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new approaches to games for learning organic c.DOC 5页

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New Approaches to Games for Learning Organic Chemistry Bradley, J.-C.; Lucci, A. and Thaker, Y. Drexel University, Department of Chemistry, 32nd and Chestnut Streets, Philadelphia, PA 19104 (bradlejc@) Abstract We report on the implementation of two gaming strategies to catalyze the learning of organic chemistry. The first game, "Wheel of Orgo", involves play in a face-to-face classroom context. Students take turns drawing reactions on a tablet PC to complete a multi-step synthesis. In the second game, "OrgoFrag", students explore a map within a First Person Shooter (FPS) environment (Unreal Tournament). The rooms are decorated with organic chemistry concepts and reactions on the walls and doors. Knowledge of the material allows for safe navigation through the map. The game can be played either alone as a maze or against bots and other players in Death Match mode. Games in Organic Chemistry Multi-step organic synthesis is a skill that many students find difficult to master. Discovering a chemically plausible path from a starting compound to a target product can involve considerable trial and error. It requires practice to develop the necessary skills. Organic synthesis has been compared to chess (Todd 2005). In both cases, the combination of possible steps leads to very large possibility spaces. As a consequence, winning is likely to involve the application of successful strategies. In the case of chess, winning consists in defeating an opponent. In organic synthesis, a better strategy leads to a superior synthesis in terms of number of steps, avoiding side products, cost of materials, difficulty in purification, etc. With this perspective, it should not be surprising that some students will spontaneously attempt to design syntheses for the fun of it. However, from the experience of one of the authors (JCB) in teaching organic chemistry for several years, very few students take this approach. This may be the case because skill and challenge must be commensurate for


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