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Beth A. Lindsey, Penn State Greater Allegheny
This issue of the Forum on Education newsletter focuses on laboratory instruction. Laboratory instruction is a perennial hot topic for physics educators, and the 2015 summer AAPT conference was bookended by two meetings that focused on this topic. The first of these was the Conference on Laboratory Instruction Beyond the First Year of College (“BFY II”), which was organized by the Advanced Laboratory Physics Association (ALPhA) and supported in part by a monetary contribution from the FEd. During three days preceding the summer AAPT meeting, approximately 150 instructors came together to share effective lab curricula, teaching methods, and experiments in small-group workshops, plenary and breakout sessions, and contributed poster sessions. The second meeting was the 2015 Physics Education Research Conference on the day following the AAPT. Each year, the PERC has a theme, and this year the theme focused on a “Critical examination of laboratory-centered instruction and experimental research in physics education.”
Elizabeth George, chair of this past summer’s gives a summary of that conference. Two of the presenters at BFY II, Joseph Kozminsky and Benjamin Zwickl, present articles on the AAPT Recommendations for the Undergraduate Physics Laboratory Curriculum and how to assess them. Finally, Natasha Holmes and MacKenzie Stetzer consider open questions for physics education researchers to tackle within the instructional laboratory environment.
This issue of the FEd newsletter marks the end of my three-year term as Editor-in-Chief. After this newsletter appears, I will be stepping down to pursue other projects. However, I leave the newsletter in the capable hands of Richard Steinberg, who will be taking over the role of editor. I expect he will bring a fresh perspective and new ideas to these pages, and I wish him the very best. I hope he finds the job of being FEd newsletter editor as interesting and stimulating as I have.