September 2014 | Tech Tips
ChemEd X: Online Chemistry Teacher Community
By Deanna Cullen
The Journal of Chemical Education (JCE) has served the chemistry education community for more than 90 years. Many of the materials that high school chemistry teachers use are written about in JCE manuscripts.
Historically, high school teachers were offered resources in addition to the print version of JCE via JCE Online. The website offered digital resources for chemistry teachers, including software collections, assessment resources, and other items of interest specifically for the high school teaching audience. In 2010, ACS Publications purchased the rights to the print version of JCE. However, that agreement did not include acquiring JCE Online.
Because the JCE Online material was popular among many teachers, it was important to those stakeholders to find a new home for the online resources. Jon Holmes, managing editor of JCE, is primarily responsible for developing a website that not only houses the JCE Online legacy material but also provides a venue for interaction and collaboration among chemistry teachers. It’s called the Chemical Education Xchange (ChemEd X), and the ACS Division of Chemical Education provides support for this website.
ChemEd X is intended to provide high school and precollege chemistry teachers with a platform for sharing ideas, activities, and other resources. ChemEd X can be used to brainstorm ideas, start a conversation about a topic of interest, develop collaborations for projects, and more.
There are several ways to participate in the ChemEd X community. Everyone can view public content, but if you register for a free membership, you can access all public resources; comment on public posts, including activities, articles, picks, and blogs; and bookmark favorite posts and resources you want to come back to. Members can also subscribe to email notifications so they know when new content is added to the site.
Members can request a personal blog forum to informally share ideas. They are encouraged to contribute their own ideas to conversations and possibly make connections for future collaborations by commenting on other people’s blog posts. Comments are moderated and reviewed to ensure that the material is correct and meets the standards of the chemistry education community.
For a fee, you can become a subscriber and gain access to all resources on the site, including JCE Online legacy material. Subscribers can also post comments to subscriber-only content. Other resources that subscribers have access to include the “Chemistry Comes Alive!” collection, which has pictures, animations, and videos of chemical reactions and proper lab techniques; the “ChemPages Laboratory” resource, which reviews lab techniques and equipment; Inorganic Nomenclature and Organic Nomenclature drill and practice tutorials; and other resources that support specific chemistry topics. There is also a collection of videos, the “ChemEd X Video Collection,” available only to subscribers. The videos are being updated so they can play on any device. Many are available now, but this is just one example of the time commitment required for reformatting the JCE Online legacy material.
ChemEd X is currently integrated with Facebook and Twitter. Social media provides another venue for starting conversations and developing future contributions and materials for the website. The site was built with tablets and smartphones in mind, so ChemEd X should perform well on any device.
Although JCE and ChemEd X are separate entities, there is a shared goal of developing high school-level chemistry teachers into authors. Some conversations on ChemEd X have been developed into research-based manuscripts submitted to JCE or similar publications. And the site provides an opportunity for teachers to collaborate globally—ChemEd X has members around the world.
Administrators invite contributions to the website, and interested authors are encouraged to submit manuscripts for consideration by completing the “request to contribute” form. Teachers may have digital resources that the chemistry education community will find valuable, and they should contact ChemEd X administrators to see if collaborations could be possible. There is a ChemEd X advisory panel made up of chemistry teachers who provide peer review of submissions.
ChemEd X is a powerful resource for the high school and introductory college-level chemistry teacher. The site is full of multimedia and curriculum resources that have been contributed by teachers who have used the materials in their own classrooms. The ability for teachers to interact with thousands of their peers is certainly an indispensable feature of the site. Chemistry teachers are encouraged to visit ChemEd X and become a member of the community.