The kind folks at Wavefunction Inc. have supplied me with their full Odyssey general chemistry app suite and I will be reviewing each of these apps throughout the remainder of 2014.
This is the third of these reviews, and I will be discussing the Electron Sharing app which is available for purchase in the app store for $3.99 CAD (https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/odyssey-electron-sharing/id849135421?mt=8)
At first, I was very curious what this app could bring to the table that the previously reviewed VSEPR (http://wordpress.viu.ca/key2chem/2014/07/03/odyssey-vsepr-app-chemistry-ipad-app-review/) and Polar Bonds (http://wordpress.viu.ca/key2chem/2014/07/28/odyssey-polar-bonds-and-molecules-chemistry-ipad-app-review/) apps could not. Unfortunately, I was a bit let down, as discussed in my final impressions.
Most first year general chemistry courses spend time discussing orbitals, electron density and bonding theories. At VIU our CHEM 140 is no exception.
The interface is very similar to the other Odyssey apps previously reviewed. There is a portion where the molecules are featured for manipulation and a portion which lists examples and has tabs for a glossary, some additional comments, and questions. As well, some guidelines towards how students should approach using the app are given in the OBSERVE! tab.
In this app, the molecules are only displayed as nuclei and electron clouds. Molecules can be rotated with a finger swipe, and expanded/shrunk with the pinch of the thumb and index finger. Nuclei can be shown as small spheres, medium-size spheres or the molecule can be shown as a space filling model.
As well, the internuclear distance, and angle tools which have been featured in the two previously reviewed apps are also available.
The main novel feature of this app is that the user may adjust the electron density shown, from very low where almost all (99.9%) of the electrons are enclosed by the isosurface, to very high where only 30% of the electrons are enclosed by the isosurface. There are 30 example molecules that can be examined, and some multiple choice questions are pre-loaded into the app. Similar to the previous apps reviewed, the questions can be scored automatically by the app.
Ultimately, I believe the goal of this app is to provide students/users with a view of molecules beyond the simple ball and stick model. It does this by focusing on nuclei and electron clouds, and does allow for the manipulation of the electron density shown. However, it seems the other Odyssey apps accomplish this already with electrostatic potential maps etc., and almost all modern textbooks include electron cloud and electrostatic potential diagrams already (granted, they are static in nature).
I do not believe there is enough to this app to justify the $3.99 pricetag, and I think many students would lose interest after a few minutes. This app was a little disappointing after reviewing the previous Odyssey apps.