Integrating technology and social media into introductory chemistry courses to create inclusive, informed, and engaged citizenry
MetadataShow full item record
Citation (published version)Didem Vardar-Ulu, David Stelter. 2018. "Integrating technology and social media into introductory chemistry courses to create inclusive, informed, and engaged citizenry." ABSTRACTS OF PAPERS OF THE AMERICAN CHEMICAL SOCIETY. 256th National Meeting and Exposition of the American-Chemical-Society (ACS) - Nanoscience, Nanotechnology and Beyond. Boston, MA, 2018-08-19 - 2018-08-23.
The introductory chemistry courses are often viewed as gatekeeping courses that explicitly or implicitly select the born to be scientists or engineers, instead of gateway courses for world citizens, who can appreciate chemistry as an essential aspect of their everyday lives, regardless of their future careers of choice. Students enter these courses with widely varying backgrounds that impact their level of prior content knowledge, skillsets, engagement in the material, as well as intellectual and emotional maturity. Often courses are taught in large classrooms, with an eclectic presentation of dense course content, broadening the already significant gap between what students perceive as classroom curriculum and the knowledge and skillset they need to tackle real societal issues. In our modern world, diverse members of the society are required to work collaboratively to generate and implement multidisciplinary solutions to address global problems. Hence, it is crucial that all educators involved in teaching these introductory courses go the extra mile to create opportunities for all students to feel, "This material is important to know, I can understand it, and I can apply it to concerns/topics in my daily life". At present, we are entrusted with the exciting task and great challenge of educating the Post-millennials also known as iGens, who were born into a world of internet and hence have been comfortable with technology and with interacting on social media since a young age. Since technology can be instrumental in customizing learning experiences to meet the needs of all learners, can we successfully integrate it into our introductory chemistry courses to create a more inclusive, engaged and informed citizenry? This talk will describe specific ed-tech strategies, including online collaborative tools, discussion platforms, social media, and student created media implemented in the introductory chemistry courses taught at two very different undergraduate settings: one at a small liberal arts college (Wellesley College, MA), and one at a big research institution (Boston University, MA). The unifying goal of these practices was to help students practice transferring their learning to new contexts through individual reflection followed by group communication using a blended course design. What worked well and what did not in each setting, will be discussed.