Tools for High-Tech Tool Use: A Framework and Heuristics for Using Interactive Simulations

Daniel Adam Rehn, Emily B Moore, Noah S Podolefsky, Noah D Finkelstein


As the use of computer-based science simulations in educational environments grows, so too does the need for research on productive use of simulations. This paper presents ways to create effective assignments that accompany an interactive simulation in a variety of educational environments. A framework that supports the creation of assignments with simulations in any environment is provided, as well as a set of heuristics, or strategies, for how to create assignments based on the particular environment and simulation being used. Case studies of use in college and middle school science classes are provided to illustrate implementation of the heuristics, and how the heuristics can be used to promote productive use of a simulation.


assignment design; heuristics; physics; simulations; science; middle school; undergraduate

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