1 Universidad de Cantabria (SPAIN)
2 Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN22 Proceedings
Publication year: 2022
Pages: 8746-8753
ISBN: 978-84-09-42484-9
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2022.2093
Conference name: 14th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2022
Location: Palma, Spain
The teaching of subjects with an important practical and applied component requires the appropriate combination of teaching methodologies and simulation tools. It is a common practice the use of scientific software to carry out practical sessions that allow the students to consolidate the knowledge acquired and to develop modeling and computation skills. On the other hand, in recent years there has been a growing interest in promoting virtual environments for the development of practical activities. In this context, a virtual simulation laboratory can be understood as an interactive virtual space for carrying out activities that allow the student to develop skills in a process of progressive construction and with an eminently active role.

This work shows how the use of computational tools, such as the Python programming language and Jupyter notebooks, can be used to develop interactive teaching materials that optimize the acquisition of practical skills related to computing in students from different disciplines. In particular, the experience has been developed both in students of applied mathematics subjects in engineering, and in students of subjects related to computer science in business management.

The Jupyter open source project emerged to create a computational platform that could be used with different languages. A computational Jupyter notebook is a multimedia document with information elements (cells) that can include plain or enriched text with the Markdown language, elements defined with HTML code, LaTeX formulas, Web resources, images and videos, and, finally, cells with code that can be executed within the document itself. That is, lines of explanatory text, command lines and graphical representations can coexist in the same environment. That allows teachers offer students materials that integrate all the necessary elements for the practices (instructions, practice scripts, theoretical concepts, solved examples and exercises to be carried out), favoring a more autonomous work and facilitating its realization in a blended or even at a distance mode. In addition, thanks to the available technologies, practical sessions based on cloud computing can be organized from these self-contained multimedia materials. This last possibility implies an undoubted advantage, as it does not require the student to have important computational resources available. In this way, practical sessions can even be organized using smartphones or tablets. The experience carried out by the authors demonstrates the good reception by the students and the possibility of organizing sessions in which theory and practice reinforce each other.
Python, Jupyter notebooks, virtual laboratory.