Wow they are a fantastic learning tool for the classroom! Animations and Simulations offer a chance for students to interact with the learning experience rather than just read print based books and handouts. The interaction that the students experience when exploring these websites is fantastic and would be a great tool to use for most learning styles. Animations and Simulations also allow teachers to bring learning experiences into the classroom that may have otherwise been too expensive or difficult to provide. I explored one of the Animations that was based on the anatomy of a worm. On paper students would become bored and disinterested but by using the Animation students would be able to play games in labelling the worms insides and explore other information in a fun, interesting and more importantly interactive learning environment. I would defiantly think that Animations and Simulations would fit Kearsley's and Shneiderman's Engagement Theory (1999) as technology in these cases defiantly can facilitate engagement in ways which would otherwise be difficult to achieve. Students are able to explore things in these websites that would other wise not be achievable in a classroom environment.
Animations and simulations are also Web-based and can be made accessible for the students to anytime and anywhere rather being restricted to the classroom. So teachers would be able to book out computer labs so that every students would have access to their own computer. This is great as it would allow each individual student to learn at their own pace and feel comfortable in their learning environment.
Defiantly something I will keep in mind!
Kearsley, G & Shneiderman, B (1999). Engagment Theory: A framework for technology-based teaching and learning. Retrieved July 29th, 2009, from CQUniversity e-courses, FAHE11001 Acitive learning & learning diversity. hhtp://moodle.cqu.edu.au/mod/resource/view.php?id=580