1 Escuela de Ingenierías Industriales Universidad de Valladolid (SPAIN)
2 Universidad del Norte, Barranquilla (COLOMBIA)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2013 Proceedings
Publication year: 2013
Pages: 6098-6103
ISBN: 978-84-616-3847-5
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 6th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 18-20 November, 2013
Location: Seville, Spain
The implementation of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA), started officially in 1999 with the Bologna Declaration signed by the ministers of 29 European countries, implies an evolution of teaching/learning paradigms. In this framework, the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) has become one of the main pillars, whose main objective is to enable a conceptual change, with a shift from teacher-centred content-based curriculum design towards student centred learning (SCL). These changes are laying the foundations for a new system adapted to respond to a growing variety of student needs.

One of the most important tasks for educators, in this context, is to generate contents that will facilitate a student’s independent learning. On the other hand, laboratory experiments represent, for engineering and science students, a very important reinforcement for learning concepts and improving their education. However, as physical labs are expensive, needing high financial support, while also being resource-intensive in terms of space and student time, they are sometimes replaced by simulated laboratories. However, even if the learners also seem to prefer simulations to other methods of knowledge transfer, only laboratory experience provides opportunities for students to interact directly with the material world, data collection techniques, models, and theories of science. So, experimentation is essential to achieve good training. In this context, although the presence of students in the university laboratories is critical, it is also very interesting to have other space laboratories. Indeed, using the appropriate devices (sensors, personal computers) and software, it is possible to design real low cost experiments (preparation, acquisition, treatment and results presentation) to be performed outside conventional laboratories. These low-cost laboratories available for students and teachers can be beneficial for both. Furthermore, teachers can easily incorporate inexpensive laboratory demonstrations in traditional lecture courses; on the other hand, the students find a new exciting laboratory channel, allowing them to be independent of location and timetable.

In this context, in order to implement new active methodologies in the classroom which increase the motivation and active participation of students, the Condensed Matter Physics Department of the University of Valladolid ( is developing diverse low-cost tools in order to implement different experiments relating to elemental physics. In this communication we present an application software used to study some important properties of sound waves (sound speed, interference and diffraction effects, absorption of sound, Doppler Effect, etc.). This software, developed with LabView, only uses a microphone and speakers connected to the computer's audio input-output and therefore it is very easy to be implemented and can be used outside the laboratory. In order to improve the developed software we have made a comprehensive assessment of the application with a group of students of Universidad del Norte (Barranquilla, Colombia) in Heat and Wave course We present here the main results of student’s feedback.
Physics, sound waves, low-cost, laboratories.