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.