Keynote lectures

Note that only keynote lectures, oral presentations and workshops are listed in the Conference Programme. Posters are NOT listed there.

All contributions, including posters, are presented in the ICPE-EPEC 2013 Book of Abstracts, which can be downloaded here.

Eugenia Etkina, Rutgers University, USA
Josip Slisko, Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla, Mexico
Kyoko Ishii, Tamagawa Univerisity, Japan
Pratibha Jolly, University of Delhi, India
Leopold MathelitschUniversity of Graz, Austria, Austria
Irena Dvorakova, Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic
Rupert Leitner, Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic
Douglas Caldwell, NASA-SETI, USA

Eugenia Etkina, Rutgers University, USA


Using physics to help students develop scientific habits of mind

Biography:
Eugenia Etkina is a professor of physics education at Rutgers University, Graduate School of Education and the chair of the Department of Learning and Teaching. She has 30 years of teaching experience in physics and astronomy instruction at middle school, high school and university levels. She earned her Ph.D. in physics education from Moscow State Pedagogical University. She created a unique program of physics teacher preparation and an Investigative Science Learning Environment (with A. Van Heuvelen) - a comprehensive inquiry-based physics learning system that engages students in experiences similar to that of practicing physicists who construct and apply knowledge. She also developed a new approach to helping students acquire scientific abilities. Other methods developed by Dr. Etkina and used by university and high school physics instructors include teaching mechanics on rollerblades and reflective Weekly Reports. Her main research interest is in the cognitive and epistemological aspects of learning physics, acquisition and transfer of scientific abilities, and in the process of constructing physics teacher Pedagogical Content Knowledge. 

Abstract:
Interactive engagement curricula are successful in helping students develop conceptual understanding of physics principles and solve problems. However, another benefit of actively engaging students in the construction of their physics knowledge is providing them with an opportunity to engage in habitual “thinking like physicists”. Some examples of such thinking are: drawing a sketch before solving any physics problem, subjecting normative statements to experimental testing, evaluating assumptions, or treating each experimental results as an interval. We can help students develop these “habits of mind” if we purposefully and systematically engage them in the processes that mirror the processes in which physicists engage when they construct and apply knowledge. For such engagement to occur, we need to deeply re-conceptualize the role of experiments in physics instruction and their interaction with the theory. However, most importantly, we need to rethink the role of the instructor in the classroom.

Presentation


Josip Slisko, Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla, Mexico


Active physics learning: Making possible students' cognitive grow, positive emotions and amazing creativity

Biography:
Josip Slisko is a professor-researcher at the Facultad de Ciencias Físico Matemáticas of the Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla (Puebla, Mexico). He holds BSc in physics (University of Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina), MSc in philosophy of science (University of Zagreb, Croatia) and PhD in philosophical sciences (University of Skopje, Macedonia). His academic activities are related to physics education (recently to mathematics education, too). In his research, the main focus is on students’ explanatory and predictive models of physical phenomena, design of active learning sequences in classroom and online, and students’ performances in solving untraditional physics and mathematics problems. He is member of Mexican National System of Researchers (since 1994) and in 2011 was awarded by the Medal of the Latin American Physics Education Network for his contributions to the physics education in Latin America. He published several physics textbooks in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Mexico. Since 1993, every last weekend in May, he organizes International Workshop “New Trends in Physics Teaching” for high-school and university teachers interested in using results of physics education research for improving their teaching (http://www.fcfm.buap.mx/eventos/taller).

Abstract:
It is well known that carefully designed sequences of active physics learning support students' comprehension of physical concepts and laws. If only this were its effect, active learning should replace lecture-based teaching and passive students' learning at all educational levels. Fortunately, the impact of active learning experiences in students is much broader. In my talk I would share research-based and anecdotal evidence about effects of active physics learning on students' cognitive level, emotions and creativity. A few students' demonstrations of weightlessness in free fall will be shown, too.

Presentation


Kyoko Ishii, Tamagawa University, Japan


Active learning in teacher training

Biography:
Kyoko Ishii, M.A. is a professor in the Faculty of Education and Regional Studies at the Tamagawa Univerisity, Japan. She has experience as an elementary school teacher and currently contributes to the professional development of science teachers for all school levels. As a core member of Lady Cats, she has encouraged girls and women to study physics and has introduced “simple and beautiful experiments” at international conferences.

Abstract:
Active learning is an innovation of teaching and learning and strongly connected to teacher education reform. A teacher’s role in a knowledge based society is being shifted from a knowledge teller to a facilitator.

The practice of active learning in teacher training in the University of Fukui in Japan will be introduced. The faculty provides active learning for prospective teachers to engage themselves in scientific inquiry collaboratively. Students training to be teachers apply “Physics by Inquiry” (McDermott and the Physics Education Group at the University of Washington) during their undergraduate course. The students discuss and develop physical concepts.

