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2010 Summer Meeting

2011 AAPT Summer Meeting
July 30-August 3, 2011
Omaha, Nebraska

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Sessions and Events w/Abstracts

Date: Tuesday, August 02


Total Number of Records Found: 9


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Research on Learning Assistants and TA's
  Location: SS 104
  Date: Tuesday, Aug.02
  Time: 8:30AM - 9:50AM
  Presider: Gary White,
  Co-Presiders(s): None
  Equipment: N/A
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Teaching Assistants' Reasons for the Design of Problem Solutions for Introductory Physics: Rationale and Methodology
  Location: SS 104
  Date: Tuesday, Aug.02
  Time: 8:30AM - 8:40AM
  Author: William Mamudi, Western Michigan University
  Co-Author(s): Charles Henderson, Shih-Yin Lin, Chandralekha Singh, Edit Yerushalmi
  Abstract: As part of a larger study to understand how instructors make teaching decisions, we investigated how graduate teaching assistants (TA's) perceive features of written problem solutions. TA's are an important population to understand; they often provide significant instruction and they also represent the pool of future physics faculty. This talk will focus on the methodology used to study TA's enrolled in a training course. Data were collected via a series of tasks related to concrete instructional artifacts (solutions to the same physics problem that vary in their representation of expert problem solving as well as in their instructional approach). Important aspects of the design were a) using artifacts from a previous study of faculty to allow for comparison of results, b) developing a written questionnaire that requires respondents to explicitly connect problem features with preferences and reasons, and c) documenting respondent ideas both pre- and post-discussion within their training course.
  Footnotes: None
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Teaching Assistants' Reasons for the Design of Problem Solutions for Introductory Physics: Findings
  Location: SS 104
  Date: Tuesday, Aug.02
  Time: 8:40AM - 8:50AM
  Author: Shih-Yin Lin, University of Pittsburgh
  Co-Author(s): Chandralekha Singh, William Mamudi, Charles Henderson, Edit Yerushalmi
  Abstract: As part of a larger study to understand how instructors make teaching decisions, we investigated how graduate teaching assistants (TA's) perceive features of written problem solutions. TAs are an important population to understand; they often provide significant instruction and they also represent the pool of future physics faculty. Twenty-four first-year graduate TA's enrolled in a training course were provided with different instructor solutions for the same physics problem and asked to discuss their preferences for prominent solution features. Preliminary findings reveal that providing a schematic visualization of the problem, listing knowns/unknowns, and explaining reasoning in explicit words were the most valued features. Preferences for different features were sometimes in conflict with each other. For example, while the TA's valued solutions where reasoning was explicitly explained, they also valued concise solution. We'll present the reasons behind these preferences and discuss the implications for the professional development of physics TA's.
  Footnotes: None
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Assessing Reflective Practice through Learning Assistant Reflections
  Location: SS 104
  Date: Tuesday, Aug.02
  Time: 8:50AM - 9:00AM
  Author: Geraldine L. Cochran, Florida International University
  Co-Author(s): Laird H. Kramer, Eric Brewe
  Abstract: We have analyzed reflections from our chemistry, mathematics, and physics undergraduate learning assistants (LAs) seminar to examine their development of reflective teaching practices. One goal of Florida International University's (FIU) LA seminar is to help our participants develop as reflective practitioners. We endeavor to reach this goal by means of classroom activities, classroom discussion, and reflective homework assignments. Weekly reflective papers on course readings and teaching experiences are assigned to help our students reach higher levels of reflection. To assess our Las' level of reflection, we analyzed reflections using Hatton and Smith's (1995) [1] "criteria for the recognition of evidence for different types of reflective writing." The three discipline-based LA programs at FIU utilizing the LA seminar are structurally different and include different kinds of teaching experiences. Thus, we have also investigated whether or not participation in the various programs may result in different levels of reflection for the Las.
  Footnotes: [1] Hatton, N. & Smith, D. (1995). Reflection in teacher education: towards definition and implementation. Teaching and Teacher Education 11, 33-49. Work supported by PhysTEC and NSF PHY-0802184
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Engaging Instructors in Discussing Student Difficulties: A Model for Preparation
  Location: SS 104
  Date: Tuesday, Aug.02
  Time: 9:00AM - 9:10AM
  Author: Benjamin T. Spike, University of Colorado - Boulder
  Co-Author(s): Noah D. Finkelstein
