Virtual Science labs
Information technology has provided new innovations to sustain constructing an artificial educational environment by means of computers. Virtual reality is distinguished by unique sorts of interaction, that responds to users behaviors and actions. Unlike traditional multi-media, virtual reality offers a distinctive level of interaction. Hence, virtual reality is considered to be a new model of computer-based learning that provides the individual learner with a wider range of scientific vision. This kind of educational technology provides an advanced individualized learning perfectly meets the educational needs and provides a high level of flexibility and freedom from constraints of time and place. One of the most important features of virtual reality is the easiest and continuous material update aiming to attain learning objectivity and interest. With the increasing popularity of virtual educational technology, globally and locally, the development of virtual learning environment became an important field of science which has its own basics and principles. On observing the reality of science education in the Arab region today, the learner is constrained to the theoretical method in acquiring knowledge, rarely allowed to apply this knowledge practically. This is due to several reasons including; the lack of laboratory devices, the risks that may result from applying some scientific experiments, and the high cost of materials.
The Components of Virtual Science Labs:
The main components of the virtual labs are determined to have the following:-
1. The lab sets & equipment:
The virtual lab is considered integral to the traditional lab but not an alternative to it. The existence of the traditional lab is very necessary, but in lower numbers and requirements, which help in the possibility of using it by several users outside the lab.
2. Computer devices:
They are represented in personal computers, which are linked to the local net or to the international net so that the student can work directly in the lab, or distantly at anywhere and anytime.
3. Communication network & the related hardware:
In case of performing experiments electronically, all the sets should be linked to the computer, because the link between the users with the lab will be through digital communication.
4. The Programs of the Virtual Lab:
These programs are represented in the simulation programs, which are designed by professionals. It is necessary to design this program in an interesting and attractive form; as these programs were designed to attract students’ attention and urge them to complete the experiment. This is maintained by the animation techniques, video, and the three dimensions pictures.
5. Co-operation Programs ; Management:
These programs are concerned with the method of managing the lab and the ones who perform the experiment, including students and researchers. These special programs register students in the lab program and determine the kinds of access that should be provided to each user in the different experiments.
6. Technical Staff:
It is important to have a technical team to support educators in preparing and assessing scientific materials. In addition to evaluating the program to determine its efficacy.