The hard thing about evaluating the use of new technologies
in education is distinguishing glitz from substance.
Wonderful things can be done technically which add little
additional value compared to traditional methods. What is
the value added in teaching
electromagnetism using advanced technologies?
The clearest advantage is
the use of animations or simulations of field lines to explain
phenomena in electromagnetism intuitively.
invented the concept of fields for exactly that reason.
His mathematical skills were minimal, and the only way he could
understand the phenomena he studied so successfully was pictorially.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, a moving picture is worth
incomparably more. A large fraction of our minds is devoted
to interpreting the immense
amount of visual information we receive. Animations
allow the whole mental apparatus associated with vision to
be focused on understanding electromagnetic phenomena at an intuitive level.
If Michael Faraday were alive today,
this is the approach he would take. The teaching of
electromagnetism has had to wait one hundred
and fifty years for the technology of electromagnetism
to advance sufficiently to do it justice.
have the technological means to instill in the student
an intuition for electromagnetic phenomena
in the manner that Faraday, the father of field theory, originally envisioned.