Adopting technological tools to teach Chemistry

With the aim to share innovative teaching methods for Chemistry teachers to apply in their online teaching, UTAR Centre for Learning and Teaching (CLT) parked under the Faculty of Business and Finance (FBF) organised a webinar titled “Teaching of Chemistry” on 28 August 2021 via Zoom. The talk was conducted in Malay language and saw more than 70 participants.

Invited to be the speakers were Science and Chemistry teachers Tuan Juhaida binti Tuan Muhammad Amin from SMK Seri Titiwangsa, Kuala Lumpur and Siti Faridah binti Matt from SMK Derma, Perlis. The webinar was moderated by Faculty of Arts and Social Science (FAS) Department of Languages and Linguistics lecturer M. Bharathi.

Bharathi as the moderator

Tuan Juhaida is a Chemistry and Science teacher who has 19 years’ of teaching experience. Last year, she was awarded “Guru Ikon STEM JPWPKL 2020” and “Guru Inovatif Pdp dalam talian JPWPKL 2020” for her capability in utilising technological tools for online teaching.

 “The teaching methods should change from time to time according to the need of the students in different era. Thus, as a teacher we also need to learn from time to time in order to improve ourselves.” said Tuan Juhaida.

During the lockdown period, Tuan Juhaida created an account on Youtube and Tiktok for her online teaching. Over 80 videos related to Science were uploaded by Tuan Juhaida on her Youtube channel. Recently, she also tried to upload her teaching videos on Tiktok when she found out that Tiktok was a popular platform for the youngsters. She stressed on the importance to keep all teaching videos short and precise.

Tuan Juhaida during her talk session

“My teaching videos are uploaded on Youtube and Tiktok so that my students could replay the videos if they failed to catch up what I have taught them during the online classes. Besides, they could also use the videos to do revision before their exams,” Tuan Juhaida said.

In order to make her class interesting, Tuan Juhaida also presented hands-on activities, such as experiments on Chemistry and Science. Another way to increase students’ interest is to apply games and simulation while teaching.

Tuan Juhaida uses simple materials to conduct hands-on activities

The students enjoying learning by playing games

Tuan Juhaida demonstrating how to use JavaLab in Chemistry teaching

Throughout her session, Tuan Juhaida showed how she applies technological tools in Chemistry and Science teaching. She explained, “For teaching platform, you could choose either Zoom, Google Meet, Webex Meeting or Microsoft Teams. If you want to search for online teaching tools like whiteboard, Drawboard.pdf, OneNote, Notability or GoodNotes can be the options. I always conduct my assessment using Google Classroom, Google Form,, Padlet and Microsoft Form. When you want to have a real-time interaction, online tools such as Wooclap, Nearpod, Jamboard or are very useful.”

She mentioned several photo and video editing tools, “I use Canva for all my image design. VN, Kinemaster, FilmoraGo and CapCut are applications for video editing.” She also recommended several teaching websites, such as Classdojo, JavaLab, Blooket, Nearpod and Kahoot. 

Tuan Juhaida sharing how to use padlet for online teaching

On the other hand, Siti Faridah likes to minimise the use of technological tools in her online teaching. “You can minimise the use of technology as long as you are able to make the teaching interesting. Then, you will be able to save time for class preparation,” said Siti Faridah.

She chose Google Meet as her only teaching platform while using WhatsApp as a platform to communicate with her students. She explained, “Google Meet platform has a polls section. I always use it to interact with students because it is quick and easy to operate. Another function provided on Google Meet is the ‘breakout rooms’. It allows students to split into smaller groups for discussion. From here, the teacher can categorise the students into different sub-groups and set timer for their group discussion.”

Siti Faridah during her presentation

Siti Faridah moved on to demonstrate the functions of Google Docs and Google Slides for online teaching. She said, “I will use Google Docs and Google Slides for explanation. The students can copy and edit the templates on Google Docs for their homeworks.”

She also makes videos for online teaching. She said, “For videos, I will try to limit the time within three minutes. Make it short and simple so that it would be easier for students to understand. If teachers don’t have any ideas to create their own teaching video, you can share videos created by other people. Please feel free to search for the sources on Tiktok or Youtube.”

Siti Faridah showing how to use Google Docs for teaching

Siti Faridah showing her own videos on Youtube

Speaking of Science experiments, Siti Faridah recommended the Phet Simulation website. “I like to use Phet Simulation because I can get some ideas or chemistry models from the site. Through Phet Simulation, teachers and students can do experiment virtually. There are many tools on Phet Simulation site. It is very convenient to use it for Science teaching which requires different experiments,” she said. The talk ended with an extensive yet insightful Q&A session.

Siti Faridah showing how to look for interactive simulations for Chemistry experiments

Siti Faridah showing how to use Phet Simulation for Chemistry teaching

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