Minds On Physics for Schools
Perhaps the one constant in life is that things will change. At The Physics Classroom, we are forever reminded of this brutal fact of life when it comes to our Shockwave-based Minds On Physics program. For years, we have run the Minds On Physics program in the browswer using the Shockwave plug-in. With support for Shockwave absent on mobile devices and slowly diminishing for many modern broswers, we realize that change is inevitable. Our most recent goal has been to replace the Shockwave-based Minds On Physics program with an app-based program that works on all devices - mobile and non-mobile.
With the conversion to the app-based program, we have come to re-evaluate the manner in which we offer the program to schools and students. In years past, we have made the browser-based program free for use to students and charged teachers an annual subscription cost to obtain a Teacher Code and use the teacher side of the program to evaluate student progress on assigned work. The annual teacher subscription served two vital roles: it helped us to monitor the use of the program among schools and it provided a much needed revenue source to support the ongoing operations of the website and future developments of the Minds On Physics program.
With the app version of Minds On Physics being sold through the various stores - the Apple iTunes store, the Google Play Store, the Mac App Store, and the Chrome Web Store, we have recognized the need to evaluate the model by which we make the program available to students and to schools in an affordable manner. This has led to the following practices: First, we make the app available as part of the Volume Purchasing program offered at each app outlet. This reduces the price of each app by 50% when purchased by schools who have signed up for the Volume Purchasing program. And second, we are encouraging schools to purchase vouchers from the various app stores that allow schools to purchase a specified number of apps and to distribute vouchers for those apps to their students. Schools can thus purchase a specified number of copies of one or more of the six apps and distribute the vouchers to individual students. With a voucher, students can download the apps to school-owned or student-owned devices in order to use the app version of Minds On Physics to complete assignments. We are currently working on arrangements with the stores in order to make Minds On Physics affordable to schools and free to students via both Volume Purchase discounts and voucher programs.
What Schools Can Expect for the Future
As of this writing (August 16, 2016), we have completed Version 2.0 of all six apps and released them for sale by the various app outlets. Version 2.0 is our most secure version to date and should be the version of choice by teachers and classrooms. We have also updated the Shockwave-based version of MOPs to be consistent with the app-based version. Moving forward, we have the following two priorities for the coming school year:
- Produce an app version of Minds On Physics that works on Mac and Windows desktop and laptop computers.
- Develop a app-based teacher tool that works outside of the browser and is not reliant upon the Shockwave program. The teacher-based tool will be for the support of those who have purchased a Minds On Physics Teacher Account.
We hope to have item #1 done in the Fall of 2016. And we hope to have item #2 done by the end of the 2016-17 school year.
The best way to stay informed of progress and updates is to follow us on our social channels - Facebook
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What About the Shockwave-Based MOPs?
We will continue to offer the browser-based program that relies upon the Shockwave plug-in. In as much as it is possible, we will offer suggestions for its use and continue to communicate with teachers regarding trouble-shooting options. For those schools who find that the Shockwave-based program still works for them, we will encourage them to use it and we will continue to offer a means of checking the validity of student success codes. However, we will in no way pretend that the browser plug-in is the future of our Minds On Physics program. All development time and dollars will be invested in other methods of doing Minds On Physics.
(For those needing more information about the Shockwave-based Minds On Physics program, visit the Minds On Physics Internet Modules
section of our website.)
Will There Ever be a Database That Stores Student Progress Information?
As we move forward from here, we are investigating the option of using an online database for the storage of information regarding student progress on teacher-assigned work. We are excited about this possibility and will do what we can to combine the use of the app with a database that allows teachers and students to have accounts that store information about teacher-assigned work and succes on such work. We don't expect the dream of a database to be a reality until sometime nearer the end of the 2016-17 school year or the start of the next school year.
As always, for the most current updates regarding MOP the App and other exciting additions to our website, follow us on our social channels - Facebook
, or Twitter