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Using Technology to Solve the Conceptual Riddle: "How can we help them see what we see."


Jimmy Reeves1, Gabriela Weaver2

1University of North Carolina at Wilmington

2University of Colorado at Denver.

05/16/00 to 05/18/00

The revolution in technology that is sweeping our educational world promises to revolutionize our ability to show our students the mental images that exist in our minds as we teach chemistry. Videos and live demonstrations provide substance to our verbal descriptions of chemical processes such as precipitation and combustion, and animations let our students visualize our microscopic models of why these processes proceed as they do. Technology also provides the tools to create interactive activities (simulations) illustrating the fundamental concepts that underlie the myriad of algorithmic exercises our students encounter in the course of learning chemistry. For these resources to be effective, their development must be informed by research, and guided by experience and an understanding of technology's possibilities and limitations. 

In this paper, we will review some of the research findings pertinent to using technology to teach chemistry, and provide examples of videos, animations and simulations developed with these findings in mind. We will also address the question of how high quality teaching materials can be widely disseminated and easily incorporated into existing general chemistry courses, and provide some models for how technology can be integrated into the teaching rubric.