Emily Moore (University of Utah, USA), Katherine Perkins, Noah Podolefsky (University of Colorado, USA)
The development of PhET simulations (sims) involves an iterative process of design by a team of content, pedagogical and interface experts, informed by individual student interviews. But does this design process result in sims that students can use and engage with in a classroom setting? We present the results of a study on the use of PhET sims (Balancing Chemical Equations, Molecule Shapes and Molecule Polarity) in three large lecture chemistry classes with about 100 students in each class. The students were given 5-10 minutes to play with the sims in self-selected groups without any explicit instructions of how to interact with the sim. Using audio recordings, screen capture and clicker questions, we investigate students’ facility with the sims and students ability to engage with the sims in a large lecture setting.