PHET Interactive Simulations in Learning Optics towards Pre-Service Science Teachers: A Phenomenological Study


  • Herman M. Lagon Iloilo State University of Fisheries Science and Technology (ISUFST), Philippines



PHET Interactive Simulations, Learning Optics, Pre-Service Science Teachers, Interactive Learning, Phenomenological Study


This phenomenological study explored the experiences of pre-service science teachers in using PHET interactive simulations to learn optics. It used a qualitative research approach and involved six participants enrolled in a science education program. Data were collected through observations and semi-structured interviews, and thematic analysis was used to analyze the data. The findings revealed that the participants had an enhanced understanding of optics concepts through PHET simulations and experienced high levels of engagement and interactivity. However, technical difficulties, challenges to internet connectivity, and gadget accessibility were identified. The study concluded that PHET simulations are beneficial in learning optics but need improvements in technical aspects. This implies key contributions to the existing literature on interactive simulations in science education, alignment with constructivist learning theory, and insights into cognitive load effects. In practice, the study suggests practical benefits for pre- service teachers and educators, such as fostering critical thinking skills and motivation in students. It recommends integrating PHET simulations in teaching, providing instructional support, addressing technical challenges, incorporating teacher training programs, and conducting further research to explore the effectiveness of the simulations in enhancing learning outcomes. The study cracks the PHET code in optics by highlighting its benefits and challenges and providing valuable insights for science education practice and research.


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Author Biography

Herman M. Lagon, Iloilo State University of Fisheries Science and Technology (ISUFST), Philippines


Sir H is a self-proclaimed Netflix-YouTube-Audiobook buff, Funko pop collector, and Sci-Fi geek. He was once “christened” by students as the “Multitasking Ninja,” partly due to his involvement in different genres. He was already a civil society advocate and a practicing journalist before he joined the Ateneo-Santa Maria community in 2001. He taught physics for 12 years and was a be-medaled teacher (PERAA, PRISSAAP, Metrobank), researcher (UP, IAMURE, PAIR, WVSU), chess coach (PRISAA), and school paper adviser (DepEd, NSPC, PIA, GPA). After being assigned High School (HS) Subject Area Coordinator (SAC) in Science for seven years, Sir H was tasked to be the Associate Principal for HS and Senior High School for five combined years. After a thorough community discernment process in 2018, he was appointed as the first Integrated Basic Education (IBEd) lay Principal of the school. He was recently given his second term in office. A licensed civil engineer, physical science teacher, and guidance counselor, Sir H has three master's degrees up his sleeve: science education (UI), business administration (PEN-UI), and guidance (UP). He earned his Ph.D. degree in Science Education with a specialization in Mathematics (WVSU) as a DOST scholar. He is currently taking a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership at USLS. Dr. Lagon is also a reserved Army Lieutenant Colonel, a Paul Harris Rotary International Fellow, a board exam reviewer, a freelance columnist, a book/worksheet author, and a scholastic researcher. He is a father of two Ateneo alumni, one is currently taking her course in medicine; and the other, his co-teacher in school, is about to finish her master's degree in guidance and counseling. During his years in the Ateneo, what he values the most is the concept of the Ateneo way—that endless desire (magis) of forming leaders who animate a “faith that does justice.” He just early retired in Ateneo at 47 last July 15, 2022. He is currently the physics and math professor and Director of Advancement and Linkages of Iloilo State College of Fisheries (ISCOF).


International Society for Technology Education (ISTE), Society for Technology in Education (STEP) Philippines, Mathematics Teachers Association of the Philippines-Iloilo Chapter (MTAP-IC), Inc.; Philippine Association for Teacher Education (PAFTE), Inc.; National Organization of Science Teachers and Educators, Inc. (NOSTE, Inc.); Philippine Association for Teacher Education (PAFTE); Philippine Institute of Civil Engineers (PICE), Inc.; Regional English Circle, Inc.; Mathematics Trainers Guild (MTG) of the Philippines; Philippine Physics Society (PPS); Rotary International (Mother Club of Iloilo); Jesuit Basic Education Commission (JBEC); Jesuit Chinese-Filipino Apostolate (JCFA); The GLOBE Program; WDSA (Association of DOST scholars in WVSU COE GS); Philippine Guidance and Counseling Association (PGCA); Educate Magis.


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How to Cite

Lagon, H. M. (2023). PHET Interactive Simulations in Learning Optics towards Pre-Service Science Teachers: A Phenomenological Study. American Journal of Education and Technology, 2(3), 129–135.