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The ChemThink Server Is Working Again!

Category : Uncategorized · (1) Comment · by August 10, 2016

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ChemThink Server Status

Great news for ChemThink users – the ChemThink server is up and running! It took a lot of long nights over the summer, and a complete rewrite of all of the software, but it is finally working again. The server is only available for the two new HTML5 tutorials – the old Flash-based tutorials are incompatible with the new technology. We will work on porting over the remaining tutorials as time permits.

To access the new server-based tutorials, go to either of the following:

Atomic Structure Tutorial

Particulate Nature of Matter Tutorial

You will have the option to create either a teacher account or a student account.  We recommend that every teacher create a mock student account to see the new system from their students’ perspective.

You should have the following capabilities:

As a student:
  1. create an account
  2. log in / log out
  3. reset a forgotten password
  4. do tutorials and question sets (just “Atomic Structure” and “The Particulate Nature of Matter” so far)
  5. see when assignments are due
  6. modify your own student information and join a class – It is also possible to create a student account that is not part of a class, and then join later.
As a teacher:
  1. create an account
  2. log in / log out
  3. reset a forgotten password
  4. create a class
  5. manage the students in a class, including resetting their password
  6. modify your own teacher account information
  7. set due dates for assignments***
  8. track student progress on assignments

A big thank-you to all of the teachers who have donated money for the new server, shared their ChemThink worksheets, helped with testing, and provided moral support and encouragement along the way.

STATUS OF THE CHEMTHINK HTML5 PORT

 

Item Status
ChemThink server and database ✓ Done
Atomic Structure tutorial and questions HTML5 port ✓ Done
The Particulate Nature of Matter tutorial and questions HTML5 port ✓ Done
Ions tutorial and questions HTML5 port ✗ Flash Only, No Server or Database Connectivity
Ionic Formulas tutorial and questions HTML5 port ✗ Flash Only, No Server or Database Connectivity
Ionic Bonding tutorial and questions HTML5 port ✗ Flash Only, No Server or Database Connectivity
Covalent Bonding tutorial and questions HTML5 port ✗ Flash Only, No Server or Database Connectivity
Molecular Shapes tutorial and questions HTML5 port ✗ Flash Only, No Server or Database Connectivity
Gas Laws tutorial and questions HTML5 port ✗ Flash Only, No Server or Database Connectivity
Isotopes tutorial and questions HTML5 port ✗ Flash Only, No Server or Database Connectivity
Chemical Reactions tutorial and questions HTML5 port ✗ Flash Only, No Server or Database Connectivity
Precipitates Lab Simulation HTML5 port ✗ Flash Only, No Server or Database Connectivity

 

ChemThink needs your support!  Please consider donating to help defray the costs of the new server and the HTML5 ports.  To donate, click on the paypal button below, or send an email to developers@nerdislandstudios.com:

 

 


Teachers needed to test ChemThink

Category : Uncategorized · (1) Comment · by June 3, 2016

Calling all teachers to test ChemThink!

This summer we will be making a big push to get the ChemThink backend working. The plans include:

1. student login and progress tracking
2. teacher login and class management
3. user account management
4. anything else necessary to support #1-3 above

Because this is a complete rewrite of the entire system, we have an opportunity to streamline the user login, account creation, and account management process.  The new system should be intuitive and easy for students and teachers to use.  This also means that there will be plenty of bugs to squash along the way, and we will need to develop worksheets/videos to show students how to use the new system.

In order to make sure the system is working as flawlessly as possible before students arrive next school year, we will need a few teachers who will be willing to test ChemThink over the summer by creating teacher accounts and mock classes. I anticipate that the basic functionality will be up and running by mid-July. If you are willing to test things out in late July/early August, please let us know by sending an email to developers@nerdislandstudios.com.

Just to whet your appetite, here are some preliminary screenshots:

Screen Shot 2016-06-03 at 5.58.29 AM

The user login screen – Students and teachers will be greeted by the same login prompt.

Screen Shot 2016-06-03 at 6.03.57 AM

The “Create an Account” screen – Students can sign up individually (as shown here), or as part of a class, where they will enter a six-digit class code provided by their teacher.

