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Monday, August 07, 2006

Back from BCCE

Here are some notes on the BCCE 06, the Biennial Conferences on Chemistry Education at Purdue last week:
  1. I gave two talks: one with Mark Ott on screencasting and podcasting chemistry courses and one on games specifically for organic chemistry.
  2. I attended the sessions that I could find related to podcasting in chemistry. Alan Kiste talked about using enhanced podcasts to supplement his organic chemistry class.
  3. Bob Hanson opened my eyes to the power of AJAX for chemistry. He had a demo where highlighting a word pulled up more info without having to reload the page. His first example was Google Suggest, where suggestions come up as the user types.
  4. Richard Zare gave a very entertaining Keynote talk about general ways to solve problems. He demonstrated all kinds of brain teasers, both chemical and general. His basic point was that people don't solve problems in an organized way and that is ok. Let the students feel comfortable with the messiness of thinking. I agree.
  5. I finally got to see a little demo of the First Person Shooter Critical Mass chemistry game (Gabriela Weaver). They used the gun to shoot some crates and to heat up a reactor. It will be interesting to play when they are done.
  6. Zangyuan Own showed some pretty impressive data about delivering chemistry courses customized for different kinds of Multiple Intelligences. Unfortunately, the material was only available in Mandarin. He was also handing out handsome decks of playing cards with a different element showcased on each card.

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