If you’re looking for some interactive physics, you visit ‘Google’, type in
‘waves applet’ and then strike a stash of multimedia gold. If you value your
time at nothing, there is plenty for free. The alternative is a look at Physics
Online, with six hundred teaching widgets that include models, clickable
animations and video lectures. It is a teacher’s Swiss Army knife and if not for
free, it is massively useful at needy times.
A resources menu sorts physics into forces, fields, electricity and so on
while these each break into a dozen topics. ‘Fields’, for instance has headings
for different types of field which take you to the quest.
There’s an applet (mini-program) showing the field around a wire, another
showing a coil wrapped round a compass, another showing a working microphone and
you’re scratching the surface of 70 other resources. Under Electricity there’s a
simulation of a nuclear reactor, a virtual oscilloscope, an ‘experiment’ showing
Ohms Law and here again there are 70-ish items. Physics Online was short listed
for a BETT Award and it is soon clear you’ve captured the cream of physics on
Physics Online also lets you collect favourite pieces and build them into
lessons. You can collect the resources for a topic, attach some instructions in
a Word file and it is not onerous to do. The subscription includes student
access who you direct to the work you have pulled together. It is accessible
from home, flexible, and it adds commendable structure. If you have gifted
students, or want to provide activity for the unduly keen, this provides.
Dotted among the resources is a collection of exceptional physics models
covering waves, and forces. Taken from Fable’s CD’s for sale, they’re all
included as part of the deal. They run straight off the page and for example,
the models of diffraction and distance-time graphs are models of clarity.
Physics Online is a tour de force - an uncompromising collection of ways that
computers can develop understanding.