Submitted by Mike Meyer, Director of the William G. Jackson CTL
Another simulation site that should be on every science and engineering instructor’s list is PhET. Founded by Carl Wieman’s Nobel prize winnings, the University of Colorado Boulder has created highly-interactive simulation environments for a wide variety of basic systems, including forces and motion, earth sciences, chemistry, biology, fluids, vibrations, electromagnetism, AC and DC circuits, thermodynamics, and general mathematics.
PHET sims generally have very low learning curves, so students can “jump in” and experiment with them on their own. The sims therefore make excellent pre-lab exercises or introductions to topics. PhET’s extensive educational research has helped focus the sims on addressing common scientific misconceptions held by students, and the site offers materials that guide use of the sims should you wish to provide more structure.
If PhET isn’t already on your radar, I hope you’ll take a look. For more information about how these sims are being used in various places around campus, mail firstname.lastname@example.org or feel free to stop by the William G. Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning in the Van Pelt and Opie Library, room 219!