Variety in Chemistry Education 2010

Tomorrow I am off to the Variety in Chemistry Education 2010 Conference in Loughborough.  My previous experience of this conference was a very positive one; in particular the format which comprises short, to the point presentations rigidly and fairly regulated by the chair.

I will  be presenting some of our work on the use of reflective video to engage students and am looking forward to the technology-focussed sessions.

I also hope to provide a few tweets and will be using the hashtag #Variety10.  Does anyone know if this is the official one?

The abstract of my talk is below:

For the past two years we have provided first-year undergraduate students on bioscience courses the opportunity to make short reflective video logs of their experience in chemistry practical classes.  Three practical groups per laboratory session are provided with a video camera and brief instruction on its use.  Each group must reflect on particular aspects of the practical, highlighting anything they found difficult and offering advice to someone who may be repeating the experiment at a later time.  In so doing this promotes engagement with practical work during the session and thought towards how the material relates to lectures and other parts of the course.  The videos are then uploaded to a video sharing website ( hosted on university servers and shared with everyone enrolled on the introductory chemistry module.  Students may view, rate and comment upon their colleagues’ videos in a manner similar to the popular video sharing website You Tube.  The software used to construct the website also contains social networking functions allowing students to ‘make friends’ with other members of the module group.  This reflective tool has provided a collaborative and inclusive peer-learning environment for bioscience students in a subject that is often perceived as difficult and at a time when transition issues to university study may be encountered.

You can find out more about our reflective video project here.

Photo credit.


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