• No results found

The digital technologies of physics education research


Academic year: 2022

Share "The digital technologies of physics education research"


Loading.... (view fulltext now)

Full text




Elias Euler (elias.euler@physics.uu.se) Department of Physics and Astronomy, Uppsala University

Computer-Assisted Instruction

Sputnik launched


First Micro-

processor Mindstorms


> Right_30

PhET Project started

First Personal

Computers World Wide

Web goes public Algodoo


Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning

PLATO Project established

Education 1966

Technology journal founded

1964 IBM releases

Coursewriter 1 for teachers to write CAI materials

Feurzeig & 1969

Papert begin work with new language, Logo

1962 Programmed Instruction published

FSU offers 1969

entirely computer- based introductory physics course

1971 CONDUIT established as a collection of

tutoring dialogs

Programming & Controllable Worlds

Contructivism/Constructionism Papert, diSessa, Redish, Wilson, White

Microcomputer-based Labs


UK runs National Development

Programme in Computer Aided Learning

1998 First Physlets made

2015 iOLab 2.0 released by Macmillan

1978 Bork publishes on computers as environments for physical intuition

White publishes

about ThinkerTools MUPPET 1985

Project established

diSessa pub- 1988

lishes about p-prims and semiformalisms

1996 iClickers developed

Blum, R. & Bork, A. (1970) American Journal of Physics, 33(8), 959-970. https://doi.org/10.1119/1.1976549 Schwarz, G., Kromhout, O. M., & Edwards, S. (1969). Physics Today, 22(9), 41–49.


Skinner, B.F. (1958) Science, New Series, 128(3330), 969-977.

Koschmann (1996) In

CSCL: Theory and practice of an emerging paradigm.

Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Papert, S. (1980). Mindstorms: Children, computers and powerful ideas. New York, NY: Basic Books, Inc.

Wilson, J. M., & Redish, E. F. (1989). Physics Today, 42(1), 34–41. https://doi.org/10.1063/1.881202

Laws, P. W., Willis, M. C., & Sokoloff, D. R. (2015). The Physics Teacher, 53(7), 401–406. https://doi.org/10.1119/1.4931006 Volkwyn, T.S. (2019) Designs for Learning. 11(1), 16-29. https://doi.org/10.16993/dfl.118

Roschelle, J. & Teasley, S. (1995). in Computer Supported Collaborative Learning, Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer.

Stahl, G., Koschmann, T., & Suthers, D. D. (2006). in Cambridge Handbook of the Learning Sciences, 409–426 Gregorcic, B., & Haglund, J. (2018). Research in Science Education. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11165-018-9794-8


1986 Workshop

Physics published

1990 Interactive White Boards developed


Gregorcic & Haglund publish on conceptual blending in CSCL environments

2008 First MOOCs are held

12th International 2015

Conference on CSCL held in Gothenburg

Laws & Thornton each recieve FIPSE grants to develop MBLs;

Workshop Physics est.

1995 Roschelle & Teasely

publish about collaborative physics problem solving

in a computer-based environment

1987 2007

Touchscreen smartphones emerge

80 77

57 59 71 91 02 09

First Integrated Circuit

Following the launch of Sputnik in 1957, much of the Western world increased funding for curricu- lum development projects and some of these focused on how to incorporate computers into university physics classrooms. The advent of the integrated circuit and timesharing computers allowed for the development of software (’dialogs’) with which the computer could behave as an interactive textbook or artificially intelligent tutor. In this way, computers were hoped to act as expert teaching machines for the delivery of content to students in an individualized, efficient manner. Since timesharing was the predominant mode of computing, computing time and complexity was of great concern.

At the same time that researchers were investigating programming and controllable worlds, the advent of microprocessors also allowed researchers to develop small sensor equipment for use in physics laboratories. This work began with the projects such as Workshop Physics and Tools for Scientific Thinking in the 80s. By the 90s, Microcomputer-based Labs (MBLs) were championed as a solution to the conceptual understanding problems that had been (now famously) exposed by Hake and others. More recently, more all-inclusive MBL tools such as the iOLab have been developed and their efficacy in the laboratory is being explored.

With the advent of microprocessors and (later) personal computers, it became feasible for students to make use of higher-level programming languages like Pascal and FORTRAN.

Other programming languages such as Logo were created specifically for use in physics and mathematics learning. Within this paradigm, the