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Abstract Title: Computer Simulations to Classrooms: Cultural Tools for Learning Physics
Abstract: The PhET computer simulations (sims) have been demonstrated as successful tools for teaching and learning physics. In this poster we situate PhET sims in a socio-cultural-historical context, focusing on the Wave Interference sim as an example. Sims are cultural tools designed to embody certain norms and practices of the physics community, particularly learning through exploration. This poster focuses on the interaction between three scales of cultural tools: representations (graphs, pictures, etc.), learning tools (sims), and learning environments. Sims can strongly influence the nature of student engagement in the classroom, but they are not magic pills. Classroom environments can drive certain types of activity, but we are not fated to recapitulate traditional educational practices. We will examine critical features of tools across these three scales which support student learning through engaged exploration.
Abstract Type: Targeted Poster
Targeted Session: Broadening Our Lens: Socio-Cultural Perspectives in PER (Part I: artifacts and mediation)

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Noah Podolefsky
University of Colorado