Posts Tagged ‘physics’

Dan’s Ignite Presentation

July 28, 2009

Once again Dan Meyer has summed up one of a key insights into teaching in a pithy statement “Be less helpful!” I’m not sure what I can really add to it as its really the same inside as the one behind guided inquiry teaching, problem based learning, and even the ideas expressed by AP workshop presenters. His restatement is terrific and is something that I at least, and possible others, need to reconnect with every so often. If I can get an embeddable link I’m going to put it on my permanent videos page.

On the other hand I think I can usefully comment on the ending of his presentation. His audience is made up of open source aficionados and coders so his ending plea is quite appropriate but unneeded. We already have collaborative spaces for sharing teaching methods, teaching materials, and teachable media. Dan’s blog is a great example. We have blogs, Nings, wikis, forums, mailing lists (how quaint but effective), various social networking sites, and multiple author blogs if the idea is to get away from one person directing the conversation. Do we really need another site or app or communication method? We do need more interactivity between social groupings but that is not a technological problem.

Of course maybe I’m not getting his message. From Dan’s response in one comment I suspect the distinction is that he want’s collaboration on the media itself while I would be satisfied with expanding the use of collaboration about the media and easy access to the media. In particular I see little purpose in editing some media in such a way that the original is lost. If I have an edit that I believe is of general utility I should upload mine with citation to yours as the inspiration and let people compare, contrast, and critic them in context. Again, the value seems to be in building a useful size community not in a new technological fix.

Alternately he might be referring to the fact that most online communication still has to go through a text medium. The idea of being able to easily add comments to a post via audio or video might be terrific. If that’s what you were meaning then my hat is off to you Dan.

Active versus Modeling

July 28, 2009

First off, the title is more confrontational then it needs to be. Both curricula (Modeling Physics and Active Physics) are guided inquiry ways to teach high school physics. While there are some differences in approach they really have a very similar underlying philosophy.

The problem is that “high school physics” is a rather vague phrase; it covers approaches from no math to rigorous calculus and academic levels from the not as academic ninth graders to the most academic college prep seniors. Active Physics is aimed at the lower math, younger, and all inclusive end of the spectrum. Modeling is aimed as the upper end of high school ages with a more academic focus. Which explains why I am a little hesitant about my school’s* attempt to teach a college prep physics class to juniors and seniors using a combination of Active Physics and Conceptual Physics (I’m leaving out the fact that the other physics teacher wants to try out an independent study approach** and any possible problems caused by the mixing of two not necessarily compatible curricula).

* Really one of my two schools. The non-magnet physics class.

** More on this approach later. Conceptually its a good idea if the practical aspects work.

The jump

July 16, 2009

I missed this video when it when viral but I think it has now become my intro to projectile motion for the AP students next year. Is it real? How can we tell?

Games for Engineers

July 1, 2009

I’ve only dabbled with these but so far they are fun puzzles; Games for Engineers. The weirdest thing, for me at least, is that I had a class at LSU that could have used KOHCTPYKTOP as a class assignment.

I suppose I should give a shout out to Crayon Physics Deluxe also. Its fun but I found it somewhat repetitive.

AP Workshop

June 24, 2009

Nothing much right now. I’m at an AP workshop this week. I have lots of thoughts but I’ve been putting together specific things or just letting my son work on his Java programing in the evenings.

One random thought; why do people often prefer a video presentation to a similar live presentation? Is it that the video is seen, even in this age of YouTube, as an authoritative source?

Parkour in Physics

June 17, 2009

I’ve been fascinated with freerunning / parkour since I first heard about it. It look like a blast. As a 40+ year old guy I’m not going to do it but as a physics teacher I would love to use it in class. So I’m embedding a couple of videos below. What would you do with them in a classroom setting?

We could import into a video analysis program but unlike movies there really isn’t a question of did they fake it. Any thoughts?

BTW, if you haven’t seen the Danny MacAskill bicycle tricks video you should check it out (its all over the web as well as in my Great Videos page) for similar amazing body control and skill.