2012 Physics Teacher Education Coalition Conference Invited Talks


Lunch Plenary: Chemistry Teacher Education Coalition: Extending the PhysTEC Model to Chemistry   -   Talk

Keynote speaker: Mary Kirchhoff, American Chemical Society

12:00 PM - 1:30 PM on Friday, Feb 3, 2012
Salon 2/3

The American Association of Employment in Education reports that chemistry, like physics, faces "some shortage" of educators.  Inspired by the success of the Physics Teacher Education Coalition (PhysTEC), the American Chemical Society (ACS) is developing the Chemistry Teacher Education Coalition (CTEC) to actively engage chemistry departments in the preparation of future chemistry teachers.  Engaging chemistry departments in teacher preparation would increase the number and diversity of well-prepared high school chemistry teachers while catalyzing cultural change within chemistry departments.  Many features of PhysTEC, such as a grant competition to create model teacher preparation programs and regular conferences, are directly applicable to chemistry.  This presentation will provide an overview of ACS efforts to launch a successful CTEC initiative.

Opening Plenary

Opening Plenary: Engaging Universities and Professional Societies in Education and Teacher Preparation   -   Talk

Keynote speaker: Phil DiStefano, University of Colorado at Boulder

9:00 AM - 10:00 AM on Friday, Feb 3, 2012 Salon 2/3

Lunch Plenary

Lunch Plenary: Adapting Physics and Everyday Thinking (PET) to Large Classes: How to Engage Students in the Practice of Science   -   Talk

Keynote speaker: Fred Goldberg, San Diego State University

12:30 PM - 2:00 PM on Saturday, Feb 4, 2012 Salon 2/3

The next generation science standards (1), currently under development by Achieve and based on the NRC's new Science Framework for K-12 Science Education (2), will combine science content with the practices of science. This coupling highlights the importance of engaging prospective elementary teachers in the practices of science as they learn content during their undergraduate science course experiences. The Physics and Everyday Thinking (PET) curriculum (3) was designed to provide that engagement in discussion and laboratory based classroom settings of 36 or fewer students.  However, because of economic and staffing issues, many colleges and universities teach courses populated with prospective elementary teachers in large, lecture-style settings.  Over the last several years I have worked with a team of science educators to develop courses for large class settings that still aim to engage students in the practices of science. In this talk I will describe how we have adapted critical features of the original PET curriculum in the design of two new courses: Learning Physical Science (LEPS) and Learning Physics (LEP).

*Work described in this talk has been supported by NSF grants 0096856, 0717791 and 1044172
(1) See http://www.nextgenscience.org
(2) See http://www7.nationalacademies.org/bose/Standards_Framework_Homepage.html
(3) Published (2007) by It's About Time, Armont, NY

Workshops and Panels

Learning Assistants

Introduction to the Learning Assistants Program at CU Boulder   -   Talk

Laurie Langdon, University of Colorado at Boulder

10:30 AM - 12:00 PM on Friday, Feb 3, 2012 Mountain View Salon B

This session is intended for faculty who are just beginning their efforts in implementing (or thinking about implementing) the Colorado Learning Assistant (LA) model at their universities. Participants will be introduced to the general philosophy of the program and to the nuts & bolts of running the program. Participants will work through content and pedagogical materials that are used in the physics department and in the School of Education to support LAs and to transform their large-enrollment courses. Data will be presented to support claims about the efficacy of the program demonstrating its impact on student performance. Data that demonstrate the LA program's impact on teacher performance in the K-12 classroom will also be presented and discussed.

