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My Education in Chemistry blog posts

Jun 19, 2015 | | Say something

A lot of my bloggery is now on the Education in Chemistry blog, and this post will keep a running table of contents of my posts there: 26. We are failing our students and society: what do students who are leaving us to pursue other careers leave with? Shouldn’t we give them some chemistry useful for [...more]

This week I’m reading… Changing STEM education

Jul 29, 2015 | | Say something

Summer is a great time for Good Intentions and Forward Planning… with that in mind I’ve been reading about what way we teach chemistry, how we know it’s not the best approach, and what might be done to change it. Is changing the curriculum enough? Bodner (1992) opens his discussion on reform in chemistry education [...more]

Discussing the role of Inquiry Based Learning

Jun 5, 2015 |

My two recent blog posts on the Education in Chemistry blog have generated a lot of discussion around inquiry-based learning in particular, and “innovative” methods in general. It is really well worth looking at some of the comments. There are two posts, opening gambits are below: The case against inquiry based learning…  Writing recently in The [...more]

Mobile phones for analysis in school and undergrad laboratories

May 6, 2015 | | 1 comment

 “Although the majority of scientific workers utilize photography for illustrative purposes, a survey of the literature shows that only a limited number fully appreciate its usefulness as a means for recording data.” So wrote GE Matthew and JI Crabtree in a 1927 article of Journal of Chemical Education.[1] Photography has come on since then, when [...more]

Flipped Conference Presentation Video Online

May 6, 2015 | | 4 comments

The last post described the AHEAD Conference Flipped Lecture presentation, which was itself a flipped lecture. Participants were asked to watch a video in advance of the conference and then the conference session itself discussed the themes emerging from that pre-lecture presentation. AHEAD have published the conference presentation, so if you want to watch the [...more]

What are your thoughts on lecture flipping?

Feb 23, 2015 | | 12 comments

I am giving a keynote at the AHEAD conference in March, and the lecture itself will be a flipped lecture on lecture flipping. The audience will be a mixture of academics and support staff from all over Europe and beyond, and the idea is that they will watch the presentation in advance (hmmmm) and we [...more]

New book on Chemistry Education

Feb 16, 2015 |

A new book “Chemistry Education : Best Practices, Opportunities and Trends” has just been made available online. It covers a range of current topics in chemistry teaching including a chapter on human activity by Peter Mahaffy, context based learning by Ilka Parchmann and flipped lectures by Eric Mazur. In addition, there are some chapters on [...more]

Eurovariety in Chemistry Education 2015

Feb 9, 2015 |

Registration is now open for the 2015 Eurovariety in Chemistry Education meeting, being held in Tartu, Estonia from June 30th to July 2nd. Dates on the conference website are currently listed as: Registration opens: February,1 Submission of abstracts opens: February 1, ends March 15 Acceptance of the papers: April 15 Conference Website: http://sisu.ut.ee/eurovariety/avaleht Related Posts:Variety in [...more]

New ‘Education in Chemistry’ app

Feb 1, 2015 | | Say something

  Education in Chemistry (EiC) is a bi-monthly periodical covering news and features relevant to the teaching of chemistry at secondary and tertiary level. It has just launched a new app, and is making the magazines free to view for 2015. I had a preview of the app in development as I’m a member of [...more]

Embracing diversity in higher education

Jan 31, 2015 | | 1 comment

The Association for Higher Education Access and Disability (AHEAD) published their first journal recently which I printed off with (I confess) just a passing interest. It turned out to be a compelling read from start to finish. Being time-poor and work weary, I would suggest that most lecturers don’t really like the idea of considering [...more]

Robert Boyle and the origin of “chemical analysis”

Jan 26, 2015 | | 1 comment

Yesterday was Robert Boyle’s birthday (happy birthday Bob!) and in Twitter chit-chat, an interesting nugget emerged from Prof Damien Arrigan. He recalled reading that it was Boyle who first coined the term chemical analysis. Pointing me to the source, a paper by Duncan Thorburn Burns in his 1982 paper on Boyle, one can go back [...more]

The role of prior knowledge

Jan 22, 2015 | | 4 comments

One of the main challenges in teaching first year university students is that they have a great variety of backgrounds. A quick survey of any year one class will likely yield students who have come straight from school, students returning to education, and students who have taken a circuitous route through pre-university courses. Even the [...more]

ChemEd Ireland, DIT Kevin St on Sat Oct 11th

Sep 9, 2014 | | Say something

ChemEd Ireland is being held at Dublin Institute of Technology Kevin St on Saturday October 11th, 2014.  The 33rd Chem-Ed Ireland Conference returns to Dublin on Saturday October 11th from 9.30 am to 4pm at Dublin Institute of Technology Kevin St. Campus (5 minutes walk from St. Stephen’s Green). This annual event provides an opportunity to share [...more]

How difficult are Gas Law questions?

May 20, 2014 | | 1 comment

At last – a way to quantify if you are asking a nasty question or not! Problem solving imposes a cognitive load on novice learners. Even if the problem is simple (often called exercises, if they involve routine algorithmic tasks), the learner will need to recall how to approach each stage of the exercise in [...more]

Blogging Chemistry Education

May 13, 2014 | | Say something

Education in Chemistry launched their new blog earlier this year and the editorial staff there were good (brave?) enough to give me a platform to post articles on the theme of chemistry education. There are at least three posts per month and today I posted my 10th article—see links below. If you haven’t seen the [...more]

ACS ConfChem on Flipped Lectures Now Online

May 8, 2014 | | Say something

From tomorrow, 9th May, the 2014 Spring ConfChem begins. ConfChem is an online conference, and the theme of this one is “Flipped Lectures”. The conference abstract is below. Each week, two papers are discussed, and my paper “Student Engagement with Flipped Chemistry Lectures” is first up! Do join in with the conference over the coming [...more]

Teaching the history of chemistry at school

May 8, 2014 | | 1 comment

The following question was part of the Leaving Cert Higher Level examination paper in 2010: There are many problems with these questions, worth 4.25% of the Higher Level paper. They are, of course, completely reliant on recall. There is no chemical understanding required here, and any student with a decent set of bullet-point notes will [...more]

Plagiarism: Detection, Prevention, Monitoring

Apr 25, 2014 | | 1 comment

I attended the National Forum for Enhancement of Teaching and Learning seminar on plagiarism organised by Kevin O’Rourke at DIT’s Learning Teaching and Technology Centre. The meeting was interesting as it covered three aspects of plagiarism (in my opinion): Plagiarism detection Designing out plagiarism through various L&T methods Institutional and national profiling of extents of [...more]

So-called “Radical” education reforms

Apr 21, 2014 | | Say something

In the week of the teacher conferences, Minister Quinn’s special adviser has earned the large pay packet this morning. The Irish Times, Independent and Examiner all carry details of the changes planned for the Leaving Cert grading system. “Leaving Cert grades face radical change under plan” writes Joe Humphreys in the Irish Times. “ABC system [...more]

Peer Pressure

Apr 1, 2014 | | 9 comments

I should be convinced about peer teaching but I’m not. Educators who I respect and who advocate the benefits of peer-tutoring, Peerwise and well, general peeriness, have demonstrated improved grades where lecturers use one of a multitude of peer activities. In what follows, I consider peer teaching to be one where students take some or [...more]