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Archive for the ‘Articles & Papers ’ Category

See PhET in the July Issue of RSC’s Education in Chemistry

Molecule Polarity

We’re excited to see PhET team member Emily Moore’s study featured in  Probing Use of Simulations published in the July 2013 issue of the RSC’s Education in Chemistry.

Emily’s study was designed to provide insight into interactive simulation use during guided-inquiry activities in chemistry classes. In the study, 80 students in a General Chemistry class were given ten minutes to explore PhET simulation Molecule Polarity with no instructions on how to interact with the simulation. Using mouse click data, audio recordings and clicker question responses, she investigated: students’ ability to use the simulation by analyzing the extent to which they explored the simulation, the discussions students engaged in during simulation use, and student perceptions of simulation use.

As RSC Editor, David Read, says, “The analysis of recordings provides a fascinating glimpse of the student perspective, and does support the conclusion that the implicit scaffolding genuinely works.”

To read the full results of the study, see Emily’s article, Interactive Simulations as Implicit Support for Guided-Inquiry, in the RSC’s Chemistry Education and Research Practice. 


Oct 4


See PhET in a Swedish Television Series on STEM Ed

Swedish TV Series on PhET

Last April, we hosted a Swedish TV film producer and crew that were interested in featuring the University of Colorado’s efforts in STEM education in a 30-minute episode for a Swedish television series on education. While the narration is in Swedish, the interviews with Founder, Carl Wieman, CU professors, and students are in English. See PhET in action at CU in the classrooms.

Here’s a link to the special that was aired on May 10, 2013 in Sweden:

“Is there a democratic classroom? Carl Wieman works to improve science education in the United States. At the University of Colorado scientists show that active learning, combined with new pedagogical tools give better results. Through web-based interactive tool, students can simulate the lab at their computers. Carl Wieman says, much of the science that is taught in the classroom allows students to sit with their brains turned off, while the teacher takes care thinking.”


Jul 22


NSF Highlights PhET on Their SEE Innovations Site

The NSF Logo

Read about how PhET Makes Learning Science Fun on the National Science Foundation’s Science, Engineering and Education (SEE) Innovations website.

“The PhET project’s main goals are to make science accessible, understandable and fun. In the new ‘Build A Molecule’ simulation, for example, students learn as they play. They discover that collections of atoms create molecules; that the number, type, and order of the atoms matter; and that the ‘twos’ in 2CO2 mean different things. Students build connections that provide a key foundation to understanding chemistry–connections between chemical names, chemical symbols, atomic arrangements and molecule shapes. In a recent study, fifth-grade students using the simulation demonstrated that they had learned these ideas–ideas that have been documented as difficult even at the college level.”


Jun 27


Open Education Resources Are “Here to Stay”

In a new report by the Software & Information Industry Association, “Guide to the Use of Open Educational Resources in K-12 and Postsecondary Education,” open educational resources, like PhET are “here to stay.” This white paper from the SIIA’s Education Division’s working group was written to provide an increased understanding of OER’s impact and usage in schools.


Apr 2


See PhET On EPISD Digital Discoveries

PhET Director, Kathy Perkins, Featured in Harvard Magazine

Kathy Perkins

Harvard Magazine recently featured PhET Director, Kathy Perkins, Class of ’92 in their June-July issue. Read about how and why she became involved in PhET.


Jul 2


NSF Highlights PhET

The NSF Logo National Science Foundation

NSF has invested over $3M in PhET over the past 9 years. Today, PhET’s work and impact on science education worldwide is highlighted in a new article at the NSF website. We would like to think its been a worthy use of tax-payer dollars!


Jan 30


Read About PhET in Education Week’s Digital Directions

Read about PhET in “Programming Digital Fun Into Science Education” where Noah Podolefsky, a PhET research scientist, talks about how the sims let middle schoolers in Texas better visualize physics concepts.

Have you seen PhET in other published articles? If so, let us know. Or if you’d like to include us in an article, please e-mail


Jul 19


Article on How PhET Sims Help Kids Learn about Chemistry

See our article in the American Chemical Society Division of Chemical Education’s online newsletter from the Committee on Computers in Chemical Education. Our Paper #7, entitled PhET Interactive Simulations: New tools for teaching and learning chemistry, describes our growing efforts to create and research interactive simulations for the teaching and learning of chemistry.


Feb 3


“Factors promoting engaged exploration with computer simulations” in Physical Review Special Topics

See our paper “Factors promoting engaged exploration with computer simulations” in Physical Review ST to learn more about how features of PhET sims enable students to pose questions and answer them in ways that may not be supported by more traditional educational materials.


Nov 22