PPPL-3334 is available in pdf or postscript formats.

Teaching Contemporary Physics Topics using Real-Time Data Obtained via the World Wide Web

Authors: A. Post-Zwicker, W. Davis, R. Grip, M. McKay, R. Pfaff, and D.P. Stotler

As a teaching tool, the World Wide Web (WWW) is unprecedented in its ability to transmit information and enhance communication between scientist and student. Just beginning to be developed are sites that actively engage the user in the learning process and provide hands-on methods of teaching contemporary topics. These topics are often not found in the classroom due to the complexity and expense of the laboratory equipment and the WWW is an ideal tool for overcoming this difficulty. This paper presents a model for using the Internet to teach high school students about plasma physics and fusion energy. Students are given access to real-time data, virtual experiments, and communication with professional scientists via email. Preliminary data indicate that student collaboration and student-led learning is encouraged when using the site in the classroom.