Lifelong Learning Programme

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Che cos'è la Chimica? What is Chemistry?
Gustavo Avitabile, Ugo Caruso, Giovanni Maglio, Antonello Merlino, Delia Picone
Web Site/Portal
Basic, Medium
Cooperative learning
Fundamental Chemistry, Life Chemistry, Industrial Chemistry, Environmental Chemistry
Lower Secondary School, Upper Secondary School
English, Italian
The prerequisites
The site does not require specific skills because the subjects are firstly discussed at a basic level. Then it is possible to access to higher levels of deepening by linking to more specific texts. The contents deal of different areas in which chemistry plays a crucial role such as environment, art and industry.

The contents
‘What’s Chemistry’ is a site aiming to build and/or expand the knowledge of single persons but also of groups of students working in class. It discusses the different aspects of chemistry as science as well as discipline. The hyperlinks start from basic concepts and then move to high level concepts in a natural and gradual progression. The homepage provides 5 possible starting points for paths of knowledge:
1.Chemistry is an experimental science
3. Life
4. Environment

The aims
The objective of the resource is to spread the knowledge of chemistry by evidencing several areas in which chemistry plays a very important role.

Task description
The site is a resource rich of hyperlinks that can be proposed to student only after a careful work performed by the teacher in order to modulate the presentation taking in consideration the learner outcomes foreseen.The student can read the explicative texts but with no possibility of interaction with it (simulation-manipulation). Anyway, he can choose among the several paths that are available on the site thanks to the hypertext structure: the paths will depend on the curiosity but also on the skills of the student.

How to use it in class
- The resource can be used in class as hypertext in which paths of knowledge can be identified and selected as function of students’ curiosity and teacher’s objectives.
- It can be used as useful stimulus of discussion: the individual paths chosen by different students of the same class can be compared to evidence the motivations of the different choices in order to achieve a shared knowledge.
Points of strength
Information are provided with scientific rigor without beig heavy or difficult.

Points of weakness
The lack of tools dedicated to verify the effectiveness of learning decreases the didactic value

Scientific reliability

Pedagogic value
The hypertext is a learning process that reflects the structure of the human mind, thus considering the link among the thoughts more natural for the users rather than the presentation of information on paper sheets. Moreover, the learning process should aim to develop autonomy, creativity and critical sense: for this reason, constructivists think that the use of hypertexts, with their reticular structures, is an optimum teaching methodology in order to develop cognitive skills.
University of Genova

Comments about this Publication

Your comments are welcome

Date: 2013.11.10

Posted by Maria João Melo (Portugal)

Message: This comment is focused on the topic \"LA CHIMICA E L\'ARTE\", one of the five starting points for paths of knowledge.

In this resource, the authors selected relevant points that highlight the importance/ usefulness of chemistry in the safeguard of cultural heritage, and the concepts beneath are all clearly described. Colour and bronze sculpture are possibly the subjects that were better conveyed.
The webpage is designed as created by a high-school student, being simple and easy to read. This may in fact engage students more easily, and therefore may be considered an advantage.
The English version would benefit from a revision by a native English speaker.

The teaching resource described is useful. It will be attractive to both high school and first year college students as well as to adults without a specific training in chemistry. It may engage first year undergraduate students to learn more about the chemistry of works of art and also on how chemistry may contribute to prevent its decay. It may be integrated both in specific chemistry topic, ranging from organic (colour and protective materials) to inorganic (bronze sculptures, stone) as well as in introductory chemistry courses directed to undergraduates.
I also think it can increase the students’ interest toward chemistry.

Date: 2013.06.15

Posted by Fernanda Cordeiro Martins (Portugal)

Message: This resource covers important concepts, enabling the introduction and development of various topics of secondary school chemistry curricula. The topics covered are very interesting, offering real-life examples, which are motivating and stimulate students learning, as well as a better perception of the world around them. It develops and facilitates the learning activities using new technologies. It has in my opinion a high educational level. It can be adapted to be used in classroom environment, being my school well equipped to take full advantage of it.

Date: 2013.02.07

Posted by Eva Smreková (Slovakia)

Message: The web page “What chemistry is”is a help which emphasises an importance of chemistry in various areas of human activities. Its main aim is to take an interest of a student and to show how important role chemistry has in areas as science, environment, art, industry and life. It tries to remove the impression of that chemical means negative, dangerous, agressive. Student can easily use these web pages and get all necessary information put by a help of 5 possible sources or by many questions and answers included in web pages. Answers provided differ in their level of scientific explanation and in understanding of given topic. This web page is more useful at general level and i tis very difficult to specify it to some group or a class and i tis needed to complete each topic of other information. As a whole, this web page can have a positive influence at increasing of motivation of students in learning chemistry. Disadvantage of this tool is that students are no table to work with web comfortly because of insufficiency of tools designed for testing of efficiency of gained knowledge. This tool can be useful also for teachers who can use this web as a source for developing various discussions in a classroom and for pointing out an importance of chemistry in daily life. Some parts can be useful for project activities and for discussion about topics as a connection btw chemistry and biology, chemistry and environment and how to understand the world around us better.

Date: 2012.09.25

Posted by Kordatos Konstantinos (Greece)

Message: “Che cosa e la Chimica” or "What is chemistry" is a site in which emphasis is placed on the importance of chemistry in different fields of human activity. Its main purpose is to attract the students' interest and show how important is the role of chemistry in areas such as science, environment, art, industry and life. Using several examples, there is an attempt of absolving the term "chemical" of something negative, which is falsely used by the media as something that implies hazard and aggressiveness. The students can easily use the website and receive all the necessary given information by using either the five possible starting points or the numerous questions and answers included in the website. Overall the site can have a positive effect in increasing student motivation to learn chemistry. One drawback of this teaching resource is that the students are unable to interact with the site due to the lack of tools that have been designed to test the effectiveness of learning. This resource can also be useful for the teachers, who could use this site as a reference point for the development of various classroom discussions highlighting the importance of chemistry in our daily life.

Date: 2012.08.13

Posted by Kathleen Lough (Ireland)

Message: This website is a general interest type website which provides information on a variety of topics under the headings of Industry, Life, Environment and Art. It explores some of the connections between chemistry and these areas. It also has a question and answer section which poses diverse questions such as: ‘Are the media fair about chemistry?’, ‘Is shape important in biochemistry?’, ‘How do soaps work?’, and so on. The depth of the answers provided varies considerably as does the prior scientific knowledge required to understand the explanations. This variation makes it difficult to recommend the resource for a specific class or age group. It is more of a general classroom resource with certain sections being useful to support particular classroom topics. Teachers could also direct interested individual students to it for further information on some topics. Selected sections might also be useful for project activities and it would provide a useful starting point for discussion of topics such as connections between chemistry, biology, and the environment, or the need for scientific literacy to understand the world around us, and so on.

National Reports on successful experiences to promote lifelong learning for chemistry The national reports on chemistry successful experiences to promote lifelong learning for chemistry are now available on the related section of the project portal. The reports presents examples of successful experiences in the partner countries and the results of testing of ICT resources with science teachers.