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Center for Astrophysics Research and Technologies Seminar Series Information


Events Calendar

The Past and Future of Physics Education Reform

Friday May 11, 2018
3:30 pm

 Presenter:  Dr. Valerie K. Otero, University of Colorado Boulder
 Series:  Physics and Astronomy Colloquium
 Abstract:  Physics Education Research investigates physics learning and instruction with a goal of building and testing instructional models that best serve a great diversity of students. Outcome measures include course learning gains, retention in introductory courses, and students' common reasoning and problem-solving patterns. Alongside these objectives is the goal of immersing students in the "Spirit of Science1"-the process of grappling with data, generating testable questions, and establishing defensible principles from evidence. In the early 1900s physicists Edwin Hall, Robert Millikan, and Charles Mann struggled to achieve these same goals in high school and college physics. After sharing a bit about the history of physics education reform, I will discuss my own work in this area. Specifically, the LA model instigates change by providing infrastructure to support and reward faculty/departments for instructional innovation. LAs are undergraduate students who, through the guidance of weekly preparation sessions and a pedagogy course, encourage students to engage in sense-making rather than answer-making in large enrollment courses, recitations, and labs. At the high school level, the Physics through Evidence-Empowerment through Reasoning Suite seeks to help teachers engage their students in the inductive process that has been sought after for so long, yet not achieved at a broad scale. I will discuss related scaling and sustainability efforts, and will provide data to support claims about effectiveness.

1. C. R. Mann, "What is Industrial Science?", Science, 39, 515, (1914).
 Host:  Leandra Goldflam
 Location:  Room 190, Physics & Astronomy

Refreshments will be available before the colloquium, at 03:15 pm, in in the P&A lobby.

Disability Notice Individuals with disabilities who need an auxiliary aid or service to attend or participate in P&A events should contact Sandra Ortiz (phone: 505-277-5900, email: sportiz@unm.edu) well in advance to ensure your needs are accommodated. Event handouts can be provided in alternative accessible formats upon request. Please contact Ms. Ortiz if you need written information in an alternative format.