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Panama - Florida State University, Panama


  • Barrera, Azael

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Dr. Azael Barrera
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FSU Panama pioneered the implementation of Studio Teaching in Panama and the Central American region. Studio Teaching, introduced at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in the early 1990s, is based on physics education research and combines inquiry and Socratic methods in an active learning environment that promotes teamwork.

Physics Studio Teaching at FSU Panama, is one result of PER research work since 2005, integrates short lectures, experimental activities, workbook-tutorial and problem solving in collaborative groups, all interspersed in every class session.

The Studio Classroom at FSU Panama utilizes tablet PCs, interactive multimedia projectors and a whiteboard per working group for handwriting in peer instruction discussions; it also counts with pocket computers for data acquisitions and smart sensors, for real-time experimental activities during class. Smartphone apps are used as personal response systems during conceptual quiz and tests discussions.

Among other studies, analysis of entry conceptual state and gain is being performed with well-known inventory tests (FCI and FMCE) since 2005 at FSU Panama, and earlier, from 1997 to 2004, at other institutions.  Conceptual gains through out the last three secondary years has been also studied in local high schools.

Dr. Barrera is the lead PER researcher and conducts Physics Education research at university and K-12 levels.

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Dr. Azael Barrera