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Genaro Zavala and Brian Pyper
Working Group Members: Enrique Coleoni, Chris Kautz, Mila Kryjevskaia, Yuhfen Lin, Cedric Linder, Brian Pyper, Padraic Springuel, Jing Wang, Genaro Zavala.
The International PER working group had the task of comparing different PER communities around the world in a way that helps build bridges and further the work of all. The group itself was very international with four out of ten members being from outside the US and four other members originally from outside of but working in the US. Since the task was very broad, we implemented a survey asking people attending the conference about the importance of having connections with other PER groups around the world and the actions the US community should take to make those connections. The following report is a combination of the survey results and our own group discussions on the matter.
PER outside the US
There are some differences among the PER communities around the world resulting in part from educational-structure differences. For example, in some Latin-American countries, universities are composed of self-contained schools: an engineering school, for instance, will have engineering professors teaching physics to its students. This arrangement limits the opportunity for physics education research in many universities. In Germany, most physics education research is done with students at pre-university levels, since the structure of the educational system limits access to university students.
Importance of International PER connections
We collected 32 survey respondents of the 48 that were handed out. Respondents reported 25 international connections of various kinds ranging from close collaborations to email consultations and sharing of pre-prints. These connections were found in 15 countries.
Despite PER being different and country-dependent, international links among established PER groups around the globe are beneficial. Good reasons for the US PER community to foster international collaboration include:
Recommendations to the US PER community
There is a consensus among the conference participants that that international links will benefit our community. Of the several ideas collected from the surveys, some stood out as more popular among the conference attendees. We filtered these ideas into ten recommendations, which we grouped into three categories: A: We should enact these recommendations immediately, B: We should consider these recommendations for the near future, and C: We should keep these recommendations in mind as we work.
A: Enact Immediately
B: Consider for the near future
C: Keep in mind
About the Authors:
Genaro Zavala is an Associate Professor of Physics at the Tecnologico de Monterrey, Monterrey, Mexico. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brian Pyper is a Professor of Physics at Brigham Young University – Idaho, Rexburg, Idaho. Email: email@example.com.