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MERLOT II


    

Peer Review


Periodic Table LIVE!

by Division of Chemical Education, Inc. , JCE Software
 

Ratings

Overall Rating:

5 stars
Content Quality: 5 stars
Effectiveness: 4.75 stars
Ease of Use: 5 stars
Reviewed: Feb 10, 2010 by Chemistry Editorial Board
Overview: This is an interactive periodic table that is amazingly comprehensive with a vast array of high quality data about every element. After selecting an element, a new page appears featuring multi-tabs that contain information on its characteristics, its discovery, where it is found, what its name means or how it got its name, how it is prepared, what its reactions are, and what it is used for. In addition, images of the element are provided including molecular models and videos. A considerable amount of history is provided as well as the biographic details of the discovery and isolation etc. of particular elements. If students are studying the periodic table this is an invaluable resources.
Learning Goals: The purpose of this site is to provide the end user with a single location where essentially all information known about a particular element may be found, along with appropriate crystal forms, images, etc. The site has three major components; a periodic table, a graphing component, and a data table that can be used for organizing data visually. The graphing component allows the user to select or deselect sets of elements for comparison of properties such as densities, atomic numbers, and so on. The table component can be used to view both numerical and non-numerical information, such as the uses and sources of an element.
Target Student Population: The history of the elements along with the images and videos could be used with any group of students though elementary students might be overwhelmed by the mass of physical and atomic data. Introductory chemistry students in high school or college will find this site immensely useful. More advanced students will definitely want to keep this link available for quick and efficient reference.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: No particular knowledge or skills are required. The site provides clear descriptions of what is being measured by certain properties as well as descriptions on how to use the charting and graphing tools.
Type of Material: This site contains reference material about each of the elements. Simulations of atoms and crystals are provided but that is not the major focus of the site.
Recommended Uses: Many applications of this site are possible. The video footage of the reactions of different elements will especially be useful when it is not possible to carry out live reactions. Students can also be given assignments to compare the properties of elements via video footage comparisons or by comparing properties of elements in different regions of the table by period or family, by main group, transition or inner transition metals, by metal vs non-metal or semi-metal. Students could work on a computer in teams or individually.
Technical Requirements: Required Components Minimum recommended resolution for best viewing experience is 1024 x 768. Periodic Table Live! 3rd Edition requires QuickTime 7 and the latest version of Java. These programs are available for free on the web via the links below. Apple QuickTime Player Sun Java Runtime Environment In addition, Safari for Macintosh version 2.0.4 (other versions may be affected as well) does not display the Charting and Sorting applet properly. If you require the charting functionality, please download one of the following alternative browsers: Mozilla Firefox Opera Netscape Navigator The beta version of Safari 3 did not exhibit this problem, so future versions of Safari should be compatible with the charting function.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: The site is amazingly comprehensive with a vast array of high quality data about every element. The crystal structures with selectable parameters for unit cells is particularly valuable. When clicking on physical properties and selecting an individual property, a complete and expansive definition of the property is given as well as the primary reference. This is a very professionally done web site with appropriate primary references.
Concerns: Not all of the videos have functional links in the video section relating to the element. This is a minor thing. Also, the videos, like all videos, are slow to load. Some of the videos are not particularly informative and don't always have a sound overlay which would help.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4.75 stars
Strengths: The layout for the site is excellent. All of the information is presented on a single screen making it easy to navigate to any piece of information about the elements in less than or about 4 clicks, all the while knowing exactly where in the site one is located. Very clever design for presentation of such a huge amount of material. It is exemplary in that regard.
Concerns: In the crystal pictures and images, at least the ball and stick, the cell parameters are in the same color as the rotating image, making it difficult to see the parameters. The visual clarity with data added into the image is not as good as it should be. The amount of material might easily distract students from accomplishing a specific task. It is hard, however, to imagine this is a bad thing since this site is bound to excite students about pursuing further information and knowledge.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: The layout for the site is excellent. All of the information is presented on a single screen making it easy to navigate to any piece of information about the elements in less than or about 4 clicks, all the while knowing exactly where in the site one is located. Very clever design for presentation of such a huge amount of material. It is exemplary in that regard.
Concerns: There are a few minor navigation flaws. For example, in the description tab, when clicked, a new set of information opens up in the local region of the screen. There are some hot links at the top of that screen that drive the reader to subsections of the text. However, in so doing, the hot links at the top of the panel are wiped clean. An extra region that preserves the presence of those hot links would greatly help the user in this region of the site.

Other Issues and Comments: The layout for the site is excellent. All of the information is presented on a single screen making it easy to navigate to any piece of information about the elements in less than or about 4 clicks, all the while knowing exactly where in the site one is located. Very clever design for presentation of such a huge amount of material. It is exemplary in that regard.