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Focus on Outreach

2 March 2010

Peter Hollamby is the Innovation and Engagement Coordinator in the School of Chemistry. Peter’s duties involve curriculum support for A level chemistry, and developing support mechanisms which aid first year undergraduate students in their transition to university education.

Much of the emphasis of Peter’s work is in the area of e-learning. The School of Chemistry has recently been awarded a University Innovative Learning and Teaching grant of £20,000 to develop e-learning resources (DVD, internet) for IR spectroscopy. Other schools in the university (Pharmacy in particular) are also involved, to give this valuable resource broad applicability and appeal.

A new chemistry video resource funded by the Royal Society of Chemistry and the Gatsby Science Enhancement Programme (SEP) and developed by Peter Hollamby and Prof. Peter Edwards is due to be distributed to all UK schools during 2010. This is in the form of a DVD containing 43 video clips highlighting parts of the Periodic Table. It allows teachers to show their students some chemical reactions that they would not otherwise be able to demonstrate in a school laboratory.

More recently the School has received support from HEFCW to develop e-learning materials to support A level chemistry. The projects contribute to the Royal Society of Chemistry’s national strategy CFOF (Chemistry for our Future), part the wider STEM approach which aims to promote the study of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. This resource will eventually be provided to every school in Wales, and the Royal Society of Chemistry are evaluating this resource with a view to making it available throughout the UK.

A further resource, focusing on inorganic chemistry and UV-visible spectroscopy has been developed by Mike Thomas, RSC Teaching Fellow 2008/9, and will be available shortly.

Although this keeps Peter extremely busy, he is working with Prof. Peter Edwards on a touring series of chemistry shows that focus on exciting chemical reactions that produce large amounts of noise, brightly coloured flames and a lot of smoke. Of course, this is always done very safely! If you get a chance to see the team in action, don’t miss it!

Peter is also involved in the international Chemical Education community, and has spoken on e-learning topics at conferences in Mauritius, New Zealand, Australia, Scotland and Cyprus. He will be returning to New Zealand in April 2010 to run teacher-training courses in eight centres throughout the country, and will also be visiting Poland and Taiwan.