Wendy Pitt reviews this interactive resource
John Packer and Bernard Scott
Blackburn South, Victoria, Australia: Packer and Scott 2005 | £14.00 single license; £25.00- restricted site license; £50.00 commercial license
The authors of this CD-ROM have set out to produce a manual on the basic language and vocabulary of chemistry. Aimed at sixthformers, first-year undergraduates and chemistry teachers, the disc can be used as a paper version - by printing small sections or the entire manual - and also as an electronic version, which includes tutorial-style sections. The latter includes explanations, examples, exercises and detailed answers to the exercises.
This package could be useful to students, in particular to those for whom English is not their first language and for those who have not had the opportunity to study chemistry during their formative years. While a paper copy in the library and each laboratory might be consulted on occasions, the electronic version is much more engaging. The software is intuitive to use. The helpful contents list makes finding particular topics easy. Perhaps more useful to the 'confused' student is the index - a huge alphabetical list of chemical terms and ideas. Clicking on a key word takes you to an appropriate topic.
The many practice calculations and their clearly worked answers allow individuals to work at their own pace. There are no animations or video clips included to make the package look 'attractive' to students, but it does what it says and more, and as such could be a very useful tool.
Let's talk chemistry might be attractive to teachers, in particular trainee teachers and NQTs, as a reference resource, and to the most serious chemistry students. Priced at £25 for a restricted site license, I suspect that this software would be of greatest benefit when installed onto an institution's server with free access to all students and chemistry department staff.