Interactive multimedia chemistrysoftware
What is Polychem?
This page answers some questions about Polychem
Polychem is a comprehensive interactive multimedia chemistry tutorial and simulation tool that helps teachers and students by providing literally hundreds of hours of student activity. The software is not like those programs that provide a nice but short demonstration on a single topic. The full program occupies around 500mB, there are hundreds of screens.
Polychem is normally only available as a site licence.
The software contains literally dozens of topics, simulations, videos and activities at senior high school/ college level provided via download that is playable on both PC and Mac formats. The software has been developed over the past ten years and has been the subject of a number of research studies. These have enabled the software to develop, and determined the ways that it can be used to best advantage by students and teachers.
What level is the program?
Senior high school and college, with an emphasis on the applied nature of chemistry. Most high schools use it for year 12 as well as for some topics at year 11. There are more sections that extend the range of applicable levels.
Students using this interactive multimedia chemistry program are on task for a longer time and are easier to help learn. There has been a more relaxing atmosphere in the class with more time to work on a one to one basis. There has also been less teacher involvement in marking, the students are able to reflect and learn from their own mistakes much more than in the past. This environment can be used a significant teaching tool, not just as a supplement. This means that there is not the stress of a normal classroom. Teachers with more time should be better teachers.
Research has shown that the students using this interactive multimedia chemistry approach are well motivated and enjoy using the software. They prefer the software to traditional types of instruction and have more have fun in chemistry. Students are empowered to take more responsibility for their own learning and can spend time learning, not just copying down notes.
Feedback has been excellent. A common response from the schools is that the software is comparable in cost to a set of textbooks. They have said that the students are often asking to use the computers but usually never have asked to use textbooks.
The software has been in use and constantly upgraded since 1993 and so has been given extensive student testing and development. The 2011 version includes many more chemistry games and 3D activities as well as full screen support.
Insitutions use the software, in such diverse places as the United States, United Kingdom, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.
The program is a stand-alone application, you don't need to be connected to the Internet (although there is Internet capability). There are notes, computer generated interactive questions and exam questions. There are also many simulations of equipment and of chemical processes. There is also a section on organic chemistry that contains notes, interactive sections, simulations questions and nomenclature problems. There are chemistry based games, demonstrations and activities. A key feature is the provision of model answers for the computer generated questions to help student reflection and analysis. And we shouldn't forget the jokes...
The first elevator shows year 12 topics, there also is a second elevator that includes more analytical and industrial applications. Some of the topics lead on to other sections that are not able to be shown.
A topic should be introduced in outline form at the beginning of a class. If an overhead projector is available then it should also be discussed while students follow the notes on their own computers. Students may edit the notes to suit themselves. Students then print the notes and continue for the remainder of the class undertaking the interactive questions, simulations or other activites. List these requirements on the board and just go round and help - it's teaching the way it should be!
Very easy, most students need no help. Even students who have limited computer experience are usually up and learning within minutes. No special computer installation or set-up is necessary.
This has been a development that puts students first. The format, features and use were determined by a action research project as part of a Masters' thesis. The software environment has been the subect of a number of papers in international journals. Chemistry in the past has sometimes not found favour with female students and their feedback has resulted in the software contributing to a non-threatening secure learning environment.
All the text notes on the whiteboard can be modified on screen, even over a network, and printed. They can be permanently modified in an unlocked version. The notes are relatively brief and to the point to prevent paper wastage. The text can be enlarged using the controls for use by the teacher on a classroom projector or to benefit students with visual impairment. Examination questions can be added and altered. A multiple choice template is included so that teachers can add their own questions or construct tests, the results can then be recorded or direct mailed. Facilities are included so that other developers can add topics and modules.
Provided the user has write privileges to a disk, then marks for most activities can be recorded along with names, dates and times.
IBM compatible with Windows as well as Macintosh OSX.
Although there can be no guarantees as individual networks will be set up in particular ways, there should be few network problems. One example has it residing on an NT server, where it can be accessed by both PC and Macintosh at the same time. The inital loading and digital video will take longer using a network but most other parts work fairly quickly. Slow networks will mean the software may take a while to load. Once loaded, it should work fine.
This interactive multimedia chemistry software is written by a chemistry educator and will continue to be developed as it has been over the past years, it is always updated and developed with new ideas. (Version history)
US$295-00 provides an unlimited users site licence. Each copy is individually personalised via the Internet after purchase to protect your investment.
1. Go to this page and download the inspection copy.
2. As described fully on the download page, Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
3. Pay for a site license by direct bank deposit, by check, or PayPal.
4. Your copy will be unlocked by the server.
Back to the introduction or on to some example screens