Physics Education

In recent years, there has been a surge in education research within the physics society. Pivotal works have decisively shown that by adhering to traditional lecture and recitation styles, we don't fully provide our students with the learning opportunities they seek. For many students the core physics curriculum, whether it is for majors or not, poses a significant hurdle in their academic development. Often these students are able to complete the mathematical steps in solving a problem, yet remain completely inept in answering simple conceptual questions. Various alternative methods, such as cooperative or inquiry based learning materials, have been introduced in physics programs, and evidence indicates a substantial improvement in students' learning.

While the underlying move to cognitive and group learning styles is identical, the implementation of these novel approaches is inherently different at large institutions and smaller colleges. While the former exhibits an inherent need of lecture based instruction, the latter's smaller student bodies, thus creating more opportunities for individualized approaches.

A variety of physic education oriented research is currently conducted at various institutions. Some of the resulting materials are now successfully implemented at multiple Universities. The following are of special interest:

The following are links of interest to educators who are looking for resources to help them in reforming their instructional methodologies.

The nature of science education is in a constant state of flux. The last major push to science education reform came after the successful Sputnik launch of the U.S.S.R. which prompted an immediate reponse by the US government. Many of the lessons learned then remain applicable today (See "SPUTNIK AND SCIENCE EDUCATION by F. James Rutherford).