PhET Interactive Simulations, based at the University of Colorado Boulder, has been named one of six recipients of the 2017 World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) Awards.
PhET was founded in 2002 by Nobel Laureate and JILA Fellow Adjoint Carl Wieman. It was previously funded by the JILA Physics Frontier Center. PhET creates interactive math and science simulations in game-like environments. The simulations encourage students to learn through interaction and discovery.
The WISE awards recognize projects that take an innovative approach to challenges in global education. The winners are awarded $20,000 and are invited to attended the eighth World Innovation Summit for Education, held Nov 14–16 this year in Doha, Qatar.
“To be selected from the many deserving projects is truly a great honor for our team,” said Kathy Perkins, an associate professor at the University of Colorado, and the Director of PhET since 2010. “This WISE Award affirms the importance of STEM learning and literacy in today’s world and the positive impact high-quality open educational resources can have at scale.”
One of PhET's founding philosophies is to be a flexible tool. Ariel Paul, PhET’s Director of Development, says PhET’s simulations can be both a demo for second-graders, and a relevant teaching tool for college classes. The PhET project hopes to increase its flexibility in a new manner––via increased accessibility. Some PhET simulations are produced in device-agnostic HTML5 and translated into more than 90 languages. In the near future, PhET plans to increase digital accessibility and optimize for mobile devices.
PhET simulations are available for free on the PhET website. The most popular sim, the Circuit Construction Kit, is run more than eight million times a year worldwide. Other popular sims include Energy Skate Park, Build an Atom, and Forces and Motions.