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1984 Fall Newsletter


Another small group consisting of representatives of each of the four subgroups prepared materials such as a suggested time schedule, checklists, forms, and sample flyer to assist presenters in the preparation and management of the workshops.
The package was tested by a second group of teachers who convened at Canterbury School in Connecticut immediately after the 8th Biennial Conference at Storrs. The details concerning the structure of these support packages are being finalized at this writing and will be described in the next issue of the Newsletter. What this all means, of course, is that the number of one day workshops for high school teachers will increase dramatically during the next year, as each participant has agreed to give at least two. To make sure things work, the scheduling of workshops will be divided between two coordinators representing, eastern and western states. These coordinators will be identified in the next Newsletter. If you are interested in hosting a workshop this year do not delay submitting a request. These worksheps are certainly one of the most important projects of the Committee, judging from the reception they have been receiving.
having considerable appeal at workshops and conferences on computers in chemistry. My own experience in this area is severely limited. There are obvious advantages to simultaneous data collection, processing and display. However, the development of software that makes all this possible for those of us who do not have the time or expertise to fashion our own has not proceeded at the same rate as the. "traditional applications such as CAI, drill-and-practice, simulations, etc. I do not believe this will be the case for long, as evidenced by discussions at EMU, Storrs and other conferences along with articles in the Newsletter concerning the ease with which one can interface and the potential applications of such techniques in the general chemistry lab at both the secondary and college level.
Early this summer, my interest in interfacing was greatly enhanced when I discovered the OHAUS "Brainweigh" BJOO, an electronic, top loading, centigram, digital display balance with 'an RS-232 interface. A software package is available for this instrument that makes it truly simple to display objects on an Apple driven monitor. Alternatively, a bar graph of the masses of a collection of up to 15 objects, or a time plot of changing mass can be displayed. Although I have not as yet had a chance to use the system in an actual teaching situation, there are many applications for a unit that can be set up quickly and that can measure a quantity that students can relate to immediately. For example, instead of talking about deliquecense or efflorescence, the change in mass can be shown dynamically by placing samples of appropriate substances on the balance. We can then explore questions such as "How will the growth decay curve change if we pulverize the material?" "Will twice as much get heavier twice as fast?" A sample of cotton can be soaked with different solvents and the rate of evaporation related to such factors as molecular weight, vapor pressure, etc. Conservation of mass demonstrations can be brought to life in a variety of ways.
The programs in the Ohaus software package are in BASIC, and unprotecteg, thereby making it easy to adapt them to different applications.
The hardware is not inexpensive - the balance costs $975, the supporting software package costs $155 and it is necessary to have a serial card and a real-time clock in your Apple to make it all work. But since the balance itself and all of these 'extras' have additional uses, justifying the expenditure may be a bit easier. In any event, I think there is a lot that can be done with this system. More specific information is available from Jack Gardner, OHAUS Scale Corp., Florham Park. NJ 07932, 1-800-526-0659.
I plan to devote a good bit of attention to exploring appropriate uses of this equipment during the coming academic year and I'd be delighted to receive suggestions from anyone about demonstrations and/or experiements in which continuous on-line processing of mass data would be useful.
Dr. Charles C. Torardi of the Central Research and Development Department, E.I. duPont daNemours & Co., Wilmington, DE 19898 submitted a graphics representation of a compound with which he has worked. The figure gives a view down the c axis of K2Mo8O16 (related to the mineral hollandite). Planar metal-metal bonded tetranuclear molybdenum atom clusters are present. In the figure, Mo-O bonds are represented by black solid lines and Mo-o bonds by open lines. Potassium ions occupy sites in channels that run parallel with the c axis.
The figure was obtained using the Oak Ridge Thermal Ellipsoid Program on a DEC 11/60 computer and a Hewlett-Packard 7221T plotter.
Earlier this year I was privileged to participate in two SERAPHIM sponsored events of significance orchestrated hy John Moore at Eastern Michigan University. Both were highly successful, being characterized by a constant exchange of ideas and intellectual ferment, producing feasible suggestions to accomplish specific tasks.
The first was the Powow in May where past, present and future roles of computers in chemical education were analyzed by a diverse and dynamic assemblage, representing a wide range of experiences and viewpoints, particularly in terms of just how far computers can and should be expected to permeate pedagogical pursuits. Altogether, about 40 chemistry educators, research chemists, computer programmers, learning theory experts, and representatives of computer related companies participated. Dick Cornelius sparked considerable discussion when he introduced "GEORGE" (as in "Let ** do itn) , a probiem-solver designed to take students a quantum leap beyond the pocket calculator. The hardware picture of today, tomorrow and the near future was presented by Bill Butler and Scott Owen emphasized the fact that what we do with machines in the next decade depends primarily on our imagination and our ability to define what it is we really want to accomplish in our classrooms. As Stan Smith put it, "The world is over-populated with programmers who know how to make machines do anything, but who don't know what they want them to do." A summary of the symposium on pages 34 and 35 of the June 25th issue of C&E News. Here it was reported that "Some of the recommendations fell into the 'pie in the sky' category, although computer technology has a history of bringing pie down to Earth, often in a surprisingly short time."' Numerous specific recommendations emerged from the three day session, some of which may be implemented even by the time you are reading this the CHYMNET conferencing network, for example. A more complete report will appear in the October issue of the Journal of Chemical Education (as computer series f55). 
The second event, during the week of June 24 was a rather unique affair designed expressly for fourteen high school chemistry teachers. Instead of setting the traditional goal of orienting the participants in the use of computers in teaching chemistry, this week long session aimed at training teachers to other teachers. The plan was to first define the optimum format and then develop appropriate materials to be used in conducting one day workshops of the type currently being cosponsored by the CCCE and SERAPHIM (see information elsewhere in this issue) .
The initial task to be accomplished involved prioritizing the multiplicity of topics which might be included in such a workshop. Ten possibilities were identified, discussed, and then rated with four topics clearly emerging as "essential":
I. Introduction to computers as instructional tools
II. Evaluation of software through hands-on experience
III. The use of computers in "support" roles such as word processing, spread sheets, etc.
IV. Computer/instrument interfacing
Recognizing that individually, any of the above could be the sole topic of a two or three day session, four subgroups were created to carefully analyze each topic and come up with a feasible approach for presenting it as only a segment of a one-day workshop. Once the approach was determined, handouts, software and other materials were assembled by each team to comprise a workshop "support package" to be provided to anyone who conducts a SERAPHIM-CCCE sponsored workshop.

Donald Rosenthal
Department of Chemistry, Clarkson University
Potsdam, NY 13676

Newsletter Articles

Abstracts of Papers

by Edward A. Feigenbaum and Pamela McCorduck
Addison-Wesley, 1983,288 p., $15.95
One Jacob Way, Readinq, MA 01867
ISBN 0-201-11519-0
Reviewed by Brian Pankuch*

by Peter Norton
Robert J. Brady Co., 1984, 250 p., $1 5.95
Routes 197 & 450, Bowie, MD 20715
Reviewed by Harry E .. Pence*

by Chris Devaney
Que Corporation, 1984, 330 p., $12.96
7960 Castleway Drive
Indianapolis, IN 46250
Reviewed by Harry E. Pence*