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Cal Poly Pomona

Physics Seminar

Friday, April 10, 2009

Developing and Researching PhET simulations for Teaching Quantum Mechanics

Sam McKagan

University of Colorado

Quantum mechanics is difficult to learn because it is counterintuitive, hard to visualize, mathematically challenging, and abstract.  The Physics Education Technology (PhET) Project, known for its interactive computer simulations for teaching and learning physics, now includes 19 simulations on quantum mechanics ( http://phet.colorado.edu/quantum ).  Our simulations include several key features to help students build mental models and intuitions about quantum mechanics: visual representations of abstract concepts and microscopic processes that cannot be directly observed, interactive environments that directly couple students' actions to animations, connections to everyday life, and efficient calculations so students can focus on concepts rather than math.  Like all PhET simulations, these are developed using the results of education research and feedback from educators, and are tested in student interviews and classroom studies. I describe the development of the quantum simulations, research demonstrating their effectiveness, and some insights about student thinking gained from this research.


Refreshments at 4:00 PM. Seminar begins at 4:10 PM.
Building 8, Room 241
For further information, please call (909) 869-4014



 
Last modified on March 29, 2009
 
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