Teaching Electric Circuits by Guided Inquiry in Virtual and Real Laboratory Environments
For years, several researchers and teachers support that involving students in laboratory-based activities in science contributes not only to the construction of conceptual knowledge but also to the development of a scientific way of thinking. However, research studies suggest that during experimentation based on hands-on experiments, students are frequently preoccupied with handling equipment setups and taking measurements, which questions the effectiveness of laboratory based on hands-on experiments as only one of its kind environment for promoting scientific understanding (Psillos and Niedderer 2002; Niedderer et al. 2003). With the advance of ICT technology, virtual laboratories have emerged as powerful environments as well. Virtual laboratories simulate real science laboratories on a computer screen, in a visual and functional manner, by exploiting modern multimedia technology and especially user interaction, immediate and realistic variable change, and equipment handling (Kocijancic and O’Sullivan 2004). For example, using simulations to model a phenomenon or process, students can perform experiments by changing variables (e.g., resistances in a circuit) and then observe the effects of their changes (e.g., the current). In this way, students may investigate the properties of the underlying model (Ohm’s law).
The development of OLLE has been funded by the Research Academic Institution of Computer Technology (RACTI) and the Greek Ministry of Education, Lifelong Learning and Religious Affairs in the framework of the Chrysallides project.
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