Thank you to everyone for the words of support.  Getting everything running again is a huge effort, and it is great to hear from everyone who is using Chemthink!

Please leave your questions or comments below, and if you are interested in helping with testing this summer, please email us at developers@nerdislandstudios.com.

Thanks!

-Chris and the Nerd Island Studios Development Team


HTML5 Chemthink “The Particulate Nature of Matter” is online!

Category : Uncategorized · No Comments · by April 26, 2016

HTML5 PARTICULATE NATURE OF MATTER

Simbucket.com is pleased to announce that the HTML5 version of the Chemthink “Particulate Nature of Matter” tutorial and problem set is now online.  Because the new version is designed from the ground up for HTML5, it means that students with iPads, iPod Touches, or phones can now run the tutorial in a browser without needing an actual computer.

Click the magnifying glass to go to the HTML5 version of “Particulate Nature of Matter”

NOTES FOR TEACHERS:

In creating the HTML5 version, I tried to stay as faithful as possible to the original Flash version, only adding or making changes where it made sense.  For teachers, this means any worksheets or activities you created based on the original should still work with the HTML5 version.  There are some minor tweaks to the text at the end of the tutorial that I made to improve clarity and readability.  In addition, I removed all of the spaces that existed between the coefficients and the formulae.

When a student clicks to launch the app, they are presented with a choice between the tutorial and the problem set.  In practice, I have found that it is easiest to tell my students to open up and run the tutorial in one browser tab while running the problem set in another.  If a student misses a question, I tell them to find the answer in the tutorial before clicking the “continue” button.

Because there is no student login required, students are able to get started very quickly.  This also means that students will need to show you when they are finished with the problem set.  I have included a large gold star on the completion screen so that you can very quickly glance at a student’s screen to see that they are finished.  For students completing the problem sets at home, I have asked that they take a “selfie” with their completion screen.

Due to the overwhelming support in favor of student tracking, I do plan to reintroduce student logins and a class tracking page for teachers.  I am planning to start work on this as soon as I can, but probably no sooner than this summer.


The HTML5 version of “Atomic Structure” and the status of the Chemthink HTML5 port

Category : High School, Middle School, Uncategorized · (4) Comments · by April 8, 2016

HTML5 ATOMIC STRUCTURE

Simbucket.com is pleased to announce that the HTML5 version of the Chemthink “Atomic Structure” tutorial and problem set is now online.  Because the new version is designed from the ground up for HTML5, it means that students with iPads, iPod Touches, or phones can now run the tutorial in a browser without needing an actual computer.  In 1:1 classrooms, this means students won’t need to go to the computers to log in.  It should take approximately five minutes less to get students up and running with the tutorial.

Atomic Structure

Click the magnifying glass to go to the Chemthink “Atomic Structure” tutorial

NOTES FOR TEACHERS:

In creating the HTML5 version, I tried to stay as faithful as possible to the original Flash version, only adding or making changes where it made sense.  For teachers, this means any worksheets or activities you created based on the original should still work with the HTML5 version.

When a student clicks to launch the app, they are presented with a choice between the tutorial and the problem set.  In practice, I have found that it is easiest to tell my students to open up and run the tutorial in one browser tab while running the problem set in another.  If a student misses a question, I tell them to find the answer in the tutorial before clicking the “continue” button.

Because there is no student login required, students are able to get started very quickly.  This also means that students will need to show you when they are finished with the problem set.  I have included a large gold star on the completion screen so that you can very quickly glance at a student’s screen to see that they are finished.  For students completing the problem sets at home, I have asked that they take a “selfie” with their completion screen.

Because of the amount of class time I have saved by not requiring a log in, I am strongly considering permanently eliminating the need to log in.  The drawback to not requiring students to log in is that teachers will have no ability to track student progress, other than physically observing their students’ screens.  If you can’t live without the student tracking feature, please speak up!

STATUS OF FUTURE HTML5 CHEMTHINK CONVERSIONS

From start to finish, the “Atomic Structure” HTML5 port took 12 days to complete.  I am hoping that I can maintain this pace for the remaining 9 tutorial/problem sets, plus the “Chemical Reactions” lab simulation.  At this rate I should finish everything in about 20 weeks, roughly around the beginning of September.


What would you add or change about Chemthink?

