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Web-based photonics simulator for secondary school students

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Abstract

In the “real world”, Photonics is somewhat invisible to those who rely upon it worldwide. We would like students to connect their everyday experiences of communications with the underlying ideas in Photonics. To do this, we have developed the Photonics Simulator to illustrate to high school students how text or information is coded into binary optical signals which are relayed through photonic communications networks from sender to receiver.

Using our simulator, students construct a virtual network, and then test it by sending messages. The messages are coded using ASCII binary code as digital signals in data packets with address headers, which need to be switched, combined, amplified, or delayed to get to their designated address. The students must manage their power budget, correctly target each message address, and avoid collisions of data packets to send their messages uncorrupted and error-free.

We tested an early version of the simulator with five Year 9 and 10 classes. The students provided many constructive comments and their feedback was used to improve the graphical interface of the simulator. We subsequently tested the simulator with 80 Year 9 students in short workshops.

Overall we had a very positive response - it was more fun than a normal class, and interactivity helped students retain information. Students enjoy the visual aspects– they see how messages are delivered, and learn the function of each network component by experiment. Tests of the simulator at the Macquarie Siemens Science Experience were also encouraging, with one student even sneaking back to class to complete his challenges!

© 2009 Optical Society of America

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References

  • View by:

  1. J.K. Crosier, D. Cobb, and J.R. Wilson (2002). Key lessons for the design and integration of virtual environments in secondary science. Computers and Education, 38, 77–94.
    [Crossref]
  2. K.E. Polonoli (2000). What makes educational software educational? Virginia Society for Technology in Education Journal, 15 44–51.
  3. J. Randel, B. Morris, C. Wetzel, and B Whitehill (1992). The effectiveness of games for educational purposes: A review of recent research. Simulations and Games. 23(3). 261–276.
    [Crossref]
  4. H. Pillay, J. Brownlee, and L Wilss (1999). Cognition and recreational computer games. Implications for educational technology. J Research on Computing in Education. 32 203–217.
    [Crossref]
  5. M. D. Roblyer, J. Edwards, and M. A. Havrilik (1997). Integrating educational technology into teaching. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc.
  6. M. Manske and C Conati (2005). Modelling Learning in Educational Games. Proc AIED 05, Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on AI in Education, Amsterdam, July 19–23.
  7. S. Yeo, R. Loss, M. Zadnik, A. Harrison, and D Treagust (2004). What do students really learn from interactive multimedia? A physics case study. American Journal of Physics, 72, 1351–1358.
    [Crossref]

2004 (1)

S. Yeo, R. Loss, M. Zadnik, A. Harrison, and D Treagust (2004). What do students really learn from interactive multimedia? A physics case study. American Journal of Physics, 72, 1351–1358.
[Crossref]

2002 (1)

J.K. Crosier, D. Cobb, and J.R. Wilson (2002). Key lessons for the design and integration of virtual environments in secondary science. Computers and Education, 38, 77–94.
[Crossref]

2000 (1)

K.E. Polonoli (2000). What makes educational software educational? Virginia Society for Technology in Education Journal, 15 44–51.

1999 (1)

H. Pillay, J. Brownlee, and L Wilss (1999). Cognition and recreational computer games. Implications for educational technology. J Research on Computing in Education. 32 203–217.
[Crossref]

1992 (1)

J. Randel, B. Morris, C. Wetzel, and B Whitehill (1992). The effectiveness of games for educational purposes: A review of recent research. Simulations and Games. 23(3). 261–276.
[Crossref]

Brownlee, J.

H. Pillay, J. Brownlee, and L Wilss (1999). Cognition and recreational computer games. Implications for educational technology. J Research on Computing in Education. 32 203–217.
[Crossref]

Cobb, D.

J.K. Crosier, D. Cobb, and J.R. Wilson (2002). Key lessons for the design and integration of virtual environments in secondary science. Computers and Education, 38, 77–94.
[Crossref]

Conati, C

M. Manske and C Conati (2005). Modelling Learning in Educational Games. Proc AIED 05, Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on AI in Education, Amsterdam, July 19–23.

Crosier, J.K.

J.K. Crosier, D. Cobb, and J.R. Wilson (2002). Key lessons for the design and integration of virtual environments in secondary science. Computers and Education, 38, 77–94.
[Crossref]

Edwards, J.

M. D. Roblyer, J. Edwards, and M. A. Havrilik (1997). Integrating educational technology into teaching. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc.

Harrison, A.

