Do they really get it, or are they just giving me the correct answer?

This article by Dr Niki Kaiser was originally posted on the Kaye Chem Notebook. I wanted to share it with you in the context of ‘future-ready education’. It is no longer enough to teach knowledge, even if that is sufficient to pass an exam. To succeed in the future, our students need a deep and intuitive understanding of their subject. Few writers address this with either the clarity or the practical teaching background Niki does.



One of the topics I most like to teach in chemistry is ionization energies: explaining their relative magnitudes, and outlining the consequent evidence for a shell structure in atoms. Students must draw on a range of fundamental ideas to master the new concepts that I introduce to them and, although they tend to struggle at first, they eventually “get it”, and the joy that they Continue reading

An A-level in Good Character? Yes, we can do that.

The Battle of Waterloo, it is said*, was won on the playing fields of Eton. Building character, not imparting knowledge, was traditionally seen as the primary task of the British public school and, subsequently, its state-funded inheritors. The quintessential attitude was sportsmanship. Not winning or losing, but playing the game right.


As time went on knowledge and skills came to be valued equally, as they should be, but somehow that pendulum just kept on swinging and now Continue reading

Four ways to use Gap Analysis


The core of the Yacapaca mission is to take as much of the drudge work out of teaching as possible, to leave you free to actually teach. After you have run a quiz, Yacapaca presents you with automated gap analysis*. Here is how to use it.

From the Assignments tab, click on the Continue reading

What Second Life teaches us about chatbots in education


Do you remember the virtual reality environment Second Life? Seven years ago it had over 20M users and it was being hyped as the place where we would all soon transact our business and social lives. Now gone and forgotten.

Well, not quite. Second Life continues to deliver real value in applications such as town planning, or the teaching of History. Their journey has been a classic example of Continue reading