The ACELL project: Student participation, professional development, and improving laboratory learning

Justin R. Read, Mark A. A. Buntine, Geoffrey T. Crisp, Simon C. Barrie, Adrian V. George, Scott H. Kable, Robert B. Bucat, Ian M. Jamie

Abstract


The Australian Physical Chemistry Enhanced Laboratory Learning (APCELL) project (Barrie, Buntine, Jamie and Kable 2001a, 2001b, 2001c), and its all-of-chemistry successor, ACELL (Read, 2006a) are examples of contemporary efforts to meet the challenge of engaging students in laboratory activities which are both chemically and educationally sound. The project is collaborative; it overcomes many of the significant constraints imposed by the unavailability of time from individual teachers, by drawing on the resources and expertise of multiple institutions as well as chemical and pedagogical expertise. The project continues to produce a range of tangible outcomes, including chemistry education research publications, a database of freely available tested experiments, and pedagogical design tools (all available from http://acell.chem.usyd.edu.au/). Objective evidence is required to support the putative notion that the A(P)CELL concept is of benefit to educators as they design and evaluate laboratory programs; collection and evaluation of such empirical data is essential if views such as those of Hawkes (2004) are to be effectively challenged. In this paper we report on the views of staff and student delegates to the February 2006 ACELL Educational Workshop.

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