Animations and simulations are learning objects which aim to facilitate a clearer understanding through the implementation of a model. A model can be defined as; "a representation of a complex system in a simplified form" (Frischherz, 2009). The form can either be a three-dimensional model, pictures, graphs or text. Animations and simulations are a great tool, particularly for chemistry teachers. They show learners the process which they can't already see with their own eyes. "Computer simulations and animations are usually excellent tools for education. Animations show sequences of diagrams, numbers, or images to illustrate complicated concepts or theories. Simulations are imitations of systems for users. The user enters or alters certain parameters, and the computer will reveal the consequences or changes" (Chieh & Sze, 2000).
They are also effective in creating a virtual experience when it isn't possible to use the real thing. Animations and simulations are therefore engaging for learners. They stimulate learners interest. Dale's Cone (learning effectiveness) has many aspects which relate to the use of animations and simulations. These include; "television, demonstrations, exhibits, recordings, still pictures, visual symbols" (Active Learning Online, 2009). These are encompassed through the display of the animations and simulations. I haven't really use animations or simulations myself in the classroom. I have only used learning objects because I thought that they were the same thing as simulations and animations. Now that I know they're not, I am going to implement the use of a simulation with the water cycle in my classroom.
Active and Learning Online. (2009). Why Use Active Learning? Retrieved August 15, 2009, from http://www.acu.edu/cte/activelearning/whyuseal2.htm
Chieh, C. & Sze, N. (2000). Computer Animations and Simulations in General Chemistry. Retrieved August 15, 2009, from http://www.science.uwaterloo.ca/~cchieh/cact/trios/simulation.html
Frischherz, B. (2009). Animations and Simulations as Learning Objects. Retrieved August 15, 2009, from http://www.armadillo-media.ch/pdf/anim_simul_ICNEE04_bfas.pdf