Interactive simulations with immediate feedback encourage students to continue trying even when not successful!
Because it was a new concept, this was a controlled way for student to find out for themselves what they did or did not understand free from judgemental eyes. As the teacher I was excited to receive a higher than normal influx of student questions as compared to giving direct instruction prior to completing an activity. Students, quite simply, were more actively engaged with the learning.
How I Use It
The students used an interactive simulation, Free Body Diagrams, involving a concept with little previous discussion and no direct instruction. The simulation was easy to use, and the students appreciated the instant feedback. Students were determined to get all parts of the activity correct The only negative that the students encountered was their work not being saved. The classtime ended before many completed the activity and closing the website meant that they needed to start over. They really wanted to see that they could successfully complete all parts of the activity.