From the Physical to the Virtual: Bringing Free-Choice Science Education Online
Steven Allison-Bunnell (Educational Web Adventures, LLP, USA) and David T. Schaller (Educational Web Adventures, LLP, USA)
Copyright: © 2005
This chapter proposes a series of strategies for recreating science center exhibits online. It argues that while physical and electronic exhibits share certain common features, electronic science interactives based on physical exhibits must be re-conceived in terms of the strengths of the electronic medium. Like a televised magic show, digital media allow any number of special effects that interfere with the immediacy and raw authenticity of an onsite physical demonstration. This interference is inherent in any mediated experience. Rather than trying to overcome it, we suggest alternate approaches that take online users deeper into the scientific concepts underlying the physical phenomena on exhibit in the physical galleries. We outline several strategies that we have successfully used to engage user’s imaginations and emotions in online science activities, to foster motivation, and to provide an initial conceptual framework that supports the learning process.