March 1, 2015 (Vol. 35, No. 5)


Strong Points: Nice animations for reactions, educational
Weak Points: Gaming gimmicks slow progress through the app




ChemCrafter is a beautiful “digital chemistry lab” by the Chemical Heritage Foundation that allows students to mix chemicals and observe the ensuing chemical reactions via animations complete with color changes, bubbles, and the like. Experiments are grouped into three “books”: water experiments, acid experiments, and salt experiments. Unfortunately, the app is frustratingly designed when it comes to progressing through the experiments, as one must complete the books in succession before the subsequent book is unlocked. The app incorporates game elements such as bonuses and points that must be spent to purchase the materials required for each experiment, a seemingly unnecessary component considering that points and bonuses are replenished after each completed experiment. In trying to make the digital lab more game-like, the makers of the app are forgetting that the most fun part about it is the science!

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