W. Buijs

Major problems in chemistry education are the complicated chemical language and formulas, build up from symbols with all kind of pre- and suffixes, and complicated drawing with hidden theoretical concepts. These problems seriously hinder children in general, and particularly girls, in the basic understanding and perception of three-dimensional size and properties of molecules and materials. Furthermore no connection is made between similar subjects and concepts as they are dealt with in biology, chemistry or physics.
Within chemistry this is unfortunately even true for a range of concepts like bonding, acidity, and the description of reactions within different sub disciplines like organic, inorganic and biochemistry. Molecular Modelling can bridge these gaps in a uniform qualitative and quantitative way. Starting from a normal research package, Wavefunction Inc. with help of Jet-Net DSM has developed the package Spartan STudent for secondary education which is affordable both for schools (teachers) and scholars. It runs on Windows- and Mac-based platforms: network and PC. In principle it can run on serious operating system. At the moment Spartan STudent is in use on >50 high schools.
Molecular Modelling is relatively easily to transfer to other countries all over the world which might be a big plus in the near future as the lack of beta-science educated people becomes very urgent throughout the inudustrial world. Several examples of the possibilities of Spartan STudent in class room situations, and all part of the Dutch chemistry curriculum will be demonstrated. More information is available at the website of Wavefunction and Jet-Net DSM (English version).