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Abstract Title: Instructional Goals and Research Methods in the International PER community: A GIREP Symposium
Abstract: The Groupe International de Recherche sur l'Enseignement de la Physique or "GIREP" (GIREP.org) is an international membership organization founded in 1966.  GIREP is open to individuals interested in improving the teaching of physics at all levels.  GIREP conferences, workshops and symposia are major events in the international PER community and provide essential opportunities for the dissemination of research findings and other advances in physics teaching.  This symposium is intended to promote closer connections between the US and international PER communities.  Speakers will present their own research findings, highlighting some of the methodologies that are common outside the US, as well as the diverse educational goals and institutional contexts that inform that research.
Abstract Type: Poster Symposium

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Paula Heron
University of Washington
Dept of Physics
Box 351560
Seattle, WA 98195-1560
Phone: 206-543-3894

Symposium Specific Information

Discussant: Dean Zollman, Kansas State University
Moderator: Paula Heron, University of Washington
Presentation 1 Title: The process of an iterative design of a teaching learning sequence on electromagnetic induction
Presentation 1 Authors: Kristina Zuza, University of the Basque Country, Spain, kristina.zuza@ehu.es
Presentation 1 Abstract: This contribution proposes a iterative methodology for designing teaching-learning sequences. We will describe the didactical tools used in the design of the sequence which involve contributions from Physics Education research, STSE aspects and epistemological analysis of the contents of the school curriculum. In the presentation will be specified the methodology for the case of electromagnetic induction. This topic, in the usual teaching, is usually quickly analyzed, spending most of the time to solve problems in a more or less rote manner. However, Physics Education research has shown that the fundamental concepts of the electromagnetic induction theory are barely understood by students.
Presentation 2 Title: Project laboratory for beginning physics majors: Think like a physicist from the start
Presentation 2 Authors: Gorazd Planinsic, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, gorazd.planinsic@fmf.uni-lj.si
Presentation 2 Abstract: I will present 12 years of experience of leading "Project laboratory" course for first and second year physics majors. The main goal of the course is to develop students' science competences and skills in situations that are close to working conditions of physicists. This goal is achieved by giving the students an opportunity to work in small groups on open ended practical problems. The work takes 9 hours of class time (and more hours outside of class) and is spread over three weeks. Students design/build their own equipment, plan their own investigations and interpret and explain collected data. I will discuss the logistical and technical aspects of the course (equipment, examples of project tasks, etc.) present the examples of projects that students completed and share students' perceptions of learning in the course as expressed in their course evaluations.
Presentation 3 Title: Learning with pictures, figures, graphs and text
Presentation 3 Authors: Raimund Girwidz and Bianca Watzka, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Germany, girwidz@lmu.de
Presentation 3 Abstract: Pictures, figures, charts, symbols or graphs present information in many different ways. However, there are also specific suitable working methods for using them and for activating effective mental processing of information. Otherwise they will not contribute to multiple knowledge representations.
The use of pictorial task exercises was tested in a quasi-experimental study. 177 students (9th graders) participated in the study. The influence of working with different representations on knowledge acquisition and on knowledge transfer was examined. Knowledge acquisition, knowledge transfer, cognitive activities, and motivation were measured in the three groups that worked with: (a) written task exercises, (b) pictorial exercises and (c) mixed exercises.
This study was realized in a broader context of context oriented leaning with modern sensors, also to overcome inert knowledge. This context, the study, statistics and the findings will be discussed.
Presentation 4 Title: Developing formal thinking from phenomena exploration
Presentation 4 Authors: Marisa Michelini, University of Udine, Italy, marisa.michelini@uniud.it
Presentation 4 Abstract: In the framework of the Model of Educational Reconstruction we study the development of formal thinking starting from phenomena exploration. Research is focus on contributing to practice developing vertical coherent content related learning proposals by means of Design Based Research and on finding ways to offer opportunities for understanding and experience what physics is, what it deals with and how it works in operative way. The research is not only limited to those that function in practice, but integrate learning processes analysis. Empirical data analysis is carried out on three main research problems: 1) individual common sense perspective with which different phenomena are viewed and idea organization, in order to activate modeling perspective in phenomena interpretation, 2) the exploration of spontaneous reasoning and its evolution in relation to a series of problematic stimuli in specific situations, in order to formulate activity proposals, 3) recognizing the modalities for overcoming conceptual knots in the learning environment in order to reproduce these conditions. Three main aspects are studied: 1) object-models role in favoring the student's first interpretative steps, 2) ICT role in overcoming conceptual knots, 3) developing theoretical thought in an educational path concerning quantum mechanics.