AAPT_WM14program_final - page 52

Sunday afternoon
Session BI: Teacher Preparation
and Enhancement
Location: Salon 3
Sponsor: AAPT
Date: Sunday, January 5
Time: 4:30–5:50 p.m.
Presider: Ntungwa Maasha
4:30-4:40 p.m. Regular Classroom Tests as a
Means of Motivating Teacher Trainees Learn Con-
cepts in Electronics
Contributed – Kodjo Donkor, Taale University of Education, Winneba,
Ghana Department of Physics Education, Winneba, Central Region GH
25 Ghana;
This study was an action research that employed regular class-
room tests to help students learn and understand some concepts in
electronics. The participants were Level 400 students of the Depart-
ment of Physics Education of the University of Education, Winneba,
Ghana. The study was carried out in two phases, pre-intervention and
post-intervention activities. Students were taught for 12 weeks and at
the end of each forth night, made to take a test made up of practical
activities and essay-type test on the concepts learned in the previous
two weeks. Most of student responses in the weekly tests reflected un-
derstanding of the concepts learned in that their scores improved and
could set up simple practical activities in electronics and carry them
out successfully in the laboratory. The outcome of this study shows
that students, if tested regularly, may improve in their understanding
of electronics and other physics concepts.
4:40-4:50 p.m. Tracking High School Physics
Teaching in Iowa
Contributed – Jeffrey T. Morgan, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar
Falls, IA 50614-0150;
Darian Everding, University of Northern Iowa
In 2009, we surveyed Iowa high school physics teachers to ascertain
their educational backgrounds, content coverage, and pedagogical
approaches in their courses, and views of effective instruction, among
We repeated the survey in 2013, keeping many questions the
same but tweaking others to gain new insights into the reasons some
teachers leave the profession and the amount of inquiry-oriented
instruction that teachers employ. We present survey highlights and
trends observed over the four-year period that inform stakeholders
in Iowa and similar states with significant numbers of small, rural
1. The survey report is available at
4:50-5 p.m. Undergraduate Pathway to Teaching
Physics at Georgia State University
Contributed – Brian D. Thoms, Georgia State University, Department of
Physics & Astronomy, Atlanta, GA 30302-5060;
Elizabeth Walker, Sumith Doluweera, Joshua Von Korff, GSU
The Department of Physics & Astronomy at Georgia State Univer-
sity has begun an effort to increase the quantity and quality of high
school physics teachers with an emphasis on increasing recruitment
into teaching of students from under-represented groups. GSU is a
large, growing, urban, research university with a diverse student body.
Recently a teacher certification pathway within our BS in Physics
program has been added to the existing master’s level program. As a
new PhysTEC comprehensive site, our efforts include new recruiting,
mentoring, and induction strategies, reform of introductory, calculus-
based physics courses, and the addition of a teacher-on-residence. We
will describe the recruiting and mentoring efforts and early success
of the new undergraduate path to certification which is projected to
produce four physics teachers in 2013-2014 and five in 2014-2015.
5-5:10 p.m. Exploring Technology-Enhanced Active
Learning in Physics Teacher Education
Contributed – Marina Milner-Bolotin, The University of British Columbia,
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4 Canada;
Heather Fisher, Alexandra MacDonald, University of British Columbia
Active learning pedagogies, such as Peer Instruction (PI), have been
proven to be effective in undergraduate physics teaching. However,
they are still rare in secondary schools and in physics teacher educa-
tion programs. One of the reasons for that is methods instruc-
tors’ mistrust of the pedagogical effectiveness of multiple-choice
conceptual questions. While modern educational technologies open
opportunities for using open-ended questions in PI, multiple-choice
conceptual questions in teacher education are still underutilized. In
this study Peer Instruction pedagogy was supplemented by the use of
a collaborative online system—PeerWise (PW) (peerwise.cs.auckland.
ac.nz). PI&PW pedagogy allowed researchers to investigate the
development of questioning skills in secondary teacher-candidates
through the use of peer collaboration. We report on the effects of
PI&PW implementation in a semester-long physics methods course
on teacher-candidates’ content and pedagogical knowledge, on their
attitudes about active learning, and on willingness and ability to
implement active learning pedagogy during their practicum.
5:10-5:20 p.m. Investigating the Impact of Clicker-
Enhanced Pedagogy in a Secondary Physics
`Methods Course
Contributed – Alexandra MacDonald, The University of British Columbia,
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada;
Heather Fisher, Marina Milner-Bolotin, University of British Columbia
One of the most commonly explored technologies in contemporary
STEM educational research is electronic response systems (clickers).
Benefits of clicker-enhanced pedagogy include: encouraging active
student participation, reducing anxiety, supporting formative assess-
ment, and promoting conceptual understanding. Most studies, how-
ever, investigate the effects of these technologies in large undergradu-
ate STEM courses. The role of clicker-enhanced pedagogy in small
secondary or post-secondary classrooms is still relatively unexplored,
especially in the context of teacher education programs. This study
investigates whether clicker-enhanced pedagogy is effective in a small
secondary physics methods course by considering its impact on sup-
porting an inquiry-oriented curriculum, increasing the instructor’s
ability to diagnose gaps in teacher-candidates’ pedagogical-content
knowledge, and consequently to improve it. This study sheds light on
developing teacher-candidates’ capacities to utilize, design, and imple-
ment inquiry-oriented clicker-enhanced pedagogy, the impact of this
process on their pedagogical-content knowledge and attitudes toward
the value of conceptual learning.
5:20-5:30 p.m. Who Is Teaching High School
Physics in Central Florida?
Contributed – Jacquelyn J. Chini, University of Central Florida, Orlando,
FL 32816;
Kevin H. Thomas, Malcolm B. Butler, Talat S. Rahman, University of
Central Florida
The University of Central Florida has recently become a PhysTEC
comprehensive site to promote the recruitment and training of highly
qualified physics teachers in the Central Florida area. PhysTEC has
identified several key components of successful physics teacher prepa-
ration programs, including efforts directed at our own students, such
as a learning assistant program and early teaching experiences, as well
as efforts directed at the teaching community, such as fostering com-
munication and mentoring with and between local physics teachers.
To better support the local high school physics teaching community
and provide relevant mentoring to our future teachers, we need to
understand the backgrounds of our local teachers. We will present re-
sults from a survey of the pathways local teachers took to their current
positions, highlighting their certification process and other training,
and discuss how these results will
shape our future efforts to engage
and support the high school phys-
ics teaching community.
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