Developing a virtual physics world

  • Margaret Wegener The University of Queensland
  • Timothy J. McIntyre The University of Queensland
  • Dominic McGrath The University of Queensland
  • Craig M. Savage The Australian National University
  • Michael Williamson The Australian National University

Abstract

In this article, the successful implementation of a development cycle for a physics teaching package based on game-like virtual reality software is reported. The cycle involved several iterations of evaluating students' use of the package followed by instructional and software development. The evaluation used a variety of techniques, including ethnographic observation, surveys, student focus groups and conventional assessment. The teaching package included a laboratory manual, instructional support materials and the Real Time Relativity software that simulates a world obeying special relativistic physics. Although the iterative development cycle was time consuming and costly, it gave rise to substantial improvements in the software user interface and in the students' learning experience.

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Author Biographies

Margaret Wegener, The University of Queensland
Lecturer and First-Year Teaching DirectorSchool of Mathematics and PhysicsThe University of Queensland
Timothy J. McIntyre, The University of Queensland
Senior Lecturer and Head of PhysicsSchool of Mathematics and PhysicsThe University of Queensland
Dominic McGrath, The University of Queensland
eLearning Designer
Teaching and Educational Development Institute (TEDI)
The University of Queensland
Craig M. Savage, The Australian National University
Physics Education Centre, Research School of Physics and Engineering
The Australian National University
Michael Williamson, The Australian National University
Software Engineer
Physics Education Centre, Research School of Physics and Engineering
The Australian National University
Published
2012-04-25
How to Cite
Wegener, M., McIntyre, T. J., McGrath, D., Savage, C. M., & Williamson, M. (2012). Developing a virtual physics world. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 28(3). https://doi.org/10.14742/ajet.847