Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Atlantic Physics Teaching Day

On Sunday, Oct. 27 2013 the Atlantic Physics Teaching Day is being held at Mount Allison University.  It is being held the day after the annual AAU Teaching Showcase, which is also at Mount Allison.

The physics day will feature a mix of 50 minute workshop style presentations, and shorter 15 minute GIFTs (Great Ideas For Teaching). Since Atlantic Canada does not have a regional branch of the AAPT (like for example Ontario and British Columbia do) it is hoped that this gathering will fill a similar role in helping to grow and Atlantic Canada university physics teaching community.

There is no registration charge for the physics teaching day, and it is not too late to register (available from the teaching day website).  As of this writing 20 people from 6 different institutions are already registered.

The day will start off at 9 am with an overview presentation by Dr. Magdalen Normandeau, of the University of New Brunswick Fredericton, on the topic of "Constructivism, Misconceptions and the Benefits of Active Learning".  

The second full length sessions are "Experiential Physics in 1st Year - Recent Developments at Mount Allison", on studio style physics which has been done at Mount Allison for the past twelve years. It will be delivered by a team from Mount Allison lead by Dr. David Fleming.

The third full length session will be delivered by Dr. Geoffrey Lee-Dadswell of Cape Breton University, and is on the topic of the use of reflective reading and writing in physics courses.  His title is "Reflective reading journals – Powerful, effective, not so airy-fairy as you might think".

The final full length session is on peer learning, and will be given by Dr. Ben Newling of the University of New Brunswick.  His title is "Peering Into Peer Instruction".

The GIFTs cover a lot of different topics.  Dr. David Fleming of Mount Allison will talk about using an infrared camera in undergraduate teaching.  Dr. Catherine Lovekin, also of Mount Allison, will describe a recent role playing in one of her courses in which students took on the roles of research scientists.  Dr. Philip Backman, of the University of New Brunswick Saint John, will deliver a GIFT entitled "Why Measure?" while Dr. Robert Hawkes of Mount Allison will demonstrate the iCircuit software.

The day will end with a general discussion, including ways to move forward.  It is hoped that this will become the first (in at least the modern era) of a series of annual meetings on this topic. The Canadian Association of Physics (CAP) Division of Physics Education (DPE) may also have interest at looking at this as a pilot of how regional physics teaching meetings might work.

Full details of the program, including abstracts for the longer talks, is available on the teaching day website here. All sessions are held in the P.K. Varma Experiential Teaching Lab at Mount Allison University, Rm. 308 in the Dunn Science Building at the corner of York and Salem Streets in New Brunswick.

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