thus no problems with Java, Flash, or any other system. Priced at $10.99/year for teacher access and $1.00/year per student, it is within reach of many school budgets. 

Along with many other features (given on a comparison page from Atomsmith), Atomsmith Classroom Online can be used for the following: 

  • 3-D Live Lab/Gas Lab (modeling both ideal and real gas behavior) 
  • Interactive 3-D Periodic Table (including properties such as atomic radius and ionization energy)
  • Molecular Modeling of countless compounds, including the ability to search PubChem
  • Within the molecular modeling, bond lengths and bond angles can be calculated anywhere within the molecule, and the 3-D Polar Surface can be shown, along with lines designating IMFs such as dispersion, dipole-dipole and hydrogen bonds. The model types include wireframe, stick, ball and stick, 3D Lewis Structures and Spacefill.
  • Electron Configuration Lab
  • Orbital Lab
  • Reaction Lab

There is an entire collection of activities and experiments provided that can be used to guide the students through a number of topics. One characteristic of Atomsmith that I've always admired is the interactive nature of the company. I've had many interactions through Twitter and email with Dave Doherty, and some of these have led to new features. For example, Atomsmith Classroom Online now includes a Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution option when looking at a group of molecules in the Live Lab. Below is a screenshot using a sample of 20 atoms of helium and 20 atoms of xenon, showing the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution of speeds after 100 picoseconds of simulation. The particles can also be labeled with their speeds, as shown here. That can get a bit crowded, but by pausing the simulation and moving the box around I was able to find the speed of each particle.



In summary, I think Atomsmith Classroom Online from Bitwixt is a phenomenal platform for enhancing the understanding of a variety of concepts in your chemistry classroom - and it should only get better as more features are added.


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