The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) launches a USB version of the interactive AS/Alevel web tool, LabSkills

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Source: Labskills

In April, The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) launched a USB version of LabSkills, the interactive AS/A-level web tool, developed by chemists at the University of Bristol, which allows students do pre-lab work ahead of practical classes, so maximising the quality of the time they spend in the lab. With funding from the Training and Development Agency for schools (TDA), the RSC is making available to teachers, on request, the USB version of LabSkills as part of its aims to support chemistry teachers and enhance practical science in the classroom.

The resource, which is not intended to replace practical work, comprises activities that allow students to build knowledge and practise skills that are required at this level in the lab, and so give them more confidence to do actual experiments. The RSC has already made this resource available to PGCE chemistry students through its collaborative project, Discover chemistry, with the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer. An independent evaluation by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) found that the software increased the confidence of trainee teachers in running practical science classes, and improved their practical skills and knowledge of chemistry. 

By asking teachers to request the USB version, the RSC hopes to ensure that only those teachers who really want it, get it. It will also enable RSC staff to give teachers a verbal introduction to the software. Lorna Thomson, project officer for Discover chemistry at the RSC, told Education in Chemistry, 'We will also be giving the USB version out at RSC events where we can talk to chemistry teachers directly, and at Getting practical CPD events'.  

Secondary school chemistry teachers should contact the education department at the RSC to request their USB version of LabSkills.