aapt_program_final_sm13 - page 131

July 13–17, 2013
Wednesday afternoon
3:40-4:10 p.m. The AAPT/PTRA ToPPS Program at
Invited – Steven J. Maier, Northwestern Oklahoma State University, 709
Oklahoma Blvd., Alva, OK 73717;
Saeed Sarani, Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education
In 2011, Northwestern Oklahoma State University began hosting AAPT/
summer institutes for Teachers of Physics and Physical Science
Aligned with the state’s STEM vision, ToPPS seeks to bet-
ter prepare Oklahoma’s future workforce through relevant professional
development and to serve as a source of support for rural districts. While
most participants are middle school teachers, others include teachers from
elementary and secondary schools. For many participants, the NWOSU
ToPPS program serves as the only physics teacher preparation they have
had access to. The challenge of striking a balance among participants’ var-
ied expectations, prior knowledge, and teaching experiences has turned out
to be the greatest asset of this program. In this talk, data on the effective-
ness of the program will be presented followed by discussion of long-term
goals (such as sustainability) and the implications/impact this program has
already had on HS physics teaching in Oklahoma.
Session GG: Best Practices in
Educational Technology II
Location: Galleria II
Sponsor: Committee on Educational Technologies
Date: Wednesday, July 17
Time: 2:40–4:30 p.m.
Presider: Frances Mateycik
2:40-2:50 p.m. Clickers in Small Classrooms: A Help or
Contributed – Bradley S. Moser, University of New England, Department of
Chemistry and Physics, Biddeford, ME 04005;
Clickers are often viewed as beneficial to student learning, especially in
large classes, where they help create an interactive environment. Are click-
ers unfailingly fruitful, or do they sometimes stymie successful instruction?
At the University of New England, small Studio Physics classrooms and
modeling instruction methods offer a highly engaging learning experience
to students. In a classroom that already offers a compelling learning envi-
ronment, are clickers a useful pedagogical tool or a redundancy? Drawing
heavily upon Peer Instruction and PhET simulations, four instructors
used a bank of questions aimed at ascertaining clicker effectiveness. Two
instructors used clickers, while two others presented questions without
the use of such technology. Style, implementation, and enthusiasm were
varied. Gathering evidence in the form of clicker responses, assessment
gains, student feedback, and instructor feedback, we scrutinized the rela-
tive contribution of clickers to student learning and offer our advice on
best practices.
2:50-3 p.m. Creating a Community of Nerds with
Facebook Groups
Contributed – Eugene Torigoe, Thiel College, Greenville, PA 16125;
In 2011 I was the second member of a Facebook group created for people
in the Allegheny College Physics Department. The group has grown to over
50 members and has become a forum to discuss physics news, to share
jokes, and to ask questions. It has lowered the barrier of communication
between faculty, students and alumni. This year I started another Facebook
group for the Thiel College Physics Department, and it has been a very im-
portant tool we use to recruit students and connect with others in the com-
munity. I’ll discuss how to set up a group, the benefits of having a Facebook
group, and some of the challenges I’ve faced building a community.
3-3:10 p.m. Improving Formative Assessment in
High School Physics with Learning Catalytics
Contributed – Lisa Lamont, Windward School, 11350 Palms Blvd., Los Ange-
les, CA 90066;
Simon Huss, Windward School
Brian Lukoff, Harvard University
The Windward Science and Technology Department has implemented
Learning Catalytics* in its introductory physics classroom, utilizing this
cloud-based audience-response platform to take formative assessment
to the next level. Developed by Harvard researchers, Learning Catalytics
greatly expands on existing clicker technology, offering additional means
of assessing student comprehension. Windward faculty has integrated this
tool into their existing student-centered, inquiry-based curriculum. The
curriculum combines hands-on laboratory activities and demonstrations
with formative assessments delivered via the Learning Catalytics platform.
The program utilizes proven teaching strategies such as Physics Ranking
Tasks and Interactive Lecture Demonstrations that are quickly delivered
and evaluated using this unique system. The discussion will include Wind-
ward’s experience with implementation, observed outcomes, and directions
for future study, described in the context of two academic units.
*Please visit the Learning Catalyics website at: LearningCatalytics.com
3:10-3:20 p.m. Does Electronic Homework Impact
Students’ Performance in College Physics?
Contributed – Emily S. Roth,* Bradley University, 1501 W. Bradley Ave.,
Peoria, IL 61625;
Kevin R. Kimberlin, Jose Lozano, Bradley University
The purpose of this study is to get a better understanding of the impact
that online homework versus hard-copy homework assignments have on
performance in introductory algebra-based physics at Bradley University.
An initial step in this study was to examine online homework effective-
ness by analyzing factors such as homework completion time, homework
scores, individual exam scores, average test scores, and initial Force Con-
cepts Inventory (FCI) scores (N=29, Fall 2012), taught in the traditional
format. In the spring of 2013 two sections of the course were conducted in
a similar format; however one section used handwritten assignments, while
the second used online assignments from Mastering Physics with the same
problems (N~27). The results are presented in this work.
*Sponsored by Kevin Kimberlin
3:20-3:30 p.m. Effective Use of LaTeX in High School
Physics Assessment
Contributed – Joshua Gates, The Tatnall School, 5 E Brookland Ave., Wilm-
ington, DE 19805;
LaTeX markup language is used widely in academia and by college and
university professors, but it isn’t as widely known among high school
teachers. The easily learned/easily Googleable syntax can make beauti-
ful and flexible assessments. The author will present some basics, offer
templates and libraries for use, and demonstrate how Python programming
can be used to manage a database of problems—creating, displaying, and
assembling them into assessments much more quickly than can be done
with word-processing software (and with better results).
3:30-3:40 p.m. Using Tablets in a Large-Enrollment
Introductory Course
Contributed – Todd G. Ruskell, Colorado School of Mines, Physics Depart-
ment, Golden, CO 80401;
Many large-enrollment introductory physics courses now use personal
response devices (clickers) to engage students during class and collect data
for real-time formative assessment. However, most systems only allow
for multiple-choice or in some cases numeric or simple text answers. A
program called inkSurvey allows faculty to ask more open-ended questions
and students can submit both text and graphical responses from tablet
computers. This provides faculty much greater insight into a student’s
problem-solving process. In our pilot project standard clickers were used
in the first half of a calculus-based physics I course, and in the second
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