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The Physics Teacher Education Coalition (PTEC) is an organization of 140 colleges and universities dedicated to improving physics and physical science teacher preparation, funded by the PhysTEC project. PTEC.org is the internet home or the PTEC organization and the home of the National Science Digital Library (NSDL) collection on physics and physical science teacher preparation, a ComPADRE collection. By the time of publication of this newsletter, the new PTEC.org interface will be released as shown below.
The PTEC Conference: To support PTEC.org, the website provides information about and allows registration for the annual PTEC conference. This conference is an exceptional event which allows experts on teacher preparation to share their experience through a series of workshops. Information about the conference is available at the PTEC.org website. Further, PTEC.org houses all conference proceeding from the PTEC conference. These materials are concise descriptions of various elements of successful teacher preparation programs.
The PTEC Organization: The PTEC organization features 140 institutions of higher learning dedicated to improving the quality and increasing the quantity of highly-qualified science teachers. Each member of PTEC contributes a description of their program to the site. Membership in PTEC is free and interested institutions can join at the PTEC.org website. Members received reduced rates at PTEC conferences and workshops. PTEC is also an excellent avenue to disseminate results of funded projects. Dissemination can occur either through links on the PTEC member pages or through materials directly contributed to PTEC.org.
Each month, a PTEC member institution is featured on the homepage. The featured members are drawn from programs that demonstate excellence in teacher preparation. If possible, an article that describes some innovative or particularly successful element of their program is used to illustrate the featured member.
The PTEC Library: PTEC.org is also the home of the NSDL collection on physics and physical science teacher preparation. The library currently contains 400 materials including peer-reviewed articles, conference proceedings, reports, newspaper articles, recruiting materials, and even previous versions of this newsletter. All articles are about topics related to teacher preparation. Each article is tagged with extensive bibliographical data. The site contains extensive search features; searches may be restricted to PTEC.org or extended to all of ComPADRE.
Featured Collections: PTEC materials are organized into collections for easy use. These collections cover many topics of interest in the improvement of teacher preparation programs or the initiation of a new program. For example, currently featured within the “Funding” collection is an article by NSF program officer Joan Prival about the new Noyce solicitation and an article by Michael Marder about fundraising for the U-Teach project. Featured collections are not static and if you have a topic within teacher preparation that should become a collection within PTEC, suggest it by emailing me at email@example.com.
Seeking new resources: While PTEC contains 400 entries on physics teacher preparation, there are a number of topics where new materials are desperately needed. The library has excellent coverage of academic articles on physics teacher preparation, successful physics teacher preparation programs, funding opportunities, recent conference proceedings on the topic, as well as numerous reports on the need for improved teacher preparation. More material is needed on preparing students for high needs environments, recruiting a more diverse teaching pool, forming and managing partnerships with school districts and with other institutions of higher learning. Additional models for successful mentoring programs, particularly in high-needs schools, and models for early field experience would also be useful.
PTEC hosts many academic publications but other types of materials are also desired. Descriptions of successful mentoring, induction, or partnership programs drawn from annual reports of funded projects would be appreciated. Recruiting brochures, syllabi, course descriptions, and course materials relating to physics teacher preparation would be welcome. PTEC seeks to be the location on the internet where people passionate about physics teacher preparation go to find and share information.
To submit materials, one must first create an account at PTEC.org. Accounts are free and require only an email address. Once an account is created, click on “suggest a resource” to either upload or link to the material you wish to share.
Once uploaded or linked, your material will reach a large audience. PTEC.org is the number one hit on Google for the search string “Physics Teacher Preparation”. The site received 120,000 page views in 2008 and the number of visitors continues to grown as shown below.
John Stewart is an Assistant Professor of Physics at the University of Arkansas. He was CoPI of the Arkansas PhysTEC site, is Senior Staff on the Arkansas College Ready Math-Science Partnership, and is editor of PTEC.org.