Creating Engaging Learning Environments in Mega Classes   -   Workshop

Edward E. Prather, University of Arizona, Center for Astronomy Education (CAE)

1:30 PM - 3:00 PM on Friday, Feb 3, 2012 Mountain View Salon B

In this participation-based workshop, you will take part in a unique professional development activity designed to enable you to train your former undergraduate general education students to become teaching assistants (TAs) capable of implementing instructional strategies proven to move students from a passive role to an intellectually active role in the LECTURE portion of your class.  This combined professional development and general education undergraduate teaching assistants program (which are all part of the larger Ambassadors Program at UofA), are being used to transform the teaching of a "mega" introductory science courses with enrollments of 750 or more.  Gen. ed. students participating in this "Ambassador Program" have gone on to pursue a minor degree in Astronomy, some are creating curriculum and doing research on the teaching and learning in mega classes, while another is pursuing an advanced degree in science education. Active audience participation will be required--and it will be fun, really!!

Video Resources for Learning Assistant Development   -   Workshop

Co-presenters: Rachel E. Scherr, Seattle Pacific University; Renee Michelle Goertzen, American Physical Society

3:30 PM - 5:00 PM on Friday, Feb 3, 2012 Mountain View Salon B

The Video Resource for Learning Assistant Development is a package (under development) of thematic case-based "video workshops," designed to supplement the University of Colorado's widely disseminated LA development program.  In a video workshop, short, compelling video episodes are accompanied by captions, transcript, excerpts from instructional materials, and targeted discussion questions to help LAs and faculty explore the principles and values that inform instructor and student behavior. The video episodes for this project will showcase a variety of exemplary (yet real-life) LA-relevant instructional formats including Tutorials in Introductory Physics, Modeling Instruction, Investigative Science Learning Environment, and Open Source Tutorials.

Teaching Methods

The Gentle Art of Questioning: Writing Great Clicker Questions   -   Workshop

Stephanie V. Chasteen, Sciencegeekgirl Enterprises

10:30 AM - 12:00 PM on Friday, Feb 3, 2012 Salon 1

How does a teacher use questioning effectively?  This workshop will focus on writing those questions that engage students, spark their curiosity, help recap material, give you insight into their thinking, or help them learn critical ideas in physics.  We will focus on "peer instruction" -- a research-tested method of requiring students to discuss challenging questions with one another.  We will investigate the surprising power of multiple-choice questions to achieve critical thinking skills.  Finally, we will look at writing questions that align with our goals for students, discuss the elements of effective questions, and practice writing questions and work on improving them.

Using Invention Tasks to Promote Sense-making an Proportional Reasoning   -   Workshop

Co-presenters: Andrew Boudreaux, Western Wasington University; Stephen E. Kanim, New Mexico State University; Suzanne Brahmia, Rutgers; AJ Richards, The College of New Jersey; Josh Smith, Rutgers University

1:30 PM - 3:00 PM on Friday, Feb 3, 2012 Salon 1

Dan Schwartz and colleagues have developed invention instruction as a means to prepare students for future learning.  Invention tasks present students with open-ended situations in which they must invent a procedure or quantity in order to make meaningful comparisons.  Through creative thinking and struggle, students become primed to make sense of the accepted scientific solution.  A collaboration between Rutgers, WWU, and NMSU has developed sequences of invention tasks designed to promote proportional reasoning, a set of skills emphasized in math and science education in primary through undergraduate levels.  This workshop will engage participants in invention work and discuss classroom applications.

Helping Future Physics Teachers Learn How to Engage Students in Meaningful Problem Solving   -   Workshop

Eugenia Etkina, Rutgers University

3:30 PM - 5:30 PM on Friday, Feb 3, 2012 Salon 1

Learning to solve problems is an important part of learning physics. Preparing future physics teachers to engage their students in meaningful problem solving is a part of a larger set of knowledge and skills called pedagogical content knowledge. One of the most common issues that students have when approaching physics problems is looking for the "right formula" instead of thinking about the concepts involved. What can we do to help students break this habit and learn to engage in expert-like problems solving? Answers to this question applied to specific areas of physics are a part of physics PCK. Workshop participants will learn how to approach problems solving with their pre-service physics teachers to help them develop problem-solving aspect of their PCK.

