Tool #4

Labster and PhET Simulations

  • Description: Labster and PhET are online platforms that enable students to participate in interactive and immersive laboratory simulations for science education. It provides a safe and controlled environment for exploring scientific concepts and conducting experiments in a digital space. Both employ 3D animations, gamification, and storytelling techniques to create engaging and interactive learning experiences as additional tools for traditional laboratory instruction or as a standalone resource for distance learning (Shen et al., 2023).

Technology Tools in Higher Education Science
  • Three Benefits: Online lab simulations like PhET and Labster offer several potential benefits in science instruction that include 1) increased accessibility as they are available to students with internet access and can provide educational opportunities to those who lack traditional laboratory facilities, 2) enhanced safety by eliminating the need for students to handle hazardous materials or operate complex equipment as it minimizes the risk of accidents and injuries, and 3) improve learning outcomes by offering an interactive and engaging learning experience that enables students to practice fundamental molecular techniques and troubleshoot experimental designs (Sandrone et al., 2021; Shen et al., 2023).

  • Classroom Application: In the classroom, instructors can use it to show laboratory procedures and interactive demonstrations of scientific concepts as it helps students learn more deeply through exploring complex phenomena in an interactive and visual format. These simulations also encourage inquiry-based learning by prompting students to ask questions, observe, and draw conclusions based on their investigations (Boss & Larmer, 2018; Sandrone et al., 2021).

  • Academic Integrity: To address academic integrity issues when using online simulations such as PhET and Labster, instructors can mitigate integrity by engaging students in conversations about the purpose and benefits of simulations, designing activities or assignments that require understanding and applying concepts learned. Furthermore, instructors can create assignments that require students to apply the knowledge gained from simulations to demonstrate their comprehension of the material. These tasks should be structured to promote critical thinking, problem-solving, and analysis, ensuring that students engage with the content and cannot simply copy answers from the simulation.