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Physics Online – review by Roger Frost
Publisher Fable www.fable.co.uk Tel: 0870 701 0012

Fitness 5*
Ease 5*
Features 5*
Quality 4*
Value 4*

If you’re looking for some interactive physics, you visit ‘Google’, type in ‘waves applet’ and then strike a stash of multimedia gold. If you value your time at nothing, there is plenty for free. The alternative is a look at Physics Online, with six hundred teaching widgets that include models, clickable animations and video lectures. It is a teacher’s Swiss Army knife and if not for free, it is massively useful at needy times.

A resources menu sorts physics into forces, fields, electricity and so on while these each break into a dozen topics. ‘Fields’, for instance has headings for different types of field which take you to the quest.


There’s an applet (mini-program) showing the field around a wire, another showing a coil wrapped round a compass, another showing a working microphone and you’re scratching the surface of 70 other resources. Under Electricity there’s a simulation of a nuclear reactor, a virtual oscilloscope, an ‘experiment’ showing Ohms Law and here again there are 70-ish items.  Physics Online was short listed for a BETT Award and it is soon clear you’ve captured the cream of physics on the web.

Physics Online also lets you collect favourite pieces and build them into lessons. You can collect the resources for a topic, attach some instructions in a Word file and it is not onerous to do. The subscription includes student access who you direct to the work you have pulled together. It is accessible from home, flexible, and it adds commendable structure. If you have gifted students, or want to provide activity for the unduly keen, this provides.  

Dotted among the resources is a collection of exceptional physics models covering waves, and forces.  Taken from Fable’s CD’s for sale, they’re all included as part of the deal. They run straight off the page and for example, the models of diffraction and distance-time graphs are models of clarity.  Physics Online is a tour de force - an uncompromising collection of ways that computers can develop understanding.

Roger Frost


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