Digital tools in the chemistry classroom
In this interview, high school chemistry and math teacher Rieke Strehl explains how to use digital tools in chemistry class.
Rieke Strehl: There are many benefits to using digital tools in the chemistry classroom. Students can develop a better understanding of chemical concepts through interactive learning, visualization, and simulation. At the same time, the individual pace encourages self-directed learning. Motivation is increased through the inclusion of interactive elements. Digital tools make the chemistry classroom more dynamic and engaging, but they require careful selection.
Rieke Strehl: The range of digital tools for teaching chemistry is enormous, so I have limited myself to five tools in this training. I particularly like to use Chemix and the Merck PSE in my chemistry classes. Chemix is a tool that allows you or your students to quickly and easily draw experimental apparatus. This way you can document the experimental apparatus of an experiment in your chemistry class. Merck PSE is an interactive reference that lists all the important information about the elements of the periodic table. This can be displayed on a projection screen to discuss chemical facts.
Rieke Strehl:My students are grateful for the integration of digital tools into the chemistry classroom. They are motivated by the interactivity and visualization of the tools, and they understand chemistry facts better when they use them. They also enjoy using the digital tools to quiz themselves before written performance assessments.
Rieke Strehl: Students may struggle with technical issues, while some may lack digital literacy skills. To overcome these hurdles, it is important to select well-tested, user-friendly tools and provide clear guidance and technical support to students.
Overuse and distraction are other concerns, as are uneven device availability and privacy issues. Here, purposeful integration of tools into the curriculum or professional development can help, setting clear expectations for their use and demonstrating the connection between tools and learning goals. Alternatively, print materials, group work in the classroom, or loaner devices can be provided for students without access to digital devices. Teachers may need training to use the tools effectively, and the quality of the content is also important. Teacher training and professional development can help teachers get the most out of the tools.
Rieke Strehl: Be brave and try things. If both students and teachers want to become more digitally literate, we teachers should stop being afraid of embarrassing ourselves in front of our students and have the courage to try new things. Training such as this can help students become more courageous and try out previously unfamiliar digital tools with them. Just exploring together can strengthen the student-teacher relationship immensely.
In this training you will learn how to design your chemistry lessons with different digital tools.