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Developing expertlike epistemologies about physics empirical discovery using virtual reality
written by Jared P. Canright and Suzanne White Brahmia
The process and role of developing new scientific models experimentally is a cornerstone of physics -- and arguably an important learning objective of laboratory courses -- but research in physics education suggests that the content-focused, ``cookbook'' paradigm of lab instruction common in the last 2-3 decades does not effectively meet this objective. These instructional practices often leave students believing that in-class experiments exist to supplement conceptual learning and that the sole purpose of real-world experiments is to test theories. As a result, many students frame lab work as an exercise in knowledge confirmation, and often develop the expectation that all physics that appears in the labs can be found with a Google search. Framing a real-world lab such that its results are Google-proof enough to engage students in the process of scientific discovery requires great creativity. This paper describes an alternative approach, using virtual reality to integrate the process of authentic scientific discovery into the lab curriculum. We developed labs in which students explore and develop mathematical models for unknown force laws between new kinds of particles that we invented. We find that this intervention produced significant shifts in students' epistemologies about experimental physics toward being more expertlike --  specifically regarding the central role experimentation plays for research physicists in making new discoveries and developing theories, and the role of laboratory experiments in teaching a nuanced and unique scientific way of knowing.
Physics Education Research Conference 2021
Part of the PER Conference series
Virtual Conference: August 4-5, 2021, 2021
Pages 75-80
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Education - Applied Research
- Active Learning
= Inquiry Learning
- Curriculum Development
= Laboratory
- Instructional Material Design
= Activity
- Technology
Education - Basic Research
- Cognition
= Cognition Development
- Student Characteristics
= Skills
- Upper Undergraduate
- Graduate/Professional
- Lower Undergraduate
- Reference Material
= Research study
PER-Central Type Intended Users Ratings
- PER Literature
- Researchers
- Professional/Practitioners
- Administrators
- Educators
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Format:
application/pdf
Mirror:
https://doi.org/10.1119/perc.2021…
Access Rights:
Free access
License:
This material is released under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. Further distribution of this work must maintain attribution to the published article's author(s), title, proceedings citation, and DOI.
Rights Holder:
American Association of Physics Teachers
DOI:
10.1119/perc.2021.pr.Canright
NSF Number:
1256082
Keyword:
PERC 2021
Record Creator:
Metadata instance created September 28, 2021 by Lyle Barbato
Record Updated:
September 29, 2021 by Lyle Barbato
Last Update
when Cataloged:
October 10, 2021
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Record Link
AIP Format
J. Canright and S. White Brahmia, , presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2021, Virtual Conference, 2021, WWW Document, (https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=15728&DocID=5462).
AJP/PRST-PER
J. Canright and S. White Brahmia, Developing expertlike epistemologies about physics empirical discovery using virtual reality, presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2021, Virtual Conference, 2021, <https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=15728&DocID=5462>.
APA Format
Canright, J., & White Brahmia, S. (2021, August 4-5, 2021). Developing expertlike epistemologies about physics empirical discovery using virtual reality. Paper presented at Physics Education Research Conference 2021, Virtual Conference. Retrieved December 8, 2022, from https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=15728&DocID=5462
Chicago Format
Canright, Jared P., and Suzanne White Brahmia. "Developing expertlike epistemologies about physics empirical discovery using virtual reality." Paper presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2021, Virtual Conference, August 4-5, 2021, 2021. https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=15728&DocID=5462 (accessed 8 December 2022).
MLA Format
Canright, Jared P., and Suzanne White Brahmia. "Developing expertlike epistemologies about physics empirical discovery using virtual reality." Physics Education Research Conference 2021. Virtual Conference: 2021. 75-80 of PER Conference. 8 Dec. 2022 <https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=15728&DocID=5462>.
BibTeX Export Format
@inproceedings{ Author = "Jared P. Canright and Suzanne White Brahmia", Title = {Developing expertlike epistemologies about physics empirical discovery using virtual reality}, BookTitle = {Physics Education Research Conference 2021}, Pages = {75-80}, Address = {Virtual Conference}, Series = {PER Conference}, Month = {August 4-5, 2021}, Year = {2021} }
Refer Export Format

%A Jared P. Canright %A Suzanne White Brahmia %T Developing expertlike epistemologies about physics empirical discovery using virtual reality %S PER Conference %D August 4-5, 2021 2021 %P 75-80 %C Virtual Conference %U https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=15728&DocID=5462 %O Physics Education Research Conference 2021 %O August 4-5, 2021 %O application/pdf

EndNote Export Format

%0 Conference Proceedings %A Canright, Jared P. %A White Brahmia, Suzanne %D August 4-5, 2021 2021 %T Developing expertlike epistemologies about physics empirical discovery using virtual reality %B Physics Education Research Conference 2021 %C Virtual Conference %P 75-80 %S PER Conference %8 August 4-5, 2021 %U https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=15728&DocID=5462


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