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Physics Education Research Conference 2013

July 17, 2013 - July 18, 2013 in Portland, OR

From Fearing Physics to Having Fun with Physics: Exploring the Affective Domain of Physics Learning from Multiple Perspectives

Responses to learning physics are strongly emotional, for better or worse. While many students fear physics, an implicit goal that drives many PER researchers is the desire to cultivate in our students a love of the discipline. Nonetheless, affective issues are rarely explicitly addressed in our research or curricula. This may reveal a tacit assumption within our community that such "hot cognition" has little bearing on the "cold cognition" conceptual goals of physics. Recent research calls such assumptions into question, and the goal of this PERC is to highlight research across many disciplines that demonstrate the role of affect in science education.

Researchers from various fields, including educational psychology, neuroscience and the social sciences, have underscored the central role of affect in cognition. In cognitive science, researchers have shown that affect plays a central role in a variety of cognitive endeavors that are relevant to the learning of physics, including decision-making, attention, problem-solving, persistence, evaluations and judgments. In the social sciences, researchers have pointed to the close entwinement of affect to issues of identity, epistemology, agency, and a belonging to a community. While affect was once seen as a hindrance to cognition, this wide array of research seems to be converging towards a common theme: affect is fundamental to cognition. As a community, attending to affective issues in the teaching and learning of physics is pivotal to our understanding of students' engagement, achievement, and retention in the discipline.

The central goal of PERC2013 was to consider affect in physics education from multiple disciplinary perspectives. The sessions were designed to explicitly attend to affect in the teaching and learning of physics, in part by incorporating active engagement and experiential learning techniques. Since the best cross-pollination of ideas often happens outside a seminar room, we incorporated a blending of social, academic, and online spaces utilizing local coffee and chocolate shops and innovative crowd-sourcing technology.

Additional details are available in the Conference Program (.pdf).

Authors of accepted abstracts may attach an electronic version of their poster to their abstract.

Conference Details

Plenary Speakers
Session Formats
Program (.pdf)

Organizing Committee

Dedra Demaree, Oregon State University
Leslie Atkins, California State University Chico
Luke Conlin, Stanford University
Sissi Li, California State University Fullerton
Yuhfen Lin, Florida International University