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Rachel E. Scherr and Andrew Elby
The Foundations and Frontiers of Physics Education Research (FFPER) conference is held every other year in Bar Harbor, Maine. The conference is a venue for specialists who are active researchers in the field of physics education. This intensive week-long residential meeting provides a forum for examining and articulating the current state of the field, exploring future directions, and discussing ways to pursue the most promising avenues for future research. Evening activities at the conference include working groups whose task is to develop a well-articulated position on a topic of community-wide interest. The following three articles are reports from the Working Groups at the 2011 FFPER.
Rachel E. Scherr and Michael C. Wittmann
Working Group Participants: Ruth Chabay, Urban Eriksson, Brian Frank, Liz Gire, Renee Michelle Goertzen, Kara Gray, Shulamit Kapon, Sandy Martinuk, Cassandra Paul, Ed Prather, Mel Sabella, Chris Shubert, Mac Stetzer.A high-quality PER summer school would enable participants to deepen their understanding of PER and connect to a community of physics education researchers and reformers. Our working group found broad, strong areas of consensus about key characteristics of a PER Summer School:
These models are not in competition; each serves a different purpose and would be realized by different means. Each model’s champions are pursuing the creation of the school that their team envisioned. For questions about a particular summer school model, or to assist, please contact the champion for that model.
|Model||Focus||Leaders||Audience||# people||Compare to||Champion|
|Intro School||PER induction and kickstart||PER experts||New grad students, teachers, PER-interested faculty||25-75||New Faculty Workshop||Ed Prather|
|Research School||Learn and apply state-of-the-art PER methods||PER & outside experts||Active researchers||10-20||Woods Hole||Elizabeth Gire
|BYO||Peer review / collaboration for progress on your own work||Peers (advised)||Active researchers||10-20||ICLS Doctoral Consortium||Michael Wittmann
|Summer Research Institute||Collaborative study of rich local data set||Peers (advised)||Active researchers||10-20||Energy Project SRI||Rachel Scherr|
By Kathy Perkins and Sam McKagan
Working Group participants: Leslie Atkins, Ian Beatty, Warren Christensen, Brian Danielak, Jason Dowd, Tobias Fredlund, Jenaro Guisasola, Ayush Gupta, Benedikt Harrer, Paula Heron, Brant Hinrichs, Eric Kuo, Sissi Li, Cedric Linder, Beth Lindsey, Sam McKagan (Co-Chair), Victoria Nwosu, Kathy Perkins (Co-Chair), Valerie Otero, Vashti Sawtelle, Phil Southey
History: At the first FFPER meeting in 2005, a working group chaired by John Thompson and Brad Ambrose assembled to compile “a list of publications describing research on the teaching and learning of physics that are considered primary and necessary by everyone in the field.” (http://www.aps.org/units/fed/newsletters/fall2005/canon.html) A primary list of 25 publications was identified as essential readings for physics education researchers, along with a secondary list of about 50 publications also identified as essential but either not the first of their kind or outside of PER.
A new goal: Physics education research (PER) has seen tremendous growth in the number of researchers, in the span of research questions, and in the types of research methodologies used. In many cases, research directions – both new and longstanding – are grounded in or inspired by work in fields outside of PER, such as education research, cognitive science, learning sciences, educational psychology, behavioral science, other discipline-based education research fields, etc. In addition, PER community members often wear many hats – researcher, professional development provider for TAs or faculty, curriculum developer, or departmental /institutional resource for questions on teaching, learning, and course reform. With this context in mind, the goal of this working group was to create a compilation of publications within and beyond the PER literature to broadly serve the community. This resource was envisioned as comprehensive enough to include all areas of PER, theories that underlie our work, methodologies used in PER research, and other specific research areas that have influenced our field and its work. The resource is not meant to include all papers on a particular topic (e.g. constructivism, metacognition, interactive engagement, teacher preparation, qualitative methods), but to provide one to three papers as a good foundational starting point for learning about that topic or sub-topic.
The Audience: Our group settled on creating a resource that best serves us: practicing physics education researchers. Other groups that might benefit from this resource include graduate students beginning a Ph.D. in PER; faculty and students of a "Teaching and Learning Physics" course; and college faculty or high school teachers interested in physics course reform. To make this resource most useful, we sought a dissemination mechanism that enabled a flexible "tagging", allowing identification of publications within the broader list that are well-suited to different audiences.The Selection Process: Working before the FFPER conference itself, we identified 5 main categories, with an initial list of topics under each category:
Dissemination and Growth: In order to make the selected articles easily accessible, capable of being tagged and commented upon, and dynamic (e.g., new articles could be added in the future), the working group decided to disseminate the list on comPADRE and as PERticles. PERticles is a collection of PER articles hosted on CiteULike; within this collection, publications have been added and tagged with "SelectedReadings_2011" and with any additional tags identified by the working group during the selection process. (The tags "Canon_2005" and "Canon_2005_ BList" identify the canon developed by the FFPER working group in 2005.) comPADRE will also host the final document of selected 2011 publications, organized by category and sub-topics (http://www.per-central.org/ffper/working-groups/2011/selected-readings/).
The field is continuing to grow and evolve, developing new pedagogies, applying new methodologies, and drawing ideas from diverse fields. We encourage the community to participate in further development of this resource by adding papers to PERticles and tagging them with “SelectedReadings_Candidate”. With this practice, the compilation of papers can benefit from and reflect the expertise and work of the entire PER community. We thank you in advance for your efforts! (Note: The working group so enjoyed reading individuals’ personal suggested reading lists that we also suggest adding a collection of articles to PERticles tagged with your name.)
Acknowledgements: We would like to thank all the members of our working group, along with everyone who gave us their suggested readings ahead of the conference: Ayush Gupta, Joe Redish, the CU and UBC Science Education Initiatives, and the CU PER Group, especially Stephanie Chasteen, Noah Podolefsky, Kara Gray, Mike Ross, and Ben VanDusen.
Suzanne White Brahmia, Jennifer Docktor and Jose Mestre
Participants: Saalih Allie, Ian Beatty, Andrew Boudreaux, Suzanne Brahmia, Eric Brewe, Hunter Close, Sebastien Cormier, Dedra Demaree, Jennifer Docktor, Jenaro Guisasola, Mark Haugan, Steve Kanim, Laird Kramer, Mila Kryjevskaia, Michael Loverude, David Meltzer, Jose Mestre, Lillian McDermott, Edward (Joe) Redish, Peter Schaffer, John Thompson, Jing Wang.
Background InformationThe NSF has sponsored a National Research Council (NRC) committee called Undergraduate Physics Education Research and Implementation (UPE) (http://sites.nationalacademies.org/BPA/ BPA_059078). This committee is charged to assess the current status of Physics Education and PER, including
Our working group aimed to provide feedback that can be taken back to the NRC UPE committee currently engaged in writing a decadal study of PER.
Working group members collected their thoughts before the conference about the role PER could play over the next decade in improving undergraduate physics education and what research directions and questions are likely to be most fruitful. In addition, the Physics Education Research Leadership and Organizing Committee (PERLOC) emailed researchers not in our working group to solicit input regarding any omissions from the working group’s outline. PERLOC members John Thompson and Eugenia Etkina organized the responses.Working Group Recommendations for the NRC UPE report