Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Physics Education?

  1. Dec 8, 2007 #1
    Considering how much the field of physics education is growing, I am surprised that it is not included as a topical forum here.

    A search did not return anything pertinent on the topic. Has this been discussed before?

    Jim D.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 8, 2007 #2

    Moonbear

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    That was part of the intent of the Academic and Career Guidance forum when it started, but we didn't get much discussion happening on education for the educators, and mostly students looking for advice, and that's what the forum has morphed into.

    You are more than welcome to start discussion on those topics. General Discussion is a suitable place for such a topic now.
     
  4. Dec 8, 2007 #3

    robphy

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    I would also like to see a forum focused on "physics education research" and "physics pedagogy"... something that might attract more AAPT members. I'd like to see more detailed discussion of textbooks... not merely whether someone likes it or not.
     
  5. Dec 8, 2007 #4

    Moonbear

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    My bias is that I'd like to see it be a bit broader to include math and science education, not just physics education. But, that's what I had in mind back when we started A&CG...it just never really came to fruition. We have a different complement of members here now, and I think more educators, so it might be time to try to get that going again.
     
  6. Dec 9, 2007 #5

    Pyrrhus

    User Avatar
    Homework Helper

    What is this "education" talk? Are we going to have a forum dedicated to show our view of how physics or any other science should be taught? How concepts should be explained to students?

    Those discussions are neverending stories.

    Now, if you guys are talking about research in science. Well, for physics they are usually posted under the appropiate forum (mostly "Beyond the standard model"). Of course, reasearch in chemistry should be in chem forum, biology in bio forum, and so on.

    For "education" the only aspect, i agree is the textbook review. We have a forum for this already. Maybe the reviews should be more detailed, but let's start this trend by example.
     
  7. Dec 9, 2007 #6

    robphy

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    Yes, how physics or any other science should be taught.
    They may be neverending stories...
    but they are active topics of research... funded by the NSF.

    From the physics side,
    http://www.aapt.org/

    http://prst-per.aps.org/
    http://scitation.aip.org/ajp/
    http://www.iop.org/EJ/journal/PhysEd
    http://www.iop.org/EJ/journal/EJP

    http://www.physics.umd.edu/perg/
    http://mazur-www.harvard.edu/
    http://phet.colorado.edu/new/research/index.php (http://www.colorado.edu/news/releases/2006/194.html)
    http://www.physics.orst.edu/bridge/
    http://phys.educ.ksu.edu/
    http://modeling.asu.edu/
    http://www.phys.washington.edu/groups/peg/
    http://www2.ncsu.edu/ncsu/pams/physics/Physics_Ed/
    to name a few.

    There's more to education than textbooks.
    There are discussions on: active-vs-passive learning, use of computers, classroom design, peer instruction, demonstrations, curriculum development, pedagogy (e.g., "how to teach momentum" or my favorite "how to teach special relativity"), etc...
     
  8. Dec 9, 2007 #7

    Astronuc

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Excellent topic! And to echo Moonbear, I think this discussion can be extended to a broader discussion of mathematics and science. It is a hot topic and IMO a critical matter for the future. It's also something that I've been thinking about since high school, where one of my biggest issues was the lack of feedback from the higher ed sector to the high school. In preparation for college, I was left wondering about what I needed to study in order to optimize my undergrad program. When I got to university, I was wondering what I needed to study in order to optimize by education toward a PhD and a professional career. Now that I'm in industry (and have been for 20 years), I'm looking back and wondering about what we can do to help students get the most out of the high school and university education. Personally, I don't see much of a change in more than 30 years since I left high school, although I am aware there are some really good programs out there, but they general target students of high achievement.

    Anyway, in addition to robphy's list, I'd add:

    NRC (National Resource Council) Report Addresses Education of Science and Math Teachers
    http://www.aip.org/fyi/2000/fyi00.107.htm
    http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?isbn=0309070333

    Well, IMO, there is still a lot of improvement to be realized.

    And let's recognize the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.
    http://www.nctm.org/

    Mathematics is the language of science, particularly physics, and the sciences are their own culture. To be literate in the culture, one must be proficient in the language.

    I wonder if there has ever been a joint conference involving NCTM and AAPT. If not, it's about time there was.

