Few teachers would dispute that the aim of science teaching is to help students build a working understanding of the fundamental concepts of the subject. All too often, however, the pressures of time and curriculum make it very difficult to reach this goal, with the result that some of the means of achieving it, such as problem-solving and drill, become ends in themselves.
These lessons are intended to bring the student into contact with these concepts in a more direct and intimate way than is usually achievable in the classroom. The general approach is one in which each topic is developed incrementally, building on prior knowledge a step at a time, pausing occasionally for a problem example or a summary. Presenting this material as a dialogue with adequate feedback and reinforcement helps keep the student engaged— which is something that tends not to happen with the hastily-put-together CD or Web-based supplements commonly supplied by textbook publishers.
The Concept Builder lessons can serve as the centerpiece of a course (as they did for several of the Author's courses) or they may be used to supplement a more traditional course. Each topic is presented in a sequence of dialogs that progresses from the very basics to somewhat beyond the usual first-year college level. This flexibility allows them to benefit a wider range of students, including
We can tell you all about the Chem1 lessons, but there is no substitute for seeing them for yourself, if only to get an idea of their "look and feel". For this reason, we offer Chemistry teachers a permanent free registration of Chem1 concept builder for their personal use.
We regret that we are no longer able to offer site licences or CDs. Students can still download the regular single-user version of the lessons and register it for US$34.
ChemCAI: Resources in Chemical Education for teachers with emphasis on instructional software. This site provides entry into most of the major Chemistry Web collections, as well as some of the more interesting minor ones..
General Chemistry: starting points for students. A selective list of the best Web-based resources for students in high school and college-level General Chemistry courses.
CAI for mainline instruction in Chemistry - why teachers should consider computer-assisted instruction as more than an "add-on" to traditional courses.
General Chemistry Virtual Textbook - a set of materials intended to replace or supplement conventional textbook treatments of major parts of the General Chemistry curriculum. Aimed at the AP or college level, these chapters attempt to provide greater depth (although not necessarily more "difficult") coverage of their topics than will be found in most current texts. Many of the chapers are available in both PDF and Web-browser versions; the latter can be linked to individual subsections for convenient use with course-management systems such as Web-CT or Blackboard.