Study vs Fun: game as an effective tool of learning?
Updated: Jan 31, 2019
Introduction to the modern approach
Nowadays a great deal of scientific studies is aimed to facilitate the efficient usage and integration of information technologies and innovative software into the education process. Not surprisingly, that the results of these researches often turn out be a compromise between efficiency, availability and, which is most important, the mathematical a physical accuracy. But within last years the technological development permitted to make these programs more efficient, fast and accurate that makes them almost an ideal alternative to the existing education tools. These tools help students to obtain a broad, profound, and sympathetic understanding of society, culture, economics and international politics, past and present, and acquire the valuable communicating skills to work across differences and distances by providing an array of tools for acquiring information and for thinking and expression permitting more children more ways to enter the learning enterprise successfully. These same experiences provide the skills that will enable students to live productive lives in the global, digital, information-based future they all face. One of the most eminent examples of such technologies and their efficient application in practice is virtual physical laboratory. In its broadest definition the virtual physical laboratory is software or a set of software, that implements the mathematical model of physical processes. The role of such software increases tremendously if we are talking about natural sciences like chemistry, physics and mathematics. The reasons are quite evident: sometimes the required tools are impossible to get, and in most of the cases to set up, and consequently, the cost of the equipment increases, making the educational process even more complicated and expensive.
One of the main advantages of using physical virtual labs is the ability to be written in the any specified programming language, which gives a variety of solutions limited only by the author’s imagination. Physical processes are easy to express using mathematical formulas and equations.
Moreover it is not necessary to buy expensive or radioactive equipment. One of the most significant factors is the security of the students, which is much easier to guarantee if instead of real equipment the special software is used.
Overview of the existing solutions
TechNet Virtual Labs
These virtual labs (Fig.1) propose strong physical model, whose main characteristics are accuracy, high processing speed and relatively high availability. The system has web-based and client based offerings which vary in functionality (the client-base version is more sophisticated). One of the most evident drawbacks of the proposed solution is very high system requirements, which becomes a real problem for the schools, and universities having trouble with special equipment and up-to-date computers.
DNA Extraction Virtual Labs
This software set allows the highly sophisticated DNA Research (Fig.2). The accuracy of the data gives the liberty to use the results of experiments for further investigation. Helps the student not only to get acquainted with the basics of the field of study, but also conduct their own research. “Test a newborn for a genetic disease, analyze forensic evidence, or study a gene involved in cancer, perform a cheek swab and extract DNA from human cells”.
PCR (short for Polymerase Chain Reaction) is a relatively simple and inexpensive tool that you can use to focus in on a segment of DNA and copy it billions of times over. PCR is used every day to diagnose diseases, identify bacteria and viruses, match criminals to crime scenes, and in many other ways.
Unfortunately the set is development only for medical students, but still may considered as an ideal example of integration of ICT, and especially a mathematical computer modeling, into an education process.
Virtual laboratories on Dephi
Virtual labs (Fig.4) are implemented using programming languages, Object Pascal Delphi environment XE and C# environment .NET Framework 4.0. For high-quality provision of material and better absorption the laboratory is divided into several phases: 1) study of theoretical material, 2) viewing video clips illustrating a laboratory work and necessary equipment, 3) performing the necessary calculations and filling in the tables.
According to this data, it is possible to claim, that ICT is steadily integrating into the education process. High accuracy and availability are the principal reasons that distinguish the ICT among the other education tools. At first glance, the modern systems are ideal and have no drawbacks. But as we studied in our article the main drawback of the majority of the systems is high cost and high system requirements, which makes it almost impossible to provide the software to all the organizations. In the modern ICT and education the main issue is to make ICT, and special software even more available and efficient for the students. Thus, besides being efficient from the point of view of physical and mathematical modeling the proposed systems makes students to be involved in the process of education by themselves. For those and many other reasons it is possible to mention that virtual physical laboratories are the best solution in the modern natural sciences classes.