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Abstract Title: Using technology to enhance physics teaching: Research-based technology innovations
Abstract: In this session, an international group of researchers will invite participants to explore new ways of teaching with technology through multimedia demonstrations and poster discussions. Spanning the use of screencasts, digital lab reports, iBooks, animated illustrations, and interactive simulations, researchers will share their recent findings for innovative technology use capable of enhancing physics teaching from middle school to undergraduate classrooms.
Abstract Type: Poster Symposium

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Ben Van Dusen
CU Boulder
and Co-Presenter(s)
Ben Van Dusen, Valerie Otero, André Bresges, Daniel Laumann, Raimund Girdwidz, Emily B. Moore, and Katherine Perkins

Symposium Specific Information

Moderator: Ben Van Dusen
Presentation 1 Title: Blurring the Boundary Between Physics Problem Solving and Students' Peer Cultural Practices
Presentation 1 Authors: Ben Van Dusen & Valerie Otero (University of Colorado Boulder)
Presentation 1 Abstract: This study investigates differences in AP physics students' solutions to problems when creating them in traditional pencil and paper notebooks and in screencasts. The students' notebook and screencast solutions were examined for structural differences in their problem solving procedures and for correctness. These findings were combined with the examination of students' self-reports of behaviors and experiences while creating their solutions. Findings show that, within this classroom environment, students created more complete solutions to traditional physics problems and were more likely to get the correct answer when doing them on screencasts versus notebooks. Student surveys show that they felt more socially connected, increased authorship, and less frustration when creating solutions in their screencasts. Our findings suggest that the improvements in student work and increased social interactions were associated with the iPad-based screencasts acting as boundary objects, giving students the opportunities to creatively incorporate personally meaningful practices into their physics assignments.
Presentation 2 Title: Creating digital lab reports - effects on student's skill development
Presentation 2 Authors: André Bresges (University of Cologne)
Presentation 2 Abstract: Building up competence in planning, conducting, assessing and evaluating experiments and communicating their outcome are core competencies in most national curriculas. Grading a lab report gives only limited amount of information about how far this competencies have been developed in an individual. Tablet-PCs with their integrated cameras, internal and external measurement devices, and integrated video editing suites give the opportunity to create video lab reports that provide additional informations about student's experimental and presentation skills - while, possibly, leaving out other informations.
In a Design Based Research (DBR) Project targeted both at middle school and university students, we seek optimized processes to prepare for experimental labwork, building and testing factual knowledge, conduct and document experiments and store and grade electronic lab reports. Research methods include electronic pre/post testing with comparison groups, parttaking observation and guided interviews. Preliminary results show enhanced groupwork and a tendency to more theory-guided experimenting. Factual knowledge, on the other hand, needs still to enhanced e.g. by rigid pre-testing prior to the lab session.
Presentation 3 Title: Magnetism 2.0: Concept and Evaluation of a Multimedia Learning Environment
Presentation 3 Authors: Daniel Laumann (Münster University)
Presentation 3 Abstract: The topic of magnetism fascinates people already since 2000 years and has always been an inherent part of curricula in physics education. Based on the properties of static textbooks the dynamic processes of magnetism were excluded in the present models. This fact is a problem in the understanding of magnetic phenomena and the compatibility of existing models with current scientific research in physics. Such a dynamic model of magnetism could be provided with the help of a multimedia learning environment (iBook) and usage of scientific methods for the visualization of magnetism (MOKE, MFM) on school level. To identify essential properties of such model, the knowledge of physics teachers about magnetism and interesting applications of magnetism for school a questionnaire has been developed and a teacher survey has been conducted. Considering the results of this survey and notable perceptions of physics education research regarding the existing models a first prototype of multimedia textbook was developed.
Presentation 4 Title: Animated Illustrations, Multicoding and Multimodality - Finding critical factors for an effective information processing
Presentation 4 Authors: Raimund Girdwidz (University of Munich)
Presentation 4 Abstract: What are important settings for making learners benefit from illustrations and animated visuals?
One aspect is that the learning content as such has to be considered. Here we focus on phenomena that are not visible with naked eyes. Pictures and animations (in combination with text and formulas) are used to illustrate relevant physical characteristics that cannot be seen in reality. Examples and classifications will be shown.
Another important aspect is to assist information processing using multimedia to offer interactive visualizations and to provide possibilities also for combinations with acoustic information. Results from a study with 99 students who worked with a multimedia learning environment will be discussed. Distinction should be made between knowledge that was primarily based on pictorial information or on text based information. The best results provided animations with spoken explanatory text where pictorial imagination is important for understanding. This was significant for all students, but especially fruitful for the not so capable students. Concerning abstract, text based information students with higher abilities profited from written text, while students with lower abilities (median split) gained better results with spoken text.
These results relate to material explaining how infrared motion detectors and infrared thermometers work, and how Planck's law and infrared radiation can be made more familiar. Possibilities for transfer to other areas will also be discussed.
Presentation 5 Title: Student use of an interactive simulation in a large-lecture setting:  Analysis of students' simulation interactions, discussions, and perceptions
Presentation 5 Authors: Emily B. Moore and Katherine Perkins (University of Colorado Boulder)
Presentation 5 Abstract: Interactive simulations are popular pedagogical tools with wide use in lecture demonstrations and recitation activities. Here, we investigate what can happen when students use interactive simulations as part of small-group activities in a large-lecture setting. In one general chemistry class, the eighty students (organized into self-selected small groups) were given 10 minutes to explore the PhET simulation Molecule Polarity without instructions on how to interact with the simulation. During this exploration time, we collected simulation interaction data (student mouse clicks), audio recordings, and clicker question responses from all student groups. We found that students explored the simulation fully without instructions, engaged in predominately on-topic conversations during exploration, and found the simulation easy to use and helpful for their learning. Further discourse and interaction analysis of a subset of on-topic student discussions uncovered rich examples of mechanistic reasoning supported by the simulation.