Teacher Review for PhET Interactive Simulations

PhET provides students with experiences without the hassle of lab experiments

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My Subjects English Language Arts, Math, Science
My Rating
Learning Scores
Engagement
Pedagogy
Support
My Students Liked It Yes
My Students Learned Yes
I Would Recommend It Yes
Setup Time Less than 5 minutes
Great for Further application
Individual
Knowledge gain
Practice
Small group
Student-driven work
Great with Advanced learners
General
Low literacy
How I Use It
I would use PhET as a source to simulate experiments and concepts that cannot be displayed in the classroom or lab. This application is especially useful in mathematics and science content areas. Ideally, students could work in small groups on a computer to explore the simulation and work through a set of procedures and questions that align with their expected findings. The best thing about a simulation as opposed to a physical experiment is that there are no errors, misreadings, or mistakes that can be made. Results with be right on and consistent amongst all students and classes.
My Take
Overall, I would continue to utilize PhET Interactive Simulations in my classroom. I think that being able to see and learn specific concepts through a virtual experience is just as effective as conducting a lab experiment, to a certain degree. I do not think PhET should be used in place of every class activity. If it is reasonable and practical to complete the exploration physically in class, then it should be done that way. However, if the lab is very prone to error, expensive, or dangerous to conduct in a classroom, PhET is definitely the resource and application to use in place to cover the material.