S. Yeo, R. Loss, M. Zadnik, A. Harrison, and D Treagust (2004). What do students really learn from interactive multimedia? A physics case study. American Journal of Physics, 72, 1351–1358.
[Crossref]

Havrilik, M. A.

M. D. Roblyer, J. Edwards, and M. A. Havrilik (1997). Integrating educational technology into teaching. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc.

Loss, R.

S. Yeo, R. Loss, M. Zadnik, A. Harrison, and D Treagust (2004). What do students really learn from interactive multimedia? A physics case study. American Journal of Physics, 72, 1351–1358.
[Crossref]

Manske, M.

M. Manske and C Conati (2005). Modelling Learning in Educational Games. Proc AIED 05, Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on AI in Education, Amsterdam, July 19–23.

Morris, B.

J. Randel, B. Morris, C. Wetzel, and B Whitehill (1992). The effectiveness of games for educational purposes: A review of recent research. Simulations and Games. 23(3). 261–276.
[Crossref]

Pillay, H.

H. Pillay, J. Brownlee, and L Wilss (1999). Cognition and recreational computer games. Implications for educational technology. J Research on Computing in Education. 32 203–217.
[Crossref]

Polonoli, K.E.

K.E. Polonoli (2000). What makes educational software educational? Virginia Society for Technology in Education Journal, 15 44–51.

Randel, J.

J. Randel, B. Morris, C. Wetzel, and B Whitehill (1992). The effectiveness of games for educational purposes: A review of recent research. Simulations and Games. 23(3). 261–276.
[Crossref]

Roblyer, M. D.

M. D. Roblyer, J. Edwards, and M. A. Havrilik (1997). Integrating educational technology into teaching. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc.

Treagust, D

S. Yeo, R. Loss, M. Zadnik, A. Harrison, and D Treagust (2004). What do students really learn from interactive multimedia? A physics case study. American Journal of Physics, 72, 1351–1358.
[Crossref]

Wetzel, C.

J. Randel, B. Morris, C. Wetzel, and B Whitehill (1992). The effectiveness of games for educational purposes: A review of recent research. Simulations and Games. 23(3). 261–276.
[Crossref]

Whitehill, B

J. Randel, B. Morris, C. Wetzel, and B Whitehill (1992). The effectiveness of games for educational purposes: A review of recent research. Simulations and Games. 23(3). 261–276.
[Crossref]

Wilson, J.R.

J.K. Crosier, D. Cobb, and J.R. Wilson (2002). Key lessons for the design and integration of virtual environments in secondary science. Computers and Education, 38, 77–94.
[Crossref]

Wilss, L

H. Pillay, J. Brownlee, and L Wilss (1999). Cognition and recreational computer games. Implications for educational technology. J Research on Computing in Education. 32 203–217.
[Crossref]

Yeo, S.

S. Yeo, R. Loss, M. Zadnik, A. Harrison, and D Treagust (2004). What do students really learn from interactive multimedia? A physics case study. American Journal of Physics, 72, 1351–1358.
[Crossref]

Zadnik, M.

S. Yeo, R. Loss, M. Zadnik, A. Harrison, and D Treagust (2004). What do students really learn from interactive multimedia? A physics case study. American Journal of Physics, 72, 1351–1358.
[Crossref]

American Journal of Physics (1)

S. Yeo, R. Loss, M. Zadnik, A. Harrison, and D Treagust (2004). What do students really learn from interactive multimedia? A physics case study. American Journal of Physics, 72, 1351–1358.
[Crossref]

Computers and Education (1)

J.K. Crosier, D. Cobb, and J.R. Wilson (2002). Key lessons for the design and integration of virtual environments in secondary science. Computers and Education, 38, 77–94.
[Crossref]

J Research on Computing in Education (1)

H. Pillay, J. Brownlee, and L Wilss (1999). Cognition and recreational computer games. Implications for educational technology. J Research on Computing in Education. 32 203–217.
[Crossref]

Simulations and Games (1)

J. Randel, B. Morris, C. Wetzel, and B Whitehill (1992). The effectiveness of games for educational purposes: A review of recent research. Simulations and Games. 23(3). 261–276.
[Crossref]

Virginia Society for Technology in Education Journal (1)

K.E. Polonoli (2000). What makes educational software educational? Virginia Society for Technology in Education Journal, 15 44–51.

Other (2)

M. D. Roblyer, J. Edwards, and M. A. Havrilik (1997). Integrating educational technology into teaching. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc.

M. Manske and C Conati (2005). Modelling Learning in Educational Games. Proc AIED 05, Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on AI in Education, Amsterdam, July 19–23.

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