Category : High School, Middle School, Uncategorized · (2) Comments · by March 22, 2016

I’ve begun the process of rewriting Chemthink from scratch. At this point I’m looking at reusing all of the existing animations and texts, but we have an opportunity to make the suite of tutorials, question sets, and virtual labs even better. I can’t promise anything because I have only a finite amount of time to finish the project, but I would like to open things up for input from Chemthink users.

So far, the to-do list includes:

  • Recreate all tutorials, problem sets, and labs in HTML5 so they run on mobile
  • Rebuild the user database so that teachers can create and manage classes and students can log in and track their progress

If you could change anything about Chemthink, what would you change?

If you could add any capabilities, what would you add?


The Chemthink Problem Sets are Now Available!

Category : High School, Middle School, Uncategorized · (1) Comment · by March 10, 2016

A few weeks ago I posted 8 of the original Chemthink Flash tutorials. I am excited to announce that the Chemthink problem sets are now available for these tutorials!  The question sets require students to answer a certain number correct before they miss a small number of questions.  As a result they are fairly difficult.  If students struggle on a problem set, they are encouraged to take a look at the tutorial again.

There is no server backend, so if you want to keep track of which problem sets or tutorials you or your students have completed you will need to take a screenshot of the completion screen.

Tutorials and their corresponding problem sets are now available for the following:

The Particulate Nature of Matter
Atomic Structure
Ionic Formulas
Ion Formation
Gas Laws
Covalent Bonding
Ionic Bonding
Molecular Shapes

In addition, over the next few days I post two more problem sets without tutorials: “Chemical Reactions” and “Isotopes”. At the moment the tutorials for each of these are nonfunctional, but I will do my best to get both the tutorials and their question sets working as soon as I can.

Edit 3/10/2016 – All 10 tutorials and problem sets are now available, including “Chemical Reactions” and “Isotopes.

Enjoy!


We are bringing Chemthink back!

Category : High School, Middle School · (12) Comments · by February 25, 2016
We are bringing Chemthink back!

Chemthink has been an outstanding chemistry resource for many years.  Its Flash-based tutorials and quizzes were a great way for…


Melting and Boiling is now online!

Category : Biology, High School, Middle School, Uncategorized · No Comments · by February 16, 2016

Melting and Boiling
This week in physical science we needed a basic simulation to show a particle model of the melting and boiling of ice. “Melting and Boiling” is designed to address very basic questions, such as “What is ice?”, “What is water?”, “What is steam?”, and “What happens to water molecules as temperature rises?”

Would you like to see more basic chemistry simulations? If so, comment below, and I will try to get to them when I can!


Teaching Color Theory With Simulations

Category : High School, Middle School, Physics · No Comments · by February 1, 2016
Teaching Color Theory With Simulations

What do you do with the last two weeks of physical science class before the final?  I needed to come…


New DC Circuit Builder Element – The Knife Switch!

Category : Uncategorized · No Comments · by January 19, 2016

DC Circuit Builder

After over one year on iTunes, Google Play, and online, DC Circuit Builder has proven to be Nerd Island‘s most successful app.  It works well in our physics classrooms because it is simple.  It doesn’t include a lot of bells and whistles, and doesn’t worry about the fact that in most beginning electronics labs you are working in kilo-Ohms and milli-Amps rather than Ohms and Amps.  Students seem to respond to the fact that it is laid out on a grid and that you can draw wires across the screen simply by swiping your finger.  However, as with any app, there will always be room for improvement and new features.  The most common feature request by far is to add switches to the simulation.

Thanks to our school’s time off for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and a little nudging from another teacher, I made the time to add knife switches to the simulation.  Under the “Draw” tab, students can now choose between a wire, a knife switch, a resistor, a light bulb, and an inline ammeter.  By adding switches, students can now model household lighting circuits as well as more complex systems.

I will push the new version out to iTunes and Google Play when I have time, but for now you can find the new version of DC Circuit Builder right here on SimBucket.  If you have previously run the web-based version of DC Circuit Builder, make sure to clear your browser cache so that you can load the most up-to-date version.

Please give it a shot, and let me know what you think!

-Chris


(c) 2014 Nerd Island Studios, LLC