March 5th, 2008
Phun is a free two-dimensional physics sandbox for Windows.
A video of it in action can be found on this You Tube. Unfortunately they don’t yet have a Mac version, so I haven’t been able to try it out myself, but the videos looks stunning.
This has fantastic potential educational value for physics and maths, but in the same way that the Geometer’s Sketchpad does – it is easy to see the potential, but rather more difficult to harness it.
There must be some middle road between the openness of this sort of ‘sandbox’, which for university students and older computer literate school students has tremendous educational value, and something more rigid that allows more nervous or younger students to engage with the simulations it offers constructively. The problem is, what is that road?