Virtual labs Are Not Games!

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Technology has to be used at least once a six weeks.  Technology has to be used once a week.  Technology has to be used in every lesson.  Technology has to be used only to differentiate. Technology has to be used with Gifted and Talented student.  Whatever you are told to do with the use of technology, you have to incorporate it in your lessons.  One mistake that is often made is- GAMES ARE NOT TECHNOLOGY!  I was actually told by my district’s technology coordinators that students can learn physics by playing Angry Birds, for real! Yes, I sat there dumbfounded and stared at her. I argued that you could not only to be met with yes, it is what we are suggesting for all elementary school science classes to do.  I nearly cried because I would eventually get this geniuses who learn physics from a game only in my class.  So, let’s be clear.  Games do not teach fundamental concepts, the teacher does.  Technology can be used in the form of virtual labs that really do teach.  Students do see the virtual labs as games, but they are not.  The virtual labs take the students through a series of steps to achieve an end result of solving the problem. There are many sites for virtual labs that are free.  Some text books now have virtual labs as well.  Another good use of virtual labs is that you do not have a mess to clean up, no equipment damaged from students and no materials consumed.  I used virtual labs for many physics and chemical concepts.  They were usually safer too.  Students like them and all levels of students were able to feel successful. I used them in moderation so the newness did not wear off.  Look for a listing of virtual labs to use in your class under our Hot Apps section.

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