We are also encouraging in-service teachers to innovate the lesson through “lesson study” and collaborative reflection. Professional development is a continuous, lifelong process for teachers because they are reflective practitioners. A teacher who is reflective tries to pay attention to the minds of the students and to figure out what the students think. In Japan, teachers try to improve “pedagogical content knowledge (PCK)” through “lesson study”. They develop active learning programs to encourage their students to acquire knowledge through participating and experiencing.

Presentation


Pratibha Jolly, University of Delhi, India


A Collaborative Initiative for Strengthening Undergraduate Physics Education and Promoting Active Learning in the Developing World

Biography:
Dr. Pratibha Jolly is Principal of Miranda House, the premiere college for women at the University of Delhi. She has the distinction of having been member of the International Commission on Physics Education (ICPE), Commission 14 of the International Union for Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP) from 2002 to 2005; being elected as Chair from 2005 to 2008 and then, being re-elected to Chair for a further period of three years till 2011. She also served as Vice President of IUPAP from 2005 to 2008. She is the National Point of Contact for the Asian Physics Education Network (ASPEN), promoted by UNESCO. She was the co-chair for the historic Physics Education segment in the World Conference on Physics and Sustainable Development (WCPSD) held in October 2005 at Durban and is a member of the group responsible for implementation of its action plans. This engagement led to the conceptualization of the Physware series of Educate the Educator workshops to promote active learning in the developing world with formal support from IUPAP and the Abdus Salam Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP.)
Dr. Jolly gained her Ph.D in Chemical Physics from University of Delhi. She has worked extensively in the area of Physics Education Research and Curriculum Development at the tertiary level. Her multifaceted work has led to the establishment in 2008 of the D S Kothari Centre for Research and Innovation in Science Education at Miranda House. The Australian Leadership Fellow Award (2013), the Fulbright New Century Scholar Award (2009-2010), the American Physical Society K R Fellowship (1994-95) and the Commonwealth Academic Staff Fellowship (1986-87) have enabled an international focus and collaborations spanning several decades. She also serves on several national committees and is currently on the Scientific Advisory Committee for the Cabinet, Govt. of India.

Abstract:
Project Physware emanates from globally shared concerns on the lack of high-quality education in physics with detrimental consequences on scientific research and socio-economic progress. A significant milestone in international cooperation, Physware aims to provide a sustainable collaborative model for capacity building of physics educators through a series of Educate the Educator workshops for those in the developing countries. The workshops are carefully designed to promote activity based pedagogic methods proven to be effective through rigorous educational research. They propagate curriculum and resource materials that are easily adapted to the needs of any region. While the emphasis is on using low-cost equipment and appropriate technologies that are locally accessible, participants are also introduced to ways of integrating emerging computer-based technologies for physics teaching, contemporary research, and applications of relevance to the work place. They explore ways of teaching fundamental new physics within the context of contemporary pedagogy that is both, hands-on and minds-on. After the success of a pilot workshop held at Trieste in 2009, the Physware series was launched in 2012 from the University of Delhi. Both workshops brought together a vibrant and eclectic group of participants who contributed actively to creation of innovative resource materials. It is hoped that many participants will emerge as regional leaders. Feedback shows that going beyond the constraints of its workshop format, Physware has the potential to emerge as a professionally networked community of practice.

*The Physware workshops have so far been conceptualized and co-directed by the author along with Priscilla Laws, Elena Sassi and Dean Zollman.

Presentation


Douglas Caldwell, NASA-SETI, USA

 

The Kepler Mission: Finding and Understanding Exoplanets using Undergraduate Physics

Biography:
Dr. Douglas Caldwell is a Co-Investigator and the Instrument Scientist for the Kepler Mission, an ambitious, space borne telescope that will examine one hundred thousand stars for evidence of orbiting worlds. He works for the SETI Institute in the Kepler Science Office at the NASA Ames Research Center. Dr. Caldwell is an expert on one of the most promising schemes for finding small worlds far beyond our solar system: looking for the slight dimming of a star caused when a planet crosses between it and us, known as a "transit." He has been involved in transit experiments since their first attempts in the late 1990s. He began working on a ground-based observatory in California and then led an effort to search for transiting exoplanets from the South Pole. He joined the Kepler Mission in 2001 and was named Instrument Scientist in 2006. Dr. Caldwell received a Ph.D. in Physics from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1997.

Abstract:
We are living in a new golden age of discovery where the goal is not new continents, but entire planets around other stars, or "exoplanets." Since their first discovery in the 1990s, nearly 1000 confirmed exoplanets have been found along with thousands of other planet candidates. Within the next few years we will know whether planets like the Earth are common or rare in our galaxy and the students in school today won't remember a time when the existence of other solar systems was even in question. This tidal wave of discoveries, which has captured the public imagination, was made possible by advances in instruments and computing power, but the physics and math behind the search for and characterization of exoplanets is broad-based and largely covered in introductory undergraduate-level courses. I will discuss some of the physics tools used in various exoplanet detection techniques, emphasizing those used to understand and interpret data from NASA's Kepler Mission. By drawing examples from current exoplanet research, we can motivate students and let them know that what they are learning allows them to understand and contribute to cutting-edge research that is reshaping our understanding of our place in the universe.

