June 2012

As the school year closes...

On vacation

Source: Haveseen/Shutterstock

It is hard to believe that another school year draws to a close and the exam season has been and gone but I suspect that the discussions over exam quality, fitness for purpose and maths content will rumble on for some time to come.

As you and your students recover from endless revision sessions and the stress of exams, we can look forward to an exciting summer. As you settle down to watch the Olympics, possibly wowed by the creation of the 5-ringed olympicene molecule, I'll be off to the ICCE and ECRICE 2012 conferences in Rome, then on my annual pilgrimage to Variety in Chemistry Education in Edinburgh, just as everyone returns to teaching. 

I find these conferences really inspirational, meeting so many participants whose sole aim it is to find out how students learn and how they can improve their learning experience through new and innovative teaching practices. A current hot topic is involving students in resource creation.  

In this issue, David Read and Simon Lancaster follow this theme by showing you how technically savvy students can easily be involved in generating live-action videos to enhance their learning and help boost your range of teaching resources. Not only can we involve students in the production of portable teaching material, Simon Bates has the last word on the ultimate topic - why shouldn't students create their own assessments? Technology really can produce innovative and creative teaching and learning environments. As Mike Follows finds out, it can also manipulate chemical and biological systems at the molecular level in the form of laser light. 

From technology enhanced learning and lasers to more everyday essentials - gas and pottery. Mike Tingle uncovers projects to store natural gas in the huge underground salt caverns left behind after solution mining, ensuring our supplies are met in times of high demand. And Stephen Breuer introduces us to the fascinating chemistry of pottery, a skill that has been with us for over 18000 years.  

Enjoy your summer!