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Abstract Title: Research on Student Use of Simulations
Abstract: The Physics Education Technology (PhET) project develops interactive, research-based simulations of physical phenomena that emphasize interactivity, animation, and real world connections. We are seeking a better understanding of how students learn from simulations (sims) in order to inform both simulation design and use.  We find that the type of guidance provided to the student controls the amount of independent exploration and inquiry in which the students engage. It is common for teachers to create activities that include specific instruction on how to manipulate the sim, but too much
instruction seems to limit the benefits of a complex simulated environment.  We will report on our recent research in this regard, involving careful study of students' interaction with a few select sims.  Results of this study improve our understanding of how students learn complex physical concepts using sims, and have implications for designing effective sim-based in-class activities, homework and labs.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Archie Paulson
University of Colorado
Department of Physics 390 UCB
University of Colorado
Boulder, CO 80309-0390
Phone: 303-735-0627
and Co-Presenter(s)
Kathrine Perkins *
Wendy Adams *
(* contact and affiliation information is the same as the primary author's)