The gap between knowledge and practice (#AAPTsm14)

July 28, 2014

I’m at the American Association of Physics Teachers conference this week, and will be liveblogging from a few sessions. One my main interests is in how to support successful uptake of innovative educational techniques.  My talk on Wednesday will focus on some of the outcomes from the Science Education Initiative at Colorado, and lessons learned […]

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“Because the research tells me so”: Best practices in facilitating peer instruction

June 14, 2014

This is another repost from an article I wrote on the great i>clicker blog. — As a follow-up to last month’s post, on research showing that peer discussion helps students learn I’d like to share a variety of the messages that are coming out of the research on clickers and peer instruction – with particularly pertinent implications […]

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Do students learn by talking to each other?

May 30, 2014

Here is another re-post from an article I wrote on the i>clicker blog. —- This month I’d like to highlight a study which I think is crucially important in cementing the value behind peer instruction. It’s not new work anymore, but it so elegantly answers a key question – “do students learn by talking to […]

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New videos on undergraduate biology instruction

May 20, 2014

I’m happy to share the news about a new set of Creative Commons videos on undergraduate instruction — the Scientific Teaching series from iBiology:  http://www.ibiology.org/scientific-teaching.html.  These videos are all Creative Commons licensed so you can use them in your workshops, etc.  They have a newsletter you can sign up on to find out about new releases, […]

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How can you make a “good” clicker question GREAT?

May 16, 2014

This is another re-post of a blog post at the i>clicker blog. —- Sometimes we can be lucky enough to have access to a great set of clicker questions (see, for example, the list at STEMclickers.colorado.edu). But often a good set of questions for our course doesn’t exist, or another instructor’s questions don’t quite fit. Or, […]

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Getting students on-board with clickers and peer discussion

May 2, 2014

I have been blogging recently for the i>clicker blog (which has a lot of great articles on clicker use).  With their permission, I am reposting some of my articles here. —- I work a lot with faculty who are considering using clickers and peer instruction. Many faculty confide in me that they are concerned that students […]

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Free #clicker webinar: Facilitating Peer Instruction Effectively

January 25, 2014

I’m giving two free webinars this coming Wednesday on the use of clickers in the classroom to promote student discussion.  I’ve given a lot of these and they’ve always been very well received, come join us, it should be a good time!  Each is one hour long. 11 am PT / 2pm ET:  Recording  (I […]

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George Washington U. clicker workshop – Dec 10th

December 10, 2013

I am giving a workshop at George Washington University on the effective use of clickers, along with my wonderful colleague Stefanie Mollborn from Sociology.  This is a four-part half-day workshop, including information on facilitation, question writing, and tips for success. Do you want to learn how to use clickers – or any student voting technique […]

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Why I donated to PhET for #GivingTuesday

December 3, 2013

When I first came to CU from the Exploratorium — the premiere hands-on, “tinkering” science museum in the world — I was pretty disdainful about the idea of spending a lot of resources creating interactive simulations.  These aren’t hands-on, I thought, they’re fake, they’re missing the point.  Then I got to know the PhET simulations (http://phet.colorado.edu). […]

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PhET is looking for a K12 specialist!

October 30, 2013

I work part-time with the PhET Interactive Simulation project (http://phet.colorado.edu), which many readers are familiar with.  They have a rare position open, focusing on simulation design and use at the K12 level, and I wanted to share with you all!  Please share this announcement with others who might be interested. The online posting can be found […]

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Getting students to buy-in to non-traditional instruction

August 26, 2013

As the new semester is starting up, many of you are considering how to best promote student engagement in your course  — especially if you use non-traditional, research-based forms of instruction such as clickers, student discussion, or group work. We have a compiled set of approaches and materials, representing how instructors around the country help to […]

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PhET Simulations: Now on tablets! And a new logo!

August 21, 2013

Two big announcements from the PhET Interactive Simulations project! New!  Now for touch screens! First, PhET has been working their techie little butts off for quite a while to port their simulations over to HTML5.  No, I didn’t know what HTML5 was before this project started either.  It doesn’t really matter except that (a) it’s […]

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Clickers 101: Free webinar on Weds

August 19, 2013

Are you a college faculty member interested in clickers?  Come to our free, introductory webinar on Wednesday, 10:00 PT / 1:00 ET. To register, and for other webinars in this series, see http://bit.ly/19n2oEX (Note the session on October 30th geared towards humanities and social sciences, by my colleague Angel Hoekstra at CU Boulder). Handouts and slides […]

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Series of workshops on clickers and learning goals

August 19, 2013

I just completed a series of workshops on writing learning goals and using clickers to help with student achievement of those learning goals. You can find all the workshop materials on our website at the Science Education Initiative.  (Look for Past Workshops).  Includes handouts and slides, and you can download a zip of all materials. […]

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Postdoc job to transform UG courses at Colorado + STEM Center Director in Boston

July 26, 2013

Looking for a postdoc position in science educational research and course transformation?  Two exciting opportunities here at CU Boulder; these are fairly similar positions to my work here in the Science Education Initiative.  I get a lot of queries about where to find such positions, so hopefully this announcement will get out there to the […]

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How math anxiety affects performance (#PERC2013)

July 24, 2013

My other favorite talk at AAPT/PERC was by Sian Beilock (University of Chicago, Psychology), titled “Academic Performance under stress.”  Who would have guessed that from such an innocuous title would spring an intensely interesting, well-researched, sparklingly-clear exposition.  It is so refreshing to find a speaker who has clearly worked hard to communicate her field, and I’m […]

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Transformative experiences in science education (#AAPTsm13, #PERC2013)

July 23, 2013

One of the better talks at AAPT/PERC last week was one by Kevin Pugh of the University of Northern Colorado (Psychology dept).   Kevin discussed the psychology of a phenomenon that we are probably all implicitly familiar with as instructors, but wouldn’t generally consider to be the topic of scholarly work:  Under what conditions does […]

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Moving beyond telling faculty about educational innovations #aaptsm13

July 18, 2013

This post details a talk by Chandra Turpen about how faculty decide to adopt new instructional methods. A lot of previous work by Charles Henderson and Melissa Dancy has shown that the “develop and disseminate” model doesn’t work.  This is business-as-usual for educational innovators:  We develop innovations, share them at conferences and in papers, explain […]

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The history of Physics Education Research (PER) #aaptsm13

July 17, 2013

One session at AAPT is focusing on the history of physics education research (PER).  Karen Cummings (Southern Connecticut) was commissioned to write a report on the history of Physics Education Research (PER), along with others in biology, chemistry, earth science, etc.  All these papers were compiled into a book on the status of Discipline Based […]

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Feist and frustration in science #aaptsm13

July 17, 2013

I’m having a great time at the AAPT (American Association of Physics Teachers) summer meeting, and I have had so many people mention helpful blog posts from previous conferences that I thought I should try to sharpen my blogging-pen and do a little live-blogging from the sessions. An interesting talk just now from Jennifer Richards […]

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