Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors



Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


android tablet pc

Home > Press > The Molecular Workbench Wins SPORE Award: NSF-funded project wins award for being an outstanding online educational resource

This is a screenshot of the Molecular Workbench in action. The Molecular Workbench uses visually stimulating simulations and activities that bring the atomic and molecular world to life.

Credit: The Concord Consortium
This is a screenshot of the Molecular Workbench in action. The Molecular Workbench uses visually stimulating simulations and activities that bring the atomic and molecular world to life.

Credit: The Concord Consortium

Abstract:
This June, the National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded Molecular Workbench won the Science Prize for Online Resources in Education (SPORE) for its contribution as an innovative tool for science education.

The Molecular Workbench Wins SPORE Award: NSF-funded project wins award for being an outstanding online educational resource

Arlington, VA | Posted on August 4th, 2011

The Molecular Workbench is an online, computational tool that provides digital models of atomic scale processes, using interactive lessons and simulations to model atomic and molecular processes that would otherwise be difficult to portray through static illustrations typically found in a textbook.

Science magazine awards the SPORE prize "to encourage innovation and excellence in education, as well as to encourage the use of high-quality on-line resources by students, teachers and the public."

Participants were judged by the editors of Science and a panel consisting of teachers and researchers in relevant fields. Winners were invited to write an essay describing their resources for publication in the magazine.

The world of atoms and molecules close-up

Imagine trying to represent the tiny world of atoms and molecules--how would a person actively and visually show processes at this level? How would he or she describe atoms and molecules in contexts ranging from physics to nanotechnology?

The Molecular Workbench answers these questions by using visually stimulating simulations and activities that bring the atomic and molecular world to life.

For instance, in a "self-assembly" simulation, students have the freedom to experiment with molecule positions, charges, temperatures and other variables, to discover the consequences when these variables are changed. Students can play back or re-run the simulations for further observation. Each lesson also provides embedded questions for students to reflect upon what they observed. Try a featured simulation here.

"The Molecular Workbench significantly lowers the barrier of learning obscure atomic-scale science," said Charles Xie, physicist and developer of the Molecular Workbench. "It allows instructors to bring the conceptual picture up front without intimidating their students with abstruse terminology or difficult mathematics. This focuses students on the idea, not the vocabulary or the math."

Most of the users are middle-school, high-school and college students. The Molecular Workbench allows them to "play" with different simulations related to physics, chemistry, biology, biotechnology and nanotechnology. So far, the software has over 800,000 downloads worldwide.

Unlike traditional ball-and-stick models often used for teaching molecules, the Molecular Workbench simulates processes and calculations in "real time." Students can instantaneously see what happens when they manipulate the conditions of the molecules and analyze the results.

"Our vision is that static illustrations should be replaced by visual, interactive simulations; exercises could use simulations to incorporate inquiries and discoveries; and embedded assessment should allow teachers to track student learning progression," said Xie.

According to Xie, the Molecular Workbench owes its success to meeting the needs for more effective instructional materials. Teachers cover the science of atoms and molecules and the Molecular Workbench provides a tool to help teach these concepts.

In addition, the growing field of nanotechnology calls for a thorough understanding of atoms and molecules. The Molecular Workbench will help students develop an interest in nanotechnology by introducing these atomic and molecular concepts in secondary school.

In the future Xie and his team plan to develop the Molecular Workbench "into a versatile computational platform that supports a wider scope of science," said Xie. "Decades of computational science research has generated algorithms that can be used to build computational engines for delivering knowledge in their corresponding domains of science."

The team sees their software integrated into digital textbooks and web-based assessment. Ultimately, Xie hopes that this knowledge will be accessible to "every student."

"What is more important in education than passing down to students the greatest power and deepest wisdom brought to us by the most brilliant minds in the history of science and engineering?" said Xie.

"Now that the information technology has empowered us to deliver this through computing, an unprecedented opportunity to revitalize science and engineering education using this enabling technology is right upon us."

The Molecular Workbench is funded by the NSF Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program, part of the Division of Undergraduate Education (DUE).

Investigators
Charles Xie
Marcia Linn
David Wilson
Robert Tinker
Boris Berenfeld
Edwin O'Sullivan
Frieda Reichsman

Related Institutions/Organizations
Concord Consortium

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Ellen Ferrante
National Science Foundation
(703) 292-2204

Copyright © National Science Foundation

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related Links

Molecular Workbench simulation:

Related News Press

News and information

SEMATECH to Showcase Innovation and Advances in Manufacturing at SEMICON Japan 2014: SEMATECH experts will share the latest techniques, emerging trends and best practices in advanced manufacturing strategies and methodologies November 26th, 2014

Australian startup creates world’s first 100% cotton hydrophobic T-Shirts November 26th, 2014

The mysterious 'action at a distance' between liquid containers November 26th, 2014

'Giant' charge density disturbances discovered in nanomaterials: Juelich researchers amplify Friedel oscillations in thin metallic films November 26th, 2014

Research yields material made of single-atom layers that snap together like Legos November 25th, 2014

Chemistry

Lawrence Livermore researchers develop efficient method to produce nanoporous metals November 25th, 2014

Aromatic food chemistry to the making of copper nanowires November 24th, 2014

UO-industry collaboration points to improved nanomaterials: University of Oregon microscope puts spotlight on the surface structure of quantum dots for designing new solar devices November 20th, 2014

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Lawrence Livermore researchers develop efficient method to produce nanoporous metals November 25th, 2014

Renishaw receives Queen's Award for spectroscopy developments November 25th, 2014

Vegetable oil ingredient key to destroying gastric disease bacteria: In mice, therapeutic nanoparticles dampen H. pylori bacteria and inflammation that lead to ulcers and gastric cancer November 25th, 2014

Research yields material made of single-atom layers that snap together like Legos November 25th, 2014

Academic/Education

SUNY Poly Student Awarded Fellowship with the U.S. Department of Energy's Postgraduate Research Program: Ph.D. Candidate Accepts Postmaster's Appointment To Conduct Research At Albany NanoTech Complex November 13th, 2014

SUNY Polytechnic Institute Hosts Massive Crowd of More Than 3,000 People Who Attended Community Day Activities Across New York State: CNSE’s ‘NANOvember’ kickoff event highlights New York State’s growing high-tech sector with open house events in Albany, Utica, and Rochester November 3rd, 2014

SUNY Polytechnic Institute Invites the Public to Attend its Popular Statewide 'NANOvember' Series of Outreach and Educational Events October 23rd, 2014

First Canada Excellence Research Chair gets $10 million from the federal government for oilsands research at the University of Calgary: Federal government announces prestigious research chair to study improving oil production efficiency October 19th, 2014

Announcements

SEMATECH to Showcase Innovation and Advances in Manufacturing at SEMICON Japan 2014: SEMATECH experts will share the latest techniques, emerging trends and best practices in advanced manufacturing strategies and methodologies November 26th, 2014

Australian startup creates world’s first 100% cotton hydrophobic T-Shirts November 26th, 2014

The mysterious 'action at a distance' between liquid containers November 26th, 2014

'Giant' charge density disturbances discovered in nanomaterials: Juelich researchers amplify Friedel oscillations in thin metallic films November 26th, 2014

Grants/Awards/Scholarships/Gifts/Contests/Honors/Records

Renishaw receives Queen's Award for spectroscopy developments November 25th, 2014

A*STAR SIMTech wins international award for breaking new ground in actuators: SIMTech invention can be used in an array of industries, and is critical for next generation ultra-precision systems November 24th, 2014

SUNY Poly Student Awarded Fellowship with the U.S. Department of Energy's Postgraduate Research Program: Ph.D. Candidate Accepts Postmaster's Appointment To Conduct Research At Albany NanoTech Complex November 13th, 2014

MEMS Industry Group's 10th Annual Executive Conference Showcases Rapid Innovation in MEMS/Sensors: Emphasizes Spirit of Collaboration, Supporting First Open-Source Algorithm Community, New Standardization Efforts November 10th, 2014

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More












ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







© Copyright 1999-2014 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE