How to Make an Oppia Exploration (Ed Tech Reviews)

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What is Oppia? Find out about in my previous post, Oppia: Opportunity for Progressive Learning or Open-Content Muddle?

Creating the Dimensional Analysis Exploration

As I left off in my last post, I tried out by creating an exploration called “Dimensional Analysis for Chemistry.” In short, while the creation process is a little laborious depending on the complexity of the exploration, I was rather pleased with the content creation tools. In particular, I was impressed by the powerful options for setting the feedback rules for user responses. In my opinion, Oppia may have a place in a teacher’s tool belt–or it can just become a creative hobby. Here’s the good and the…almost good, to consider when you look at Continue reading

Tell Us What You Gotta Cram and We’ll Give It to You Pronto

Let Study Putty Be Your Study Buddy Tonight

It’s a free memorization tool!

If you are a student looking for a new way to memorize the crud you have to cram for class, Study Putty would like to help.

Why do we beat quizzing yourself on that crinkled cheat sheet another twenty-seven times? Why do we top reading the same table in your textbook on endless repeat? (With prospects that thrilling, do I even need to say?) Well, let me tell you. Nay, let me show you. Does your normal way of studying look like this?

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Demonstrating our “constructive feedback” feature running in Shakespearean English.

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15+ Free Games to Memorize the Periodic Table of Elements

Master the Mother of All Charts

Content requests? Or are you interested in developing custom learning tools for your classroom? Contact us!

Where the cool kids go to scrape by on tests.

Periodic table stock in this graphic by Wikipedia user DePeip. CC3.0 Attribution/Share-alike.

Visit our project to use our awesome memorization tools. It’s free and it’s a change of pace from quizzing yourself on that crumpled-up cheat sheet for the twenty billionth time, for the love of Gallium. Click the logo below to go there now! Continue reading

Study Putty: Chemistry Activities for Home and Classroom

“Memorization” is a foul word in education. Students hate doing it. Teachers hate that their students spend so much time trying to cram data into their noggins when the point is really the concept, not the vocab. But this doesn’t change the fact that mastering ‘vocabulary’ — whether it be definitions, abbreviations, symbols, or formulas — is a crucial hurdle students must get over.

“Critical thought, evaluation, and synthesis all sit on the backbone of vocabulary.”
Rachel Watson,
Professional Academic Lecturer, Dept. of Molecular Biology at the University of Wyoming, non-fan of rote memorization, and creator of her own open courseware


Matching names and formulae of common polyatomic ions.

Easing the student’s memorization burden is the idea behind Study Putty, our set of online learning activities currently under development and available for students to use.

Study Putty provides several straightforward ways to memorize information. It’s not a game or a sim, it’s just a variety of memorization activities for fundamental facts prerequisite to mastering important concepts. We are starting with the subject of chemistry and looking to grow into other fields. Our chemistry activities are designed to get the dirty job of memorization done so the student can move on with labs, with class, with life. All of our activities are free to use. Continue reading

Ionic Bonding Explained (Videos)

A Chemical Bond Breakdown by an Internet Chem Guru

Tyler DeWitt might be the Internet’s favorite chemistry teacher–well, after Walter White and Bill Nye the Science Guy. The reason why he’s up there on the list anyway has to do with his point-by-point, easy-to-follow, visually-oriented explanations of the very threshold concepts that students struggle with. The following is the first installment in his video series on ionic bonding. See his channel for the whole series, and for a myriad of other topics.

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PhET Provides Interactive Learning for Chemistry

PhET does not stand for Physics Education Technology. Once upon a time it did, but not since they branched out into learning tools for other subjects like chemistry. The PhET team at the University of Colorado in Boulder has long set the standard for online simulations for the sciences.

Their Flash simulations provide learning opportunities both for the chemistry classroom and for the student at home struggling to understand a concept. I picked through their catalogue of free chemistry sims in order to review a selection of what they offer. Continue reading

Sig Fig Rules!–Master Your Significant Digits Here (A Learning Game Contest Example)

[Edit 09.05.13] SigFig is now accessible through our primary chemistry learning web app, Study Putty.

In the preceding weeks we launched our Learning Game Contest, seeking submissions of science/math learning game concepts and offering the prize of a $100 Amazon or iTunes gift card along with the chance of seeing that idea implemented in a playable game. With the intention of demonstrating the sort of concept we’re looking for, and to show how your concept could become a working game, we recently published Sig Fig Rules! online.

If you have ever taken a chemistry course, whether in high school or college, you may remember the lesson on significant digits. If your response to being asked to identify significant and insignificant digits was, like mine, “Discrimination! Who am I to tell a number his existence is insignificant?” you, like me, might have benefited from a learning tool such as this. Continue reading

Comparing Online Textbook Support and Resources: How do four major publishers measure up?

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E-book and e-textbook sales, as well as sales of conventional higher-education textbooks, are on the rise due to increased college enrollment. Evaluating the online resources and learning technologies associated with prospective college texts has become an imperative, but sometimes daunting task.

Most textbook publishers have stepped up to the plate by providing a number of digital services, e-texts, and online resources to help the users of their conventional text books.  These are tools for both the educators who teach from and the students who learn from those texts.

Many publisher products target educators short of time for preparation by generating pre-made or customized lesson plans and syllabi, as well as tailoring curriculum and even online texts to instructor’s specifications. Opportunities for hybrid or blended courses abound. Text-specific assessments and interactive learning technology for students are also available for many texts. Several companies are even engineering complete online classes which can be accessed directly by students, employed by instructors or adopted by institutions.

Below is a comparison of the learning technology resources available from the science text publishers Pearson, Wiley, Cengage and McGraw-Hill, followed by a brief summary and highlight of each company’s unique offerings. Continue reading