New Paradigms for Sustainability

University Leader Support for Sustained Reform in Science Teacher Education   -   Panel

Moderator: Howard Gobstein, Association of Public and Land-grant Universities
Presenters: Al Bennett; Jane Conoley; Michael Gottfredson

10:30 AM - 12:00 PM on Friday, Feb 3, 2012 Salon 4

A successful science teacher preparation effort requires commitment and collaboration across the university.  Over 125 universities in APLU, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, have committed to the Science and Mathematics Teacher Imperative (SMTI) to significantly increase the number, quality and diversity of the teachers they produce.  This national initiative is designed to galvanize university leadership to work with their faculties in addressing this critical national need.  Come to this informal discussion session for pointers and answers to your questions on how to work with university leadership and education faculty.

Using Data to Make the Case for Sustained Reform   -   Workshop

Noah D. Finkelstein, University of Colorado-Boulder

1:30 PM - 3:00 PM on Friday, Feb 3, 2012 Salon 4

An essential element of educational reform is data collection. The forms of data can be diverse - within and between disciplines, departments, and courses -  but one of the keys to moving educational reforms out of local experimental stages and into general use is convincing academic colleagues, administrators, and funding sources of the value and impact of research-based transformations. The goal of this workshop is to share some of the data from our institution and our own local efforts, and talk about the role it has played, and pitfalls to avoid. We will then collectively discuss the roles data and assessment can play in effecting change at your institution, and what kinds of data collection, and presentation, might be most effective for you.

Linking Physics, Chemistry, and Math for Sustained Reform in Teacher Education   -   Panel

Panel members: Mary Kirchhoff, American Chemical Society; W. James “Jim” Lewis, University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Stamatis Vokos, Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo
Moderator: Monica Plisch, American Physical Society

3:30 PM - 5:00 PM on Friday, Feb 3, 2012 Salon 4

Physics, chemistry and math consistently rank as the highest need disciplines for qualified teachers.  There are many common challenges faced by teacher educators in these disciplines, as well as some key differences.  The panel will discuss these similarities and differences, and explore possible links between disciplinary efforts to promote sustained reform.  The discussion will build on the work of the Task Force on Teacher Education in Physics, the ACS effort to launch the Chemistry Teacher Education Coalition, and the Conference Board of Mathematical Sciences report on the Mathematical Education of Teachers.


Outreach in STEM

Co-presenters: Jess Dowdy, Aibilene Christian University; Alma Robinson, Virginia Tech

9:00 AM - 10:30 AM on Saturday, Feb 4, 2012 Mountain View Salon B

This workshop constitutes a brainstorming/networking session on incorporating a variety of sources into science outreach activities designed to produce more physics, or in general, science teachers. The presenters will outline useful resources they used in presenting science to over 30,000 K-12 students while involving student, community, and state support.  The use of undergraduate students of any discipline, from both the community college and university level, to promote science, will be considered as a mechanism to adapt non-science and non-education majors into pre-service science teachers. Involving other grant-initiatives, such as Communities in Schools, will be considered as well, along with pitfalls and suggestions.  Finally, participants will make a set of goals to accomplish over the next year to initiate the workshop findings into practice.

Solving Low Enrollment Through Teacher Education   -   Panel

Moderator: Theodore Hodapp, American Physical Society
Panel members: Ron Henderson, Middle Tennessee State University; Michael Marder, University of Texas at Austin; Gay Stewart, West Virginia University; Vivian Incera, University of Texas at El Paso

11:00 AM - 12:30 PM on Saturday, Feb 4, 2012 Mountain View Salon B

Physics programs graduating fewer than five majors per year over the last five years faced closure in Texas in the fall of 2011.  Similar measures are being considered or have been implemented in Maine, Florida, Idaho, Missouri, Tennessee, and Louisiana.  If the five graduates per year standard were applied nationally, half of all public programs, and all public HBCUs would be shuttered.  All of this when the country faces a shortage of highly qualified high school physics teachers.  This panel discussion will focus on the recruitment and retention of future physics teachers as a strategy for small programs looking to survive and even thrive in the current climate.