Presentation


Leopold Mathelitsch, University of Graz, Austria


Physics and Sport

Biography:
Leopold Mathelitsch has studied physics and mathematics at the University of Graz to become a teacher. But after his graduation he was offered the possibility to work on a PhD in theoretical particle physics. He worked in this field for several years, among others also as research associate at the Texas A&M University and at the Université Paris Sud. After his habilitation in theoretical physics he became associate professor at the University of Graz (1984). Later he returned to his original area of interest and has performed research on didactics of physics since then. His main activities are related to interdisciplinary aspects of physics (acoustics, sport), to multimedia in physics teaching, and to competencies in science education. He is author of about twenty books, mainly text books for secondary schools. Right now he is head of the Centre for Didactics of Physics in Styria, president of MPTL (Multimedia in Physics Teaching and Learning), member of the Editorial Board of “European Journal of Physics”, and of the Educational Division of the European Physical Society.

Abstract:
The combination of sport and physics allows for an extreme interpretation of active learning: students perform athletic activities, they measure physical parameters of their own movements, and analyze the resulting data. Since human motions are very complex, simplifications are necessary in order to interpret and understand the data. This includes active modelling and leads finally to a mathematical formulation. But new technologies can also play a crucial role in this process. Video cameras and in particular high speed cameras are now available on the market in such high quality and low price that school labs can afford to buy and handy them to the students for use. Also software for analyzing movements on videos can be applied by the students, since some of them exhibit a very comfortable handling, for example by providing an automatic tracker. Various examples of different sports activities, from physics lectures in school gyms to world-record events, should give an impression of the variety of possibilities that are inherent in connecting (school) physics and sport in an active way.

Presentation
Videos


Rupert Leitner, Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic

 

Recent discoveries in Particle Physics and physics teaching

Biography:
Rupert Leitner (1958) is associate professor of particle physics at the Charles University in Prague. He is reading lectures on nuclear and particle physics and experimental foundations of the Standard Model. He supervised several bachelor, diploma and PhD thesis. Currently he is involved in the experiment ATLAS at CERN Large Hadron Collider, he was leading (2001-2005) the project of ATLAS hadron calorimeter TileCal. He is also member of international neutrino experiment Daya Bay. He is author and co-author of many scientific papers; he has served in various committees, in particular High Energy and Particle Physics committee of the EPS (2004-2012) and was part of Organizing Committees of various particle physics conferences and Schools.

Abstract:
In 2012 major discoveries in particle Physics were announced, the most important being the discovery of the Higgs-like boson with CERN LHC experiments ATLAS and CMS, as well as very important measurement of the third yet unknown mixing angle in neutrino oscillations experiments Daya Bay and RENO. Main experimental aspects of these discoveries will be explained using the knowledge of basic Physics.

Presentation


Irena Dvorakova, Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic


Active learning in the Heureka Project – teachers in the role of students

Biography:
Irena Dvořáková is a teacher of physics and mathematics and she holds a PhD in physics education. Currently she teaches physics at lower secondary school Červený Vrch, Prague and also is a teacher at the Department of Physics Education, Faculty of Mathematics and Physics, Charles University in Prague. She has many years of experience with teaching physics at different levels ranging from 12 years old pupils to adults. She is the main creator of the Heureka Project, which started in 1991 and which is oriented to physics education for students and teachers. The Heureka Project, its in-depth analysis and results, was also the subject of her PhD thesis. The main part of her job nowadays is organizing and leading both pre-service seminars for students who will become future physics teachers and in-service seminars for teachers participating in the Heureka Project.

Abstract:
Active work is a basic component of learning and teaching in our long-term Heureka project – both at school with pupils and in teacher training. Teachers in our seminars work the same way as pupils or students at school – they solve the same problems, do the same experiments and sometimes they even make the same mistakes. We offer them long-term and systematic training – the cycle of seminars for new participants takes ten weekends during the course of two years. So all participants have the possibility and also time to change their approach to teaching physics.

The character of our seminars is rather informal. Teachers join Heureka on a voluntary basis and for this they have no formal advantages or benefits at their schools. Also seminars are free of charge; they are organized during weekends, and teachers stay (and sleep) in classrooms. In spite of these conditions, already the 6th cycle of seminars for new participants has started in the autumn of 2012. From all the teachers that have attended Heureka so far, there are about 150 teachers that remain active and in contact with us. They have the possibility to meet both at different seminars organized for them and at an annual conference “The Heureka Workshops”. Usually more than 100 participants and guests from abroad take part on this conference.

We are convinced that our experience could be interesting and inspiring for other people working in physics education in different countries.

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