7 Real experiments and virtual enhancements

Teachers should use digital technologies to support and enhance practical experience, but not to replace it.

Practical science consists of a range of activities that can be enhanced by the effective use of digital technologies both inside and outside the classroom. These technologies can provide access to a wide range of data gathered from locations or over time scales that are not feasible in school science lessons to supplement students own data collection. Digital tools can be used to speed up the analysis and presentation of data, whilst increasingly, technology is promoting collaboration between students and providing effective ways for students to explain and communicate their findings.

  • virtual environments and simulated experiments have a positive role to play in science education but should not be used to replace a good quality, hands-on practical
  • digital technologies are rapidly evolving and teachers should have access to evidence about what works, and training in their use, before implementing them in their science lessons
  • the following examples of how digital technologies have been used to enhance practical science illustrate different ways that technology can enhance learning