Applying for Noyce

Co-presenters: Gay Stewart, West Virginia University; Joan Prival, National Science Foundation

9:00 AM - 10:30 AM on Saturday, Feb 4, 2012 Salon 1

The NSF Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program seeks to encourage talented STEM majors and STEM professionals to become mathematics and science teachers. The program also supports the development of Master Teachers in science and mathematics.  There are key features in managing a Noyce program that often present difficulty and are vital to successful, sustainable, teacher preparation programs: mentoring, advising and recruiting, and working with school partners. In this workshop, we will help participants consider ways to alleviate existing difficulties or how to set up a program to reduce them. A sample proposal will be available for a mock review.

2012 PhysTEC Solicitation   -   Workshop

Monica Plisch, American Physical Society

11:00 AM - 12:30 PM on Saturday, Feb 4, 2012 Salon 1

The Physics Teacher Education Coalition (PhysTEC) has funding from the NSF to run a competition for new sites again in fall of 2012.  We expect to add another half dozen sites through a procedure that includes pre- and full- proposals, external merit review panel, and site visits.  This session will include two components.  First, we will describe how we have conducted our solicitation process in the past several years and include likely deadline dates, hints on what made proposals stand out at each stage, and how you might shape your program to be competitive.  Second, we will elicit your feedback on how we are targeting new sites, while staying within the guidelines of our project and its national goals.  Please come and bring your good ideas.  If you are new to PhysTEC, find out what we have funded in the past, and how we are working to improve physics teacher education through this process.

New Paradigms in Partnership

Partnerships Between Physics and Education Departments   -   Panel

Panel members: Chuhee Kwon, California State University, Long Beach; Laura Henriques, California State University, Long Beach; Beate Schmittmann, Virginia Tech; Edward Price, California State University, San Marcos
Moderator: Theodore Hodapp, American Physical Society

9:00 AM - 10:30 AM on Saturday, Feb 4, 2012 Salon 4

Successful education of high school physics teachers requires collaborative efforts across departments to effectively integrate content, pedagogy, and practical experience in schools.  Building and maintaining these partnerships requires the input of time and energy.  PhysTEC sites have approached this problem in a variety of ways, and built effective collaborations between physics, science education, and education faculty.  This panel discussion will include faculty who work together across a variety of higher education settings to prepare the next generation of high school physics teachers.

Partnerships Between TYCs and Four-Year Institutions   -   Panel

Panel members: Keith Clay, Green River Community College; Mel S. Sabella, Chicago State University; Edward Price, California State University, San Marcos

11:00 AM - 12:30 PM on Saturday, Feb 4, 2012 Salon 4

We are faced with a severe shortage of certificated STEM teachers, especially in physics.  At the present time, four year institutions are struggling to address this shortage with only a handful of schools graduating two or more physics educators each year. The science education community must therefore focus more attention on the important role of the two year college (TYC), where one third to one half of our STEM majors begin their college careers. In this session, we will explore the obstacles and prospects for recruiting math and science teachers from TYCs from the perspectives of three institutions who are interested in developing meaningful collaborations between the TYC and the four year institution. Group discussions will consider options and look for solutions.

Induction and Mentoring

Help for the Isolated Physics Teacher   -   Workshop

Co-presenters: Richard Gelderman, University of Kentucky; James Selway, Towson University

2:00 PM - 3:30 PM on Saturday, Feb 4, 2012 Salon 1

The feeling of professional loneliness that comes from being the only physics teacher in a school is one of the many reasons new physics teachers choose to leave the field. This interactive discussion will detail some of the ways that our institutions and we as individuals can provide meaningful support for isolated physics teachers. We will share ideas, including physics-based student challenges/competitions and regular local meetings of a local Physics Teacher Alliance, that provide opportunities for teachers to share experiences, test new lesson ideas, and simply spend more time with people who understand the punchline to a geeky joke.

