Posted by: crudbasher | October 22, 2012

A Huge Impact Technology For The Classroom

I often talk about technology like artificial intelligence, augmented reality and voice recognition as things that will transform learning in the next few decades. One other technology that will have a huge influence also is Simulation.

I taught a college class on video games for over a decade so I saw firsthand the increasing power of simulation. Creating virtual environments can allow students to transcend the boundaries of the classroom and simulate many situation. This will allow much more experiential learning, which is much more effective than rote memorization. For example, you could read how galaxies form on HowStuffWorks:

Following the big bang, the primordial universe consisted of only radiation and subatomic particles. How did it evolve into more than 100 billion galaxies? Scientists have two kinds of theories, both of which hinge on the gravitational effects of collapsing gas in the early galaxy.

First, there are the bottom-up theories, in which the gas collapsed and compressed into clumps the size of a million suns (that’s starting small for something the size of the universe). These clumps then merged to build galaxies. Top-down theories, on the other hand, start big. This school of thought argues that the resulting clumps were each the size of multiple galaxies, which in turn broke down into individual galaxies. These latter theories would explain why galaxies occur in clusters.

Either way — bottom-up or top-down — the resulting clumps then collapsed into protogalaxies consisting of dark matter and hydrogen gas. The hydrogen then fell toward the center of the protogalaxy while the dark matter remained as an outer halo surrounding it.

Or you can run a simulation like NASA did on a supercomputer that shows how a galaxy formed over 13.5 billion years since the big bang. Keep in mind in 10 years, you will be able to do this on a laptop. (H/T Gizmodo)

One is more informative, but one fires the imagination.



  1. Great post…
    Read? Or watch the simulation?

    Or better yet (IMHO), have the kids create a simulation of both the bottom up and top down theories. Class discussion could include an analysis of the simulations – and questions and theories about galaxy formation generated by the simulations (or the act of creating the simulations).

    Have a great day,

    • Hey Kent, nice to see you again!

      Yeah I don’t think people understand the power of simulation once you couple it with Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality.

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