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Development and evaluation of a programmable simulation tool for learning physics

Tunca, Erkin
This study developed the software named as أPhysical Worldؤ which is a virtual laboratory program focusing on Newtonian Physics, which supports two modes called the أstudying by observationؤ and أstudying by programmingؤ. In أstudying by observationؤ mode, the motion is calculated due to equations known by the computer. And in أstudying by programmingؤ mode, students write equations of motion and the computer calculates motion due to those equations. A total of six high school second grade students studied force and motion concepts, using Physical World with assistance of one instructor, six hours each. Two of the students studied with أstudying by observationؤ, two of the students studied with أstudying by programmingؤ, and two of the students studied with use of both of the modes. All students received a test with 10 items chosen from FCI as a pretest and received the same test as a posttest. Students̕ test results were examined to find effects of Physical World̕s two modes and use of both of the modes over misconceptions about physics. Their actions and responds were examined to find Physical World̕s effects on scientific thinking for each of the three groups. Four specialists from related fields examined the software and filled evaluation forms and stated feedbacks. From the responds of students during the studies, evidence of positive effect of using the أstudying by programmingؤ mode on scientific thinking was found. And evidence of positive effect of using both modes on misconceptions was found.