higher education

Sciencegeekgirl fails the geek test

August 21, 2008

Oh dear, do I have to rescind my “sciencegeekgirl” moniker? Twisted Physics just posted about a “Test your Science Savvy” quiz that was posted on World’s Fair. I got two wrong on that quiz (which disqualifies me from being a geek, by their scoring), but it was because I was thinking too hard, in a […]

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Everything You Ever Wanted to know about Gender Issues in Science/Math Education

August 16, 2008

Richard Hake and Jeffry Mallow have compiled over 700 research papers on how males and females learn — and are taught — science and mathematics.  Wow! You can download the PDF of their work here. If that link stops working at some point, the permalink is in Reference 55 here. The first page reads: This […]

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Sucky schools and how to repair them

August 15, 2008

Here’s a fantastic post from An Amazing Mind about the state of mathematics education and what can be done about it.  A very nice review of education reform and the reasons for it.  He starts out: A musician wakes from a terrible nightmare. In his dream he finds himself in a society where music education […]

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The Make-Believe World of Real-World Physics (Eric Mazur)

July 26, 2008

[[AAPT Millikan Lecture: Eric Mazur]] Eric Mazur (Harvard) was awarded the Millikan prize this year, and this blog post is a detailed account of the marvelous keynote lecture he gave for the occasion. You can download the entire presentation on his website, and I recommend that you do so, because, well, it was marvelous! The […]

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Twisting the Ivory Tower (OR Change in university physics )

July 25, 2008

[[AAPT Session: Transforming University Physics Departments]] This (VERY LONG) post is primarily for college teachers. Many of us are questioning whether the way we teach science at the university level is the best way to do it. Do we really want to perpetuate the current system, which rewards students who can perform abstract calculations with […]

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Novel ways to ask physics questions

July 22, 2008

[[AAPT Sesson:  Text editing, problem posing, and jeopardy tasks in introductory physics, Fran Mateycik]] I heard a couple neat ideas at a talk on some different ways to pose physics questions. Jeopardy Students are given a part of a problem and then asked to come up with the problem statement.  For example, F = m(hull)*g […]

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Easing the transition to upper-level college physics courses

July 22, 2008

[[AAPT Session:  Easing the transition to upper level E&M, Corinne Manogue and Improving the Teaching and Learning of Upper-Division E&M, Chandralekeh Singh]] This post is primarily of interest for college faculty. There have been a wealth of good discussions at this conference about how to work on making changes to upper-division or middle-division college courses.  […]

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Physics in the virtual world

July 22, 2008

[[AAPT Session: Study of Computer Simulations — Interface design for engagement, learning and assessment, Wendy Adams]] You know, when I first arrived at the University of Colorado, everyone was talking about these PhET Simulations that showed virtual versions of real physics phenomena, and I was really skeptical. Why simulate physics when you can go out […]

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Physics as Performance

July 20, 2008

[[AAPT Workshop:  Physics as Performance]] Today I went to a whole day workshop on doing physics as performance — using theater techniques to spice up a physics demonstration or roadshow. This is science as entertainment — which isn’t really a bad thing. I would argue that participants might not learn that much science from these […]

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Make ’em predict it… REALLY predict it.

July 20, 2008

[[AAPT SESSION: BEYOND PIAGET]] This will be the last post from the (incredibly thought provoking) session on Piaget. This is about the value of having your students predict what will happen in an experiment or demonstration in order to have them change their ideas about the world. For example, there’s a wonderful little demonstration/experiment about […]

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It’s "just a theory"

July 19, 2008

[[AAPT SESSION: BEYOND PIAGET]] One problem or question that I have about emphasizing that the explanations we give for phenomena are our own inventions is that we also want students to have some faith in the products of science (the traditional “content” of science) because its based on such a wealth of past experiment. Let […]

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Science isn’t "out there", it’s "in here"

July 19, 2008

[[ AAPT SESSION: BEYOND PIAGET]] Students often come into our class ready to be filled with knowledge about science. They see the knowledge as “out there,” that the teachers are there to give us the truth about the world. But, at least one perspective is that the only thing that is “out there” are the […]

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The folk theory of physics teaching

July 19, 2008

[[AAPT SESSION: BEYOND PIAGET]] Why do we teach physics? I’m in a workshop today (run by Dewey Dykstra) about how people change their ideas about the world (I’m going to try not to use phrases like “cognitive framework.”) What do we want our students to know and see? For many years, there has been a […]

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