Web watch: Josh Howgego looks at some websites that may be of interest to chemistry teachers

The Pulse Project

Bright colours coming out of a tablet computer

Colin Murphy is a man who loves lectures. So much so in fact, that he has written of his 'dismay' of not having enough time to attend all the lectures going on in Oxford whilst he lived there as a student.

Four years ago Murphy came up with a solution to his vexation - a website; one which would offer video recordings of many of interesting lectures for those not lucky enough to attend. The site has grown however, and these days also known for its series of excellent weekly podcasts dealing with how science impacts on - and is shaped by - society.

From amongst the lectures, 'expert explanations' and other gems, the chemistry teacher's pick should be the Pulse Project  and Strange Quarks  podcasts. The former takes an amusing, weekly look at how science has featured in the news. The latter looks at dodgy 'scientific' claims in the media or in advertising. Listening to these, the overriding message is one of how to examine evidence in a rigorous and scientific way, which makes an inspiring message for students. 

Another podcast which caught Web watch's  eye recently was Interacting Weakly, which also informatively satirises the week's science news in a laugh-out-loud funny kind of way. Well worth a listen. 

The Pulse Project
Podcasting, university lectures and science education

The Pulse project on Twitter

Interacting weakly
Weekly science podcasts

Interacting weakly on Twitter

Talk Science

My understanding of teaching is that it's getting students to stop talking that is usually the problem. Nevertheless, the Science Museum has released a new online resource to help get students talking - but this time about science. 

Talk Science [link no longer available] encourages teachers to adopt a three step strategy (which can be paraphrased as discuss, support, resource) to facilitate discussions about the 'applications and implications of contemporary science'. The site seems to be primarily useful for relatively young pupils; although it could be adapted to older audiences.  

There is a raft of content and resources worth exploring. An interesting and fun example is the newly opened Futurecade an arcade game suite with intellectual overtones. The games deal with interesting questions. In one, your job is to clear up space junk - but how important is that in real life? And who should be responsible? 

After the games, the site offers resource links to help prod discussions in a useful direction. Teachers can also register with the website and participate in the online community. 

Contact and Further Information

Josh Howgego

If you know of any websites that should be reviewed in Education in Chemistry please email the title and URL to Josh Howgego.

Email: Josh Howgego