Modeling Workshops for Induction and Mentoring

Co-presenters: Laird H. Kramer, Florida International University; Jon Anderson, Centennial High School

4:00 PM - 5:30 PM on Saturday, Feb 4, 2012 Salon 1

Participants in this interactive workshop will learn how Modeling Instruction can transform an introductory physics courses while serving as the core of teacher preparation and professional development programs. Modeling Instruction courses operate as lecture-free collaborative learning environments, replicating the central activity of practicing scientists through building, validating, and deploying models. Modeling has been deployed nationally in both high schools and universities and has earned a reputation for transforming learning experiences. After completing a Modeling activity, participants will learn how to integrate Modeling across the introductory, preservice and professional development curriculum and learn about the development of the university-level Modeling Instruction Curriculum.

Equity and Diversity

Cultural Perspectives on Teacher Education

Moderator: Peter Muhoro, American Physical Society
Panel members: Geraldine L. Cochran, Florida International University; Victor Gonzalez, Pioneer High School; Willie Rockward, Morehouse College; Anderson Sunda-Meya, Xavier University; Vivian Incera, University of Texas at El Paso

2:00 PM - 3:30 PM on Saturday, Feb 4, 2012 Mountain View Salon B

Populations that are underrepresented in physics generally are even more severely underrepresented among US physics teachers. Based on national data from the American Institute of Physics (AIP), 95% of physics teachers are White/non-Hispanic, about 1.5% are Hispanic, and approximately another 1.5% African-American.  While 25% of our nation's African-American and Hispanic students now take physics in high school, they are very unlikely to have a role model, of similar race and ethnicity, teaching their physics classes. PhysTEC is making an effort to find and disseminate successful models for attracting more underrepresented minority students to high school physics teaching.  This panel discussion, focusing on cultural perspectives on teacher education, will feature faculty from Minority Serving Institutions, which educate almost 60% of underrepresented minorities who get college degrees in the US, and individuals who have taught high school physics in areas with a dense minority population.

Equity and Education Policy   -   Workshop

Co-presenters: Michael Marder, University of Texas at Austin; Angela Kelly, City University of New York

4:00 PM - 5:30 PM on Saturday, Feb 4, 2012 Mountain View Salon B

New Paradigms in Course Reform

Transforming Lectures to Engage Students in Creating Knowledge   -   Workshop

Timothy Stelzer, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

2:00 PM - 3:30 PM on Saturday, Feb 4, 2012 Salon 4

Students' unprecedented access to content on the web is providing a unique opportunity to transform the role lectures in education, moving the focus from content delivery to helping students synthesize the content into knowledge. We have introduced a variety of activities to facilitate this transformation at the University of Illinois, including web-based preflight assessments of student understanding before lecture, peer instruction (clickers) to assess and facilitate student understanding during lecture, and web-based multimedia pre-lectures designed to provide students with content before lecture.  In this workshop we will discuss the pedagogical motivation for introducing these activities, the impact they have had at the University of Illinois, and how similar strategies might impact your classroom.

What is the Best Use of Class Time? Exploring the Issues of the Flipped Classroom   -   Workshop

Andy Rundquist, Hamline University

4:00 PM - 5:30 PM on Saturday, Feb 4, 2012 Salon 4

To me, class time is precious. It is that time when students have nearly unlimited access to me as a resource. In this workshop we'll discuss what we ask students to do in- and out-of-class. We'll explore ways to take some traditional in-class things (like lecture, question formation, online demos) and place them outside of class without losing their value, while making room for homework, brainstorming, and making connections inside of class. There's a lot of buzz online these days about the "flipped classroom" and we'll try to make sense of as much as we can.