Session S25a (Monday, 9:30am, Thomas 104)

P183: Can iPads improve students’ understanding of molecular structure?

Brett McCollum (Mount Royal University, Canada)

Students struggle to connect molecular representations in a textbook with properties arising from the 3D spatial nature of molecules.  3D physical models are commonly employed to help students visualize molecular geometries.  Computer-generated 2D projections of 3D structures have been found to act as a bridge between 3D physical models and printed images.  However, it is unclear what cognitive processes are engaged by these computer images.  Moreover, manipulation of computer generated images in-class is generally restricted to instructor demonstrations.  The advent of touch-screen technologies, such as the iPad, make it possible to bring student-manipulatable computer images of molecules into the classroom.  Over 100 undergraduate students participated in a study to evaluate the effectiveness of the iPad relative to textbook-style paper images for development of molecular recognition and molecular construction skills.  Design of the study will be outlined.  Video from the interviews and interpretation of the data will be presented.

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