    American Mathematical Society - www.ams.org

    http://www.mathforamerica.org/

    Mathematician Receives National Medal of Science and Technology
    http://www.nctm.org/2007_10medalawarded.aspx

    Curriculum Focal Points for Prekindergarten through Grade 8 Mathematics: A Quest for Coherence.
    http://www.nctm.org/standards/default.aspx?id=58

    The Roles of Representation in School Mathematics (2001 Yearbook)
    http://my.nctm.org/ebusiness/ProductCatalog/product.aspx?ID=748
    TOC - http://my.nctm.org/ebusiness/ProductCatalog/Temp_Images/748_contents.pdf


    After reading Peter Woit's book, Not Even Wrong, I'm left wondering if there is still a disconnect in the teaching of mathematics and physics.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2007
  9. Dec 9, 2007 #8

    robphy

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

  10. Dec 9, 2007 #9

    Gokul43201

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I would be not-at-all opposed to an Education/Pedagogy subforum opened up under A&CG, on an experimental basis. It is often the creation of a specific forum that causes people to (sign up and) post on topics relevant to the issues handled there.

    What's the worst thing that can happen? If there's no traction, the subforum can easily be dissolved and its contents emptied out into A&CG. Also, it takes up no addotional space on the forum main page and requires no shuffling of material that will confuse Google.
     
  11. Dec 9, 2007 #10

    Kurdt

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    It would be worth a trial. There are certainly plenty of people on PF that are actively teaching physics and maths and I'm sure they would make great use of it.
     
  12. Dec 9, 2007 #11

    Astronuc

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    I think that is the key. It's difficult to maintain momentum on a set of related topics if they get buried among other topics not directly related.
     
  13. Dec 9, 2007 #12

    jtbell

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    I'd be happy to see a physics education/pedagogy forum, too. I'll also be glad to moderate it if it is created, provided that it's after New Year. This coming week is final exam week here, so I'm going to be up to my ears in giving and grading exams, calculating final grades, and starting to prepare for next semester's classes; and the following week I'm going away for the holidays (without Internet access) and won't be back until New Year.
     
  14. Dec 9, 2007 #13

    Doc Al

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    I have a long-standing interest in physics pedagogy, so I'd like to see such a forum as well. (Especially if jtbell has already volunteered to moderate it!)
     
  15. Dec 9, 2007 #14

    robphy

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    The "trial period" should certainly extend into the spring semester... especially since many of the potential posters are probably in the midst of finishing up their fall courses.

    Side question: I wonder how many PF folks are AAPT members.
     
  16. Dec 9, 2007 #15

    arildno

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

    Said so, two years ago..perhaps the time has come now to open a sub-forum for pedagogics..
     
  17. Dec 9, 2007 #16

    Moonbear

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I think that's a great idea for placement and a trial period.

    This does seem like something important to do, because there seems to be a lack of exchange between those researching science education and those researching science, although those researching science are often the ones also in the classroom doing the science education.

    It goes beyond how to just organize material, choose a textbook, and teach using a variety of styles. How do you identify which students will learn through different learning styles to make sure they get the right type of attention? When you teach with a certain style, while some may learn better, and some no better or worse than any other style, what about the student who fares worse using that approach? How do you identify them and get them learning without hindering all the other students in the class?

    As people take on graduate students, how do you teach someone else how to teach? How do you know when they're ready to manage their own classroom?

    What about understanding different developmental stages in learning? Or dealing with past educational experience? If you usually teach at the college level and are asked to visit an elementary school or high school classroom, what are age appropriate activities and expectations? If you're teaching college freshmen, how do you adapt what you teach to the students who had absolutely horrible high school science classes and are really behind in their knowledge level and also keep the class sufficiently interesting for the very advanced student who came from a high school with excellent teachers and all the best educational materials and opportunities available?

    What about textbook selection? How many people just choose textbooks for their courses because it's the textbook they used in their classes? When a publisher sends you a new textbook to consider, how do you evaluate it and decide if it's suitable for your course? You're going to want to choose a different textbook to teach physics majors an intro physics course than you would to teach the pre-med students, and again different from the one for non-science majors. How do you evaluate what books are appropriate for each level of student, and that you're teaching to the right level, when your only personal experience was as a physics major?

    There are a ton of questions that can be asked and that people actively research to help answer, so I really do think this is an area that can be of great benefit to the members here.
     
  18. Dec 9, 2007 #17

    arildno

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

    There are a few ugly truths professional pedogogics researchers refuse to acknowledge:

    Students who make noise, don't bother to do homework etc sabotage the learning environment of others, and hence should be thrown out.

    Here in Norway, these students are to remain "integrated" in the classroom, and it is said to be the teacher's fault that they make noise and sabotage.

    Students unwilling to learn should not be given the opportunity to destroy learning for those who want it, and those who want to teach as a profession.
     
  19. Dec 9, 2007 #18

    robphy

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?



Similar Discussions: Physics Education?
  1. Education forum (Replies: 9)

  2. Educative chat rooms. (Replies: 12)

Loading...