Physical and Virtual Laboratories in Science and Engineering Education

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Science  19 Apr 2013:
Vol. 340, Issue 6130, pp. 305-308
DOI: 10.1126/science.1230579

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The world needs young people who are skillful in and enthusiastic about science and who view science as their future career field. Ensuring that we will have such young people requires initiatives that engage students in interesting and motivating science experiences. Today, students can investigate scientific phenomena using the tools, data collection techniques, models, and theories of science in physical laboratories that support interactions with the material world or in virtual laboratories that take advantage of simulations. Here, we review a selection of the literature to contrast the value of physical and virtual investigations and to offer recommendations for combining the two to strengthen science learning.

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