T-PULSE was pleased to co-sponsor three lectures with the Department of Physics presenting:
Carl E. Wieman
Director, CWSEI, University British Columbia
Distinguished Professor of Physics, University Colorado
Documents from lecturesWieman Science Education talk McGill
Wieman physics attitudes talk
Wieman clicker talk McGill.PPT
Science Education Lecture
Science Education in the 21st Century: Using the tools of science to teach university-level science.
Guided by experimental tests of theory and practice, science has advanced rapidly in the past 500 years. Guided primarily by tradition and dogma, science education meanwhile has remained largely medieval. Research on how people learn is now revealing how many teachers badly misinterpret what students are thinking and learning from traditional science classes and exams. However, research is also providing insights on how to do much better. The combination of this research with modern information technology is setting the stage for a new approach that can provide the relevant and effective science education for all students that is needed for the 21st century. I will discuss the failures of traditional educational practices, even as used by “very good” teachers, and the successes of some new practices and technology that characterize this more effective approach, and how these results are highly consistent with findings from cognitive science.
Attitudes about physics and how they impact and are impacted by instruction
Students’ beliefs about physics are very important in how they learn the subject and their desire to pursue a physics degree. We have developed and validated surveys that probe students’ beliefs about physics and chemistry and about how these subjects are learned. These surveys provide a measure of students’ beliefs on a novice-to-expert scale that can be used to investigate the impact of teaching or relationships between beliefs and other educational outcomes of interest. These surveys are being used in courses across North America, including more than 15,000 students in over 50 courses at the University of Colorado. We see how beliefs correlate with learning of content, choice of major, and interest, and how different teaching practices impact beliefs in positive and negative ways. We have also seen surprising results with regard to the beliefs students have when they enter the university, particularly in how their beliefs about chemistry and physics can differ.