The guidelines aim at providing science secondary school teachers with the competences to make an effective use of ICT based science teaching learning objects.
4 Appropriate Digital Tools for Teaching Science
4.5 Simulation and visualisation
The University of Colorado has curated the PhET collection of interactive simulations. Most of these can be run in a browser window, though some require a Java runtime environment [Flanagan, D. 2005. Java in a Nutshell. O’Reilly] to be installed. The simulations are indexed according to subject and grade level. There are teacher’s guides for how to use the simulations for teaching, as well as workshops where teachers can practice using simulations. Using the simulations requires a clear learning objective to avoid that the pupils only play around with the settings without carefully observing how the simulated process is affected by modifying its parameters.
The simulations are available in multiple interface languages, so pupils can choose their native language. The quality of the simulations is somewhat variable, with often fairly crude user interfaces.
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