Stanford faculty member and mediaX Thought Leader Carl Wieman’s project, called PhET Interactive Simulations, teaches scientific concepts through animated, game-like environments that encourage students to explore cause-and-effect relationships as scientists would. Initially focused on physics, PhET (short for Physics Education Technology) now offers more than 140 simulations on topics in fields including chemistry, biology, Earth science and mathematics.
Wieman, a professor of education, engineering and physics, founded the nonprofit project in 2002 while he was on the faculty at the University of Colorado at Boulder, where PhET is based.
“My hope was that these sorts of interactive simulations might be a valuable tool for learning science, with advantages over any traditional media,” said Wieman. “That has proven to be true. They engage students from a wide variety of backgrounds. They also appeal to teachers because they have the flexibility to be used in many different ways.”
Wieman used part of his Nobel Prize winnings and grants from the National Science Foundation and the Kavli Foundation to start PhET, which has operated under the direction of Kathy Perkins since 2010. He continues to serve as senior adviser.
“PhET has grown far beyond my wildest dreams,” he said, “although most of that credit has to go to the guidance and fundraising efforts that Kathy has provided through the years.”
Read the entire Stanford News Story by Carrie Spector HERE.
The WISE Award is supported by the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development. Each winning project received $20,000 and an invitation to attend the eighth World Innovation Summit for Education held in Dohi, Qatar, later this fall.