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Animations and Simulations as Lecture Demonstrations


Gary L. Bertrand
Department of Chemistry
University of Missouri-Rolla
Rolla, MO 65409-0010

03/28/01 to 03/30/01

Brief Description: For several years, I have been working with animated GIFs in Web delivered Minilessons that can be used either in the classroom or as out of-class assignments. These involve a trade-off in smoothness of operation for relatively rapid downloading. For the past year, I have been using JavaScript for the development of interactive tutorials and simulated experiments. Some of these will be discussed in terms of their use in and out of the classroom.


Over the years, I have developed a number of computer simulations that I have taken into the classroom as "demonstrations". While these are perhaps less effective than live demonstrations, they add new dimensions of dependability, reproducibility, ease of preparation, and the range of conditions that can be demonstrated within a relatively short period of time. There is an additional advantage in that they can be provided to the students for individual "experimentation". The major problems that I have encountered in making these simulations available to others have been in cross-platform applications, because the authoring environments have been better suited to Macintosh, while the majority of prospective users are Windows-based. Some of these problems have been reduced through delivery over the Internet, but interactivity often requires the use of a plug-in. I have found the installation of these plug-ins to present a substantial impediment to my students and many teachers. Download delays are another serious impediment.

Follow this link to see the demonstrations:

(Demos use animated GIFs and JavaScript.)