Page last updated at 13:58 GMT, Sunday, 15 February 2009

Virtual experiments help pupils

Chemistry lesson
Teachers have called for more practical support to be given in science

A new learning programme is allowing pupils to practise chemistry experiments online before they are let loose in the school laboratory.

LabSkills was developed with funding from the Royal Society of Chemistry and drug company Pfizer, working with the University of Bristol.

The programme was created after calls for teachers to be given more practical support in science.

It also teaches instrument reading and lab techniques.

Dr Paul Hill, a chemistry teacher and head of e-learning at St Mary Redcliffe and Temple School, Bristol, said: "LabSkills is a fantastically interactive tool that helps students come into the lab prepared and informed about the practical work they are about to carry out.

"It helps students make the difficult link between theoretical chemistry and practical activities."

Dr Tony Wood, vice president and worldwide head of medicinal chemistry at Pfizer Global, said: "By encouraging students to prepare for their experimental work, it will help them to view practical chemistry as something much more than a recipe-following exercise.

"Through enhanced independence they will be better equipped to meet the future needs of industry."

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