Interactive Learning Environments for Mathematical Topics
Arnold, Ruedi: Interactive Learning Environments for Mathematical Topics, Dissertation No. 17479, ETH Zurich, 2007.
In the information society an efficient and effective use of computers and their capabilities play a central role. An understanding of important computer science concepts should therefore be part of general education today. But concepts of computer science are often abstract and thus inherently difficult to understand and teach. Fortunately, it is precisely the computer itself that, due to dynamic visualizations, interactive simulations, and immediate feedback, allows an easier access to abstract topics. As part of this dissertation the system “InfoTraffic” was developed which contains three new interactive learning environments targeted at propositional logic, queuing theory, and dynamic systems. The three programs are embedded into the common scenario of “traffic control” and consistently use a virtual-enactive and everyday-life-based approach to introduce abstract topics in education. InfoTraffic thus contributes among other things to an increase of the significance of logic in general education. InfoTraffic was developed according to engineering science methods including insights from teaching practice and educational science. The experience gained lead to pragmatic recommendations for the development of interactive learning environments. Along with teaching materials the system is freely available online and it is already in use in high schools, universities, and teacher education.