Improving Physics learning with virtual environments: an example on the phases of water

Jorge Fonseca e Trindade

Abstract


Usually students have misconceptions on the microscopic structure and behaviour of matter. In order to overcome these difficulties computer-based worlds seem useful to visualize physical and chemical processes allowing for a better conceptual
understanding. Since more 3-D virtual environments need to be explored and evaluated
in science education, we have built a 3-D virtual environment – “Virtual Water” – to
support the learning of Physics and Chemistry at the final high school and first-year
university levels. It is centered in the microscopic structure of water and explores
concepts related to water phases and the transitions between them.

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