Sunday, December 4, 2011

C4T Summary 4

Physics Teaching 2.Uh-Oh

Frank Noschese is a physics teacher from New York. He gave a talk cleverly titled "Physics Teaching 2.Uh-Oh." At the beginning of his presentation, Noschese quoted Richard Feynman who is known for "assisting in the development of the atomic bomb, expanding the understanding of quantum electrodynamics, translating Mayan hieroglyphics, and cutting to the heart of the Challenger disaster" ( Feynman once said, "What I cannot create, I do not understand." This is very true. It’s hard to learn the law of inertia by viewing a PowerPoint. If we create interactive lessons that keep the students engaged, however, the lessons will be much more effective. As proof of that, Noschese presented a graph depicting the test results from interactive learning versus traditional lecturing.

I also think our class follows a similar “grading system” as Mr. Noschese's. We don’t get letter grades on every assignment. Rather, we are evaluated on how well we understood the assignment (usually determined by whether or not we wrote a quality blog post about it), what level of mastery we displayed on certain activities, and so on. We are critiqued not only by Dr. Strange, but also by our peers. I think I find this style of grading more encouraging and effective as well.

Newton's cradle

Meet a Modeler: Fran Poodry

Fran Poodry is a high school physics teacher from Pennsylvania. She uses a method of teaching called "Modeling Instruction." This method does not rely on lectures and textbooks for instruction. Rather, it focuses on students constructing "conceptual and mathematical models in an interactive learning community." They are becoming engaged with real-life scenarios to model the physical world.

In this post, Mrs. Poodry mapped out her road to discovering this method. She is currently the president-elect of the American Modeling Teachers Association. She feels very strongly that the work of AMTA is vital for keeping Modeling Instruction alive. It seems like her goal for the near future is to spread awareness for this type of instruction with hopes that it catches on.

This post and the video on Modeling Instruction also made me realize I was close to succumbing to teaching the way I have always been taught, through lectures and textbooks. As we get older, we are conditioned to this style of "learning" and eventually lose a lot of our creativity. However, after watching the video and learning how the brain works and how it best retains information, the MI seems to be a good approach. Although I'm not going to be a physics teacher, this skill could be useful in many other subject areas, and I hope to use it as well.