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INTERACTIVE SIMULATIONS IN PHYSICS TEACHING: A CASE ON STUDENTS UNDERSTANDING FLUIDS STATICS

M.V. Carbonell, M. Florez, E. Martínez

Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (SPAIN)
With the introduction of portable technology, the use of computers has become a popular method of physics teaching, especially in the use of virtual reality simulations is increasing rapidly. To help students develop understandings of fluid statics concepts, teachers have developed interactive virtual simulations concerning different topics of this part of physics.
A controlled study has been conducted to evaluate the impact of using these interactive simulations on students’ learning of fluids statics. For this purpose students were asked to voluntarily answer a pre-test covering several concepts concerning fluids statics. After completing the pre-test, students used simulations related with the topics above, solved six problems concerning with these topics and checked the results aided with the simulations and later, students were asked to answer a post-test largely similar to the pre-test.

As the objective of the study was to find differences between the marks obtained on the pre-test and the post-test, results of students who only solved one test weren´t analyzed in this paper. The results of the 20 students who answered the two tests show that the use of interactive simulations can help students in their self learning: 15 students (68,18%) who solved both pre-test and post-test increased the first mark, 22,7% obtained the same mark in both tests and only 9% obtained less mark in the post-test.