  Abstract: We report on the results of a recent effort to modify graduate Teaching Assistant (TA) preparation for the Tutorials in Introductory Physics by focusing instructor attention on potential student difficulties rather than simply the mastery of content. We track shifts in instructor awareness of student difficulties with Tutorials as a result of a simple intervention during TA preparation sessions. We share findings from this semester-long effort, and conclude by discussing broader implications for teacher preparation in both traditional and transformed environments.
  Footnotes: None
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Effects of the Learning Assistant 'Treatment' on In-Service Teachers' Practices
  Location: SS 104
  Date: Tuesday, Aug.02
  Time: 9:10AM - 9:20AM
  Author: Kara E. Gray
School of Education, University of Colorado, Boulder
  Co-Author(s): David C. Webb, Valerie K Otero
  Abstract: The Colorado Learning Assistant (LA) Program serves as a content-specific supplement to standard teacher preparation programs. In addition to transforming undergraduate STEM courses, it recruits and prepares math and science majors for teaching careers by involving university STEM faculty. The research reported here compares the teaching practices of in-service teachers who had the LA "treatment" as undergraduates to colleagues who did not participate in the LA program as undergraduates but were certified through the same program. We report on teachers' views of assessments, their views of learning, and differences in their teaching practices. This analysis is based on interviews with approximately 30 teachers and observations of their classrooms throughout their induction years of teaching. This work considers how the LA program may help improve current teacher preparation models.
  Footnotes: This work is partially funded by NSF grant #ESI-0554616.
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Comparing Learning Assistants' Classroom Practices to Colleagues Using Artifact Methodology
  Location: SS 104
  Date: Tuesday, Aug.02
  Time: 9:20AM - 9:30AM
  Author: Stephanie A. Barr, University of Colorado, Boulder
  Co-Author(s): Valerie K. Otero
  Abstract: The Scoop notebook [1] is an instructional artifact package developed to assess teachers' use of reform classroom practices. It is one of the tools used by University of Colorado's LA-Test research group to characterize differences in the classroom practices between former Learning Assistants (Las) teaching at the secondary level, and their colleagues. Analysis of these artifacts indicate significant differences between LA and non-LA groups. Other data sources corroborate these findings [2]. We will discuss the implications of this study and make inferences about the role of the LA experience in teacher preparation. We will also describe the method of using artifact packages to study classroom practice, discussing the pros and cons of this type of data.
  Footnotes: [1] H. Borko, B.M. Stecher, A.C. Alonzo, S. Moncure, and S. McClam, Educational Assessment 10, 73-104 (2005). [2] Gray, K., Webb, D. & Otero, V. (2010). Are Learning Assistants Better K-12 Science Teachers? In C. Henderson, M. Sabella, & C. Singh (Eds.) 2009 Physics Education Research Conference Proceedings. Melville, NY: AIP Press. * This work is partially funded by NSF grant # ESI ? 00554616.
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Case Studies of Increasing Participation in a Physics Learning Community
  Location: SS 104
  Date: Tuesday, Aug.02
  Time: 9:30AM - 9:40AM
  Author: Renee Michelle Goertzen, Florida International University
  Co-Author(s): Eric Brewe, Laird Kramer
  Abstract: We present a case study of two introductory undergraduate physics students' increasing participation in the physics learning community at Florida International University (FIU). An implicit goal in the reforms implemented by the Physics Education Research Group at FIU has been the establishment of multiple opportunities for entry into and participation in a community of physics learners. These opportunities include classes using research-based curricula (Modeling Instruction and Investigative Science Learning Environment), a Learning Assistant program, and a growing cohort of physics majors. Using interviews conducted across a year of introductory physics, we explore the trajectories of two students who have successfully increased their participation in a physics learning community.
  Footnotes: None
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Assessing Laboratories through Pre- and Post-testing: Optics
  Location: SS 104
  Date: Tuesday, Aug.02
  Time: 9:40AM - 9:50AM
  Author: Drew Baigrie, Texas Tech University
  Co-Author(s): Beth Thacker, Keith West, Mark Ellermann, Mahmoud Yaqoub
  Abstract: We present the results of written pre- and post-tests administered in large algebra-based and calculus-based introductory physics laboratories and a small inquiry-based, laboratory-based, algebra-based course. We also examine student performance as a function of TA teaching style, which is ranked using the RTOP assessment.
  Footnotes: This project is supported by the NIH grant 5RC1GM090897-02. Sponsored by Beth Thacker.
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