THE NEW PREREQUISITE
temperature. Special software maps the
progress of the experiment, and students
can graph the outcome with the press of a
button. The result is more accurate and
reliable, the focus-group students agreed.
"Last year in Chern 11 lab, I got one
unknown wrong," one student said. "This
year with the computer, I didn't have to do
a whole lot ofcalculating and I got both
answers right." An instructor inquired
whether allowing the computer to do the
work got in the way oflearning basic chem-
istry. The students generally agreed that, to
the contrary, using the computer in lab
allowed them to concentrate on the science.
The technology may be cutting edge, but
as Hooker liked to say, it's hard to stay ahead
of the curve in information technology.
Carolyn Morse, the chemistry department's
general laboratory manager, proves the point.
She provided a voice of experience in
selecting the hardware and software. She
learned the ropes in the chem labs at Chapel
Hill High School, where students have been
S e p IC 111b e ri Oc/0 b er 2 000
using similar, but less sophisticated, technology
since the early to nud-1990s. "What we have
done in the labs is at least sinruar to what
I had done [in the high school labs];' Morse
said. "The complexity and ideas here are
( 1 don)t know what
I'd do if 1 couldn)t
e-mail teachers. They)d
probably just think
more sophisticated, but I was already familiar
with a lot of the software vendors, [with]
what was possible."