The power of the computer is not going to decrease. It is going to steadily increase if trends remain
the same. It is essential for students to be proficient with computer technology. More and more research scientists
conduct experiments with computer simulations only. Jet planes are no longer designed with clay or wooden
mock-ups. It is all done with computer modeling, final concept to first flight.
As a teacher, I feel I should also exploit the power of the computer in my classroom and use computer
simulation software as much as possible to conduct student lab experiments. There is always room for live
experimentation, but the effects of dams on downstream communities can be simulated more effectively in a classroom
through computer simulation for example. Constructing (then storing after use) large bulky model dams made from
plaster, plywood, and several feet of water hose is not practical.
Computer software which generally comes with new computers (Microsoft Office) and the computer software
which generally comes with textbook orders (electronic textbooks) should be maximized for student use. An example
of a lab report written by one of my former students in Microsoft Word can be found on the page Lessons. An example of a Power-Point presentation by one of my former students follows: