Paulo Blikstein, Tamar Fuhrmann, Daniel Greene, and Shima Salehi. 2012. Bifocal modeling: mixing real and virtual labs for advanced science learning. In Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Interaction Design and Children (IDC ’12). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 296-299.
In this paper, we describe a set of user studies within the Bifocal Modeling (BM) framework. BM juxtaposes physical and computer models using sensor-based and computer modeling technologies, highlighting the discrepancies between ideal and real systems. When creating bifocal models, students build both a physical model with sensors of a given scientific phenomenon, and a computer model of the same phenomenon, connecting the two in real time with a special hardware interface. In this paper, we describe four formats for using BM in the classroom, as well as its affordances and characteristics.