Monday, February 6, 2012

Winter Meeting: Monday Afternoon - Popular Media and Online Courses

After some In-N-Out Burger goodness, we're back to "How I Use Popular Media in Teaching Physics"

I've seen more people with tablet computers (not 'toy' tablets, but actual PCs) than I have since I taught at an all-tablet school!  I love my Lenovo tablet!

Angry Bird Physics

  • Rhett Allain!
  • This vehicle for engagement and analysis has been pretty well-covered (certainly very well by Rhett himself) in the blogs and even mainstream media, but I wanted to get it straight from the horse's mouth :)
  • A little Tracker analysis - I love using the quadratic fit rather than even the v vs t slope - kids often think that you can get the v directly from the video, not even knowing that there's an error-inducing difference quotient in there
  • The split blue birds have a total mass 45 times the mass of a single blue bird?!
  • The yellow bird analysis (what happens when you tap?) is a decent entry-way into designing an experiment that will need revision (it's not immediately clear what's going on and how to analysis the data), but it would really take a long time to collect all of that data, and I can see that many students would be disillusioned by that
  • The white bird egg dropping seems not only to use non-real physics (no problem), but it seems to reinforce some pernicious misconceptions (the egg always falls straight down, momentum's not conserved even in a conceptual way, etc.).  This may do more damage than it's worth, considering that students usually remember the first thing they see/hear, and that we've previously set up a few examples to illustrate that the physics is (sometimes, at least) good in this game
  • Good point that this requires indirect techniques, which is very indicative of science - we can't just weigh the rock, but have to come up with a way to get at what we want by measuring what we're able to measure
  • Contact: 
Next, I slide over to the "Online Physics Courses: Technology, Assessment, and Experiences" session:

Transforming Physics Curriculum by Teaching Physics Online
  • First point: online learning needs to be personal - tailored to the student, flexible, etc.
  • Star Trek IV clip!
  • Interesting: he's not afraid of making a statement.  So far, he's said that electronic books, regular books, and clickers are a dead end
  • Biggest point is that changing the content isn't the answer - it's about how the content is taught
  • The classroom needs to be a safe space where students can learn and discuss without the fear of punitive grading - sounds like SBG to me!
  • His vision seems to be about social media more than anything else 
  • OK, here it is: the social homework project
  • It's supposed to enable students to collaborate on their physics HW and to learn from each other.  There are peer-review, group solving, and discussion capabilities for rich-context problems, and they write problems and questions for other groups as well
  • It looks like a Facebook app/group for collaboration, basically.  Everything seems to be in an early form yet
  • A questioner brings up a common issue with discussion forums: frequently, a well-meaning student will "give away" the solution - this requires management and acculturation
  • Contact:
Particle Physics Online
  • This is about a CSU-wide online course in particle physics (senior undergraduate level)
  • They used Elluminate, with downloaded equation packet, live lecture with video camera with some whiteboard space.
  • They scanned and sent in HW, he sent back scores only
  • Tests were given live, by local faculty as proctors
  • Could any research-inspired methods be incorporated here?  Is that less important as the audience is winnowed down to upper UG physics majors and grad students?
  • Contact:
Online and Blended Climate Change Courses for Educators from AMNH
  • This is about some courses developed in partnership with the American Museum of Natural History and NASA
  • They aren't inquiry courses, but say that they try to model it
  • They're using a stripped-down and more accessible version of the global climate model
  • Good lessons here about bringing together model, theory, observation, causality, etc.
Tabletop Kits Help Students Grasp Concepts in Light

  • These kits are designed for students taking distance (or face-to-face) courses as a relatively simple way to get hands-on intuition about light
  • There's color mixing, diffraction spectra (glasses), some LEDs to demo things
  • Neat experiment using two LEDs to simulate amber light - very different spectra
  • Spectra about CFL backlit monitors
  • Apertures to develop the ray model of light - good conceptual question about a hole at the end of a hallway
  • Pupil aperture size/power
  • Point vs. extended sources through apertures, also with shadows
  • Neat question giving two point sources, location of shadow components on screen - where's the shadow-caster?
  • Ray tracing to determine image location with flat, curved (cylindrical) mirrors
  • Photoelectric-type effect: UV making paper glow green, red light won't
  • Peacock feather for iridescence
  • Increases engagement, but doesn't always transfer - more mental-model creation needed in structure of investigations
We'll be back after dinner!

    1 comment:

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