Physlets® at Davidson College


Drs. Wolfgang Christian and Mario Belloni recently authored a book in Prentice-Hall's Series in Educational Innovation entitled, Physlets®: Teaching Physics with Interactive Curricular Material. Physlets® describes for physics teachers a new pedagogy for a first-year college curriculum, based on interactive computerized simulations the authors have been developing during the past few years. They believe that Physlets®, which are small computer programs simulating physics concepts, overcome many of the inadequacies of other multimedia learning methods because they are adoptable and adaptable.

The new book contains a selection of these problems as well as new problems written by the authors and their collaborators. The purpose of the Physlets® book is to provide instructors with all they need to know to start writing their own problems using Physlets®. The CD that comes with the book includes 24 Physlets® programs and hundreds of ready-to-use Davidson class-tested examples, such as homework problems, classroom demonstrations, and laboratory exercises.

The book had 2,200 back orders before it was published, and Prentice-Hall market research showed that at least 20% of US instructors were aware of Physlets® via workshops, advertisements, and the previously published Just-in-Time Teaching book. Christian and Belloni also spread the word personally and widely through regular presentations at professional meetings.

Physlets® marks Professor Christian's second book in Prentice-Hall's Series in Educational Innovation, following on the heels of Just-in-Time Teaching: Blending Active Learning with Web Technology and the CUPS book, Waves and Optic Simulations, he coauthored with two Davidson physics majors.