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ERIC Number: EJ839536
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005
Pages: 8
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1554-9178
When Learning about the Real World is Better Done Virtually: A Study of Substituting Computer Simulations for Laboratory Equipment
Finkelstein, N. D.; Adams, W. K.; Keller, C. J.; Kohl, P. B.; Perkins, K. K.; Podolefsky, N. S.; Reid, S.; LeMaster, R.
Physical Review Special Topics - Physics Education Research, v1 n1 p010103-1--010103-8 Jul-Dec 2005
This paper examines the effects of substituting a computer simulation for real laboratory equipment in the second semester of a large-scale introductory physics course. The direct current circuit laboratory was modified to compare the effects of using computer simulations with the effects of using real light bulbs, meters, and wires. Two groups of students, those who used real equipment and those who used a computer simulation that explicitly modeled electron flow, were compared in terms of their mastery of physics concepts and skills with real equipment. Students who used the simulated equipment outperformed their counterparts both on a conceptual survey of the domain and in the coordinated tasks of assembling a real circuit and describing how it worked. (Contains 38 endnotes and 5 figures.)
American Physical Society. One Physics Ellipse 4th Floor, College Park, MD 20740-3844. Tel: 301-209-3200; Fax: 301-209-0865; e-mail:; Website:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Colorado