program_wb_i - page 141

July 26–30, 2014
Wednesday afternoon
concepts. This talk will present activities that use these simulations to eluci-
date some topics in astronomy. In particular, it will describe using PhETs to
study: “Orbits, Gravity and Kepler’s Law,” “What Stars are Made of,” “Stellar
Temperature” and “Stellar Luminosity.”
2:20-2:30 p.m. Intelligent Coaches for Problem Solving
in Physics*
Contributed – Leonardo Hsu, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
Kristin Crouse, Evan Frodermann, Ken Heller, Qing Ryan, University of Min-
Intelligent tutoring systems (ITSs) were introduced more than 40 years ago
and the idea of Computer Assisted Instruction (CAI) has been in existence
almost since the birth of computers. The University of Minnesota Physics
Education Research Group has combined that work with research from
cognitive science and physics education to develop an instructor-modi-
fiable web-based system for providing students with coaching in solving
physics problems. This system, called Customizable Computer Coaches for
Physics Online (C3PO), is designed to help students develop expert-like
problem-solving skills by providing them with individualized guidance and
feedback while they practice solving problems. In this talk, we describe the
system, its place in the constellation of ITSs for physics education in the
universe of CAI, and the plans for future development.
This work was partially supported by NSF DUE-0715615 and DUE-1226197.
2:30-2:40 p.m. The Software Framework for Customiz-
able Computer Coaches for Physics Online*
Contributed – Kristin N. Crouse, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
Evan Frodermann, Ken Heller, Leon Hsu, Bijaya Aryal, University of Min-
The University of Minnesota Physics Education Research Group has been
developing Customizable Computer Coaches for Physics Online (C3PO),
a web-based system designed to help students develop expert-like problem
solving skills. C3PO delivers instructor-modifiable coaching programs
that provide students with individualized guidance and feedback while
solving physics problems. In this talk, we discuss the software architecture
of the system and the design process and demonstrate some of the system’s
*This work was partially supported by NSF DUE-0715615 and DUE-1226197.
2:40-2:50 p.m. Computer Programming Made Easier
with Canopy
Contributed – Larry Engelhardt, Francis Marion University, Florence, SC
Computational physics is hard. Students need to learn computational
thinking, at the same time that they learn the syntax of a programming
language, as well as specific algorithms, without letting any of this get in
the way of the physics! In this talk, we will demonstrate “Canopy” which is
an environment for the Python programming language that helps makes
this process a little bit easier. In particular, Canopy includes a new debug-
ger (released spring 2014) that makes it easier than ever to understand the
mechanics of a computer program
2:50-3 p.m. CUDA: At-Home Supercomputing
Contributed – Jacob Knoles,* California State University Chico, Chico, CA
Eric Ayars, California State University Chico
NVIDIA CUDA is a simple programming API that harnesses the comput-
ing power of the Graphical Processing Unit, or GPU, and puts it directly
into everyday users’ hands. The significance of this concept is that modern
GPUs can have upwards of 3000 processing cores, as opposed to a typical
quad-core processor. These extra cores allow users to complete complex
and time-consuming calculations in fractions of a second. Parallel pro-
gramming is leading the way in modern High Performance Computing
Priscilla Laws, David Jackson, Maxine Willis, Dickinson College
One of the short interactive video vignettes (IVVs) developed by the
LivePhoto Physics Group targets student understanding of Newton’s third
law. This seven-minute interactive web-delivered vignette was designed
to supplement textbook readings. It includes real-world and laboratory-
based video segments and users must answer multiple-choice questions.
Throughout the IVV, student responses are echoed back to them while
they see the questions resolved. As part of an evaluation to determine
the impact of the IVV on student understanding of Newton’s third law, a
controlled study was conducted involving three professors who each taught
two sections of an introductory physics course, with only one section of
students completing the IVV as a homework assignment. Students in all
sections were pre- and post-tested using the Force Concept Inventory.
Results will be presented to demonstrate the impact of the IVV on student
learning of Newton’s third law.
*Work supported by NSF DUE #1123118 & 1122828
1:50-2 p.m. Software for Interactive Video Vignettes*
Contributed – Robert B. Teese, Rochester Institute of Technology, 54 Lomb
Dr., Rochester, NY 14623;
Thomas J. Reichlmayr, Rochester Institute of Technology
Priscilla W. Laws, David Jackson, Dickinson College
Software developed in the LivePhoto Physics Interactive Video Vignettes
Project is being used in introductory physics courses, introductory biology
courses and advanced physics lab courses. Interactive Video Vignettes
are short, online activities that combine narrative videos with interactive,
hands-on elements for the user such as video analysis or multiple-choice
branching questions, in which the user’s answer affects the sequence of ele-
ments that follow. The software that powers vignettes is delivered over the
Internet and runs in a normal browser on the user’s device. The same soft-
ware can be used to make Interactive Web Lectures for flipped classrooms,
online learning, and MOOCs. A Java application that teachers can use to
create their own vignettes and online lectures is under development and
is available for testing. The software will be demonstrated and the status of
the development will be described.
*Supported by NSF grants DUE-1122828, DUE-1123118 and DUE-12110685.
2-2:10 p.m. Next Generation PhET Simulations: New
Features for Teaching and Learning*
Contributed – Katherine K. Perkins, University of Colorado Boulder, UCB 390,
Boulder, CO 80309-0001;
Stephanie V. Chasteen, University of Colorado Boulder
With the emergence of new educational platforms (e.g. iPads and
Chromebooks) and opportunities for increased interoperability among
educational technologies, the PhET Interactive Simulations project at
University of Colorado Boulder recently launched a new initiative to create
next-generation PhET simulations. These next-generation simulations
are built in HTML5 with new touch-and-tablet compatible designs (See
and sims
tions/category/html). This work brings a unique opportunity to build-in
new functionality—functionality that would be common across all of the
simulations and that would enable new teaching, learning, assessment, and
research opportunities. We have solicited input and ideas from the broader
education community. In this session, we summarize the list of new
features under consideration—such as, recording user interactions with the
simulations, combining tabs from multiple simulations, pre-setting simula-
tion configurations, or enabling screen capture with annotation— and
discuss how these features will extend teaching and learning opportunities,
including addressing the NGSS.
*This work is funded in part by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and the
William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.
2:10-2:20 p.m. Using PhETs in Astronomy
Contributed – Rhoda Berenson, New York University, New York, NY 10010-
The University of Colorado website,, provides simula-
tions of physical situations designed to help students grasp scientific
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