J.A. Molina Bolivar1, F. Galisteo González2

1University of Málaga (SPAIN)
2University of Granada (SPAIN)
In Physics education the observation of natural phenomena is the most obvious starting point of the scientific approach to knowledge. In spite of this trivial remark, the direct observation of physical objects/processes is usually inserted as a reduced number of laboratory experiments or examples showed by the teacher to confirm theory. In this context the paper reports on the development of a virtual laboratory based on the use of video analysis of experiments. The video analysis gives the students simple and easy way to understand the process of movement. With the possibility of using high-speed video camera to record physics experiments, the analysis of videos is perfect for incorporation into any physics learning/teaching environment. The virtual laboratory is composed by a set of simple experiments hosted in the MOODLE platform. In the academic activity, the students have to use free automated video analysis software based on image recognition (Tracker) to measure the position as a function of time of a physical system in order to resolve an experimental problem. Exploring the laws of Physics in this way can be amazing for the students because this educational software is illustrative, interactive and inspires them to think creatively.

In the present academic year we tested the virtual laboratory at the programme of Physics I for the grade of Electrical Engineering in the University of Málaga and for the grade of Chemistry in the University of Granada. Comparison of the traditional teaching of experiments with the method of the video analysis has revealed that the latter method is easier for the students and they have fun when analyzing the videos. It has been confirmed that the competencies of the students and their knowledge are developed and increased by working with Tracker. This virtual laboratory helps students to understand the principles of Physics and makes Physics a lot more fun.

This work has been financially supported by the Project PIE13-005 University of Málaga