Dynamic and Interactive Visualization Through the Use of Technology

By Scott A. Sinex,
Professor and Chair of the Physical Sciences Department

Dynamic and interactive visualization is a major goal of instructional technology in the Physical Sciences Department. Professor Scott Sinex, who is chair of the department, along with other department members, use the Internet or web-based learning to foster the learning-centered approach in the classroom. 

 Through the use of browser software, the dynamic, interactive, and three-dimensional

aspects of many topics can be enhanced compared to the traditional, static, flat view in the text. Faculty have incorporated a variety of software packages, which are accessible by our students as freeware, in chemistry physics, and other physical science courses.

Molecular visualization with Chime, simulations using Stella, and interactive Excel spreadsheets are used in chemistry. Additionally, data analysis using the graphing calculator and Excel are used. Our students spend more time in the computer lab with hands-on, minds-on assignments in and out of the classroom.

Visualization by the computer has given us a phenomenal tool to show students many conceptual ideas that were very difficult to approach in a traditional fashion. Dynamic graphical presentation of mathematical models, which are derived by computer data collection in the laboratory, allows students and professors alike to study variables in a fast and easy fashion.

We are presently exploring the use of Flash for creating animations, especially as we venture into on-line instruction. 

For examples of learner-centered activities, see http://academic.pg.cc.md/us/~ssinex

And visit http://academic.pg.cc.md.us/psc to view support provided for our students.