Colloquia 2007

Colloquia 2007

Science Education in the 21st Century: Using the tools of physics to teach physics

Prof. Carl Wieman
Department of Physics and Astronomy
Carl Weiman has a fulltime position as the Director of the Carl Wieman Science Education Initiative at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada., and still retains part-time positions at the University of Colorado, Boulder as Distinguished Professor of Physics and Director of the CU Science Education Initiative. 

3:30 p.m., Friday, 29 June, 2007

Physics Lecture Theatre, Old Main Building (K15),
The University of New South Wales

Guided by experimental tests of theory and practice, science has advanced rapidly in the past 500 years. Guided primarily by tradition and dogma, science education meanwhile has remained largely medieval. Research on how people learn is now revealing how many teachers badly misinterpret what students are thinking and learning from traditional physics classes and exams. However, research is also providing insights on how to do much better. The combination of this research with modern information technology is setting the stage for a new approach that can provide the relevant and effective physics education for all students that is needed for the 21st century. I will discuss the failures of traditional educational practices, even as used by “very good” teachers, and the successes of some new practices and technology that characterize this more effective approach, and how these results are highly consistent with findings from cognitive science. I will also compare the fundamental learning experience of the classroom with that of the research lab.Guided by experimental tests of theory and practice, science has advanced rapidly in the past 500 years. (If you are outside UNSW Physics, please RSVP to as seats are limited.)The audience is invited to meet the speaker beforehand at 3.45 p.m. over wine and cheese in the Physics Common Room.

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