Other Technology

Test Their Understanding

When they come in I give a very simple quiz which we do using clickers, the sort of anonymous audience response systems, and I just test a few multiple choice questions, just testing their understanding of some of those terms and then when I notice that there’s, well, anything more than 10 or 15% of students who don’t correctly understand those terms then we go through a process of exploring what those terms are and why they apply to what they apply to and then I retest that a couple of weeks later....

Use the Visualiser

It now does come down to the quality of the presentation in terms of what you put on the PowerPoint I suppose, cos we all use PowerPoint.  But I try most lectures to switch that off and use the visualiser and write things down by hand, where I can see that something is missing on the PowerPoint, or if I think the students haven’t got a particular message, don’t understand a reaction, don’t know about a mechanism. I’m happy to stop, go to the visualiser and write it down at the correct sort of pace, by which they can actually write it down themselves.

Zinc in Copper Sulphate Demonstration

Put zinc metal in copper sulphate solution and record it with the visualiser. Have it running as you talk about the push and pull of electrons. Then bring it up and say, ‘look what’s happened here, the zinc has rusted’. Students make more of a link when they see things being visualised. The oxidation of metal has a very visual impact on them. But then, they might forget about the reduction side, so you need to remind them of it.

Link to YouTube Video: Copper Sulfate + Zinc

Use Both PowerPoint and Visualiser

Use two screens in a lecture and then turn one off and go to the visualiser and spend time on the visualiser drawing things or solving problems or writing something. And at that point the class becomes engaged. So when you’re using PowerPoint, unless you’re really good with it, they’ll disengage. If you start writing and drawing structures and things on the visualiser, they start doing it and then it becomes much more interactive - they’re working from the visualiser then they’re back to the PowerPoint and then back to the visualiser again.


Use the visualiser for problems.

Clicker Questions

Use clicker questions in a lecture. Use multiple choice questions and you can see the class distribution, that is, what percentage of students got it right. If a lot of them don’t get it right, go through it again. That really helps to get the feedback from students about their understanding. Use it for other topics as well but this will be one topic to use it for in a big class.

Reaction Simulations

Illustrate using technology – for example, simulations to show the particles involved in reactions.

Link to YouTube Video: Five Major Chemical Reactions


Using clickers, put up say four ideas, and say, who thinks A and who thinks B, C, D. Now in the groups they need to defend their answer, and to talk about it. That way you get the feedback but you don’t have to say Bill, Mary, Jim, Jack, what do you think? You can get them to click their answers.

Link to Peer Instruction Blog

Problem Breaks With Discussion

Make the students think about the ideas themselves. Have them talk amongst themselves about it. If there’s too much lecturer in the lecture it just washes over them after five to ten minutes. They need to have a break, think about the problems, do a couple of problems and talk amongst themselves. That seems to keep them engaged, especially with the variety of students in the class. It keeps their attention. Lecture for five or ten minutes and use work sheets, which they pick up as they come in.

Worksheets, Discussion and Responses

Lecture for five or ten minutes and use work sheets, which they pick up as they come in. Let them work on the worksheets, then have a discussion and use a response devise, like their mobile phones, to feed back answers.


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