Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors


Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


DHgate

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

Oxford Instruments Asylum Research and McGill University Announce the McGill AFM Summer School and Workshop, May 12-13, 2016 May 4th, 2016

The intermediates in a chemical reaction photographed 'red-handed' Researchers at the UPV/EHU-University of the Basque Country have for the first time succeeded in imaging all the steps in a complex organic reaction and have resolved the mechanisms that explain it May 4th, 2016

New tool allows scientists to visualize 'nanoscale' processes May 4th, 2016

Chemistry

The intermediates in a chemical reaction photographed 'red-handed' Researchers at the UPV/EHU-University of the Basque Country have for the first time succeeded in imaging all the steps in a complex organic reaction and have resolved the mechanisms that explain it May 4th, 2016

New tool allows scientists to visualize 'nanoscale' processes May 4th, 2016

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

New tool allows scientists to visualize 'nanoscale' processes May 4th, 2016

A compact, efficient single photon source that operates at ambient temperatures on a chip: Highly directional single photon source concept is expected to lead to a significant progress in producing compact, cheap, and efficient sources of quantum information bits for future appls May 3rd, 2016

Little ANTs: Researchers build the world's tiniest engine May 3rd, 2016

An Experiment Seeks to Make Quantum Physics Visible to the Naked Eye May 3rd, 2016

Academic/Education

Oxford Instruments Asylum Research and McGill University Announce the McGill AFM Summer School and Workshop, May 12-13, 2016 May 4th, 2016

JPK reports on the use of a NanoWizard AFM system at the University of Kaiserslautern to study the interaction of bacteria with microstructured surfaces April 28th, 2016

The Ottawa Hospital Research Institute uses the ZetaView from Particle Metrix to study membrane microparticles as potential biomarkers for underlying diseases April 12th, 2016

FEI Partners with Five Pharmaceutical Companies, the Medical Research Council and the University of Cambridge to form Cryo-EM Research Consortium April 5th, 2016

Announcements

Oxford Instruments Asylum Research and McGill University Announce the McGill AFM Summer School and Workshop, May 12-13, 2016 May 4th, 2016

The intermediates in a chemical reaction photographed 'red-handed' Researchers at the UPV/EHU-University of the Basque Country have for the first time succeeded in imaging all the steps in a complex organic reaction and have resolved the mechanisms that explain it May 4th, 2016

New tool allows scientists to visualize 'nanoscale' processes May 4th, 2016

FEI Launches Apreo Industry-Leading Versatile, High-Performance SEM: The Apreo SEM provides high-resolution surface information with excellent contrast, and the flexibility to accommodate a large range of samples, applications and conditions May 4th, 2016

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

A compact, efficient single photon source that operates at ambient temperatures on a chip: Highly directional single photon source concept is expected to lead to a significant progress in producing compact, cheap, and efficient sources of quantum information bits for future appls May 3rd, 2016

An Experiment Seeks to Make Quantum Physics Visible to the Naked Eye May 3rd, 2016

Brookhaven's Oleg Gang Named a Battelle 'Inventor of the Year': Recognized for work using DNA to guide and regulate the self-assembly of nanoparticles into clusters and arrays with controllable properties April 25th, 2016

Zip software can detect the quantum-classical boundary: Compression of experimental data reveals the presence of quantum correlations April 21st, 2016

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







Car Brands
Buy website traffic