Many people have nightmares about their undergraduate chemistry experiences. I suspect, though, that if Larry Kolopajlo had been our teacher, this would not be the case. Larry's work in this chapter is motivated by his desire to see students achieve mastery in this challenging subject. Larry has developed an impressive collection of computerized animations that, for example, show students the movement of atoms in chemical reactions. By being able to observe what previously had been hidden aspects of the subject, students should be able to gain a deeper understanding of what is going on. This should help the students to perform better in this class. As with all the chapters in this volume, larry does not just assert claims, but gather data to assess their accuracy.
By examining the way students learn, Larry is able to attempt some (preliminary) statements about the types of learners who find these animations helpful and the types of users who do not. It is too simple to say that a method "works" or "does not work" when realistically, most methods work well for some students and less well for others. By means of administering a simple, short survey to students, Larry has opened wide a door that promises to bear fruit in the study of student learning in his class.
"Guided Inquiry Animations in General Chemistry,"
The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning at EMU: Vol. 1
, Article 3.
Available at: http://commons.emich.edu/sotl/vol1/iss1/3