September 15, 2008 (Vol. 28, No. 16)
Strong Points: Wide variety of educational content
Weak Points: Plug-in issues
Back in my day, if we wanted to learn something about chemistry, we had to walk the five miles to school barefoot in the snow and watch our wild-eyed chemistry teacher illustrate some wild experiment he’d dreamed up (that often involved an explosion at the end). Aye, those were the days. Kids these days have it made, all they have to do is sit down with their fancy laptops and download animations (often user-controlled) of major basic principles of chemistry. One excellent source of these sites can be found at Tom Greenbowe’s Chemical Education Research Group Simulations site. Categories include solutions, thermochemistry, reactions, kinetics, stoichiometry, electrochemistry, acid/base equilibria, measurement, gas laws, and redox titration. Most of the animations ran on my system, but not all. One suggestion though, sites like this should always provide links to all the browser plug-ins necessary to view each animation. Otherwise, users are either locked out of using them or must spend a lot of time trying to find the right one.