Jack and Jill are working on a physics problem. Their teacher asked them to calculate the force needed to hurl a 500 pound projectile from a spot on Earth to 20,000 miles in low earth orbit. They don’t have any idea of what they need to know to solve this problem and they don’t want to dig through numerous articles or videos on the subject. They want to learn what they need for this problem as thoroughly and rapidly as possible.
On their iPads they access the Physics Knowledge Avatar. In the Physics Knowledge Avatar, the Knowledge Matrix (a visual representation of concepts and how they are related to each other) illustrates that the concept force is related to angle, initial velocity, horizontal velocity, hypotenuse, right triangle, cosine, sine, parabola, time, and gravity. They now have a view of what they need to learn to understand this particular problem! They see that the “starting” point for this cluster of concepts is the angle concept, so they click on it to start.
They are presented with a succinct description of what an angle is and links to more in-depth information including examples (such as animations) and experiences (such as simulations).
This Knowledge Avatar also has a robot assistant. The robot assistant answers questions, such as "what is an angle," asks the students questions to test their knowledge, and advises them on how to proceed. She can also be a good friend.
The next link is to a question. Questions are intermingled throughout the content to ensure that the student understands the concept and to provide them with feedback. If the student does not provide the correct answer they are given detailed feedback and they are shown which concepts they need to review to successfully answer the question and understand the related concepts.
Students are not forced to follow a particular path. The Knowledge Matrix illustrates how concepts are related so unless students have already mastered a concept, there is no reason to jump ahead. Questions that they encounter along the way will provide them with feedback about whether they understand the concept with a score and links to review prerequisite concepts.
After covering the essential concepts related to force, Jack and Jill are presented with a simulation where they must predict the distance of the projectile shot from Earth considering specific values of force. This interactive simulation helps solidify the concepts just learned by providing practice and a visualization of their experience.
Jack & Jill look at each other and realize that this learning hill wasn’t so steep after all and, thankfully, they didn’t have to risk their “crowns” to reach it!