Unlike the other three physics modules, the sound wave module naturally and inherently makes good use of audio as a multimedia type. The sound module demonstrates how audio, when appropriately applied, enhances the usability and functionality of an application.
One objective of the sound wave module is to supply as much user interaction as possible. It is the belief of this author that education is best served when students are allowed to explore and experiment with concepts rather than having students consume information in a dry, static manner. For example, if a physics law is presented, the student should be allowed to "tweak" the variables or parameters of the physics law to observe how the variables affect the results. Furthermore, demonstrations should also resemble or reflect real-world situations to orient the student in the context of a familiar or intuitive setting.
Since physics essentially describes and quantifies the dynamic nature of elements around us, a physics education system should somehow capture the dynamics of physics. The sound module of the Physics Education Laboratory relies heavily on animation to achieve this goal. The intent is to continually remind the student that physics concepts represent live, active entities in the real world. Furthermore, animation activity on the computer screen will also serve to capture and maintain the student's attention and interest.
The six topic areas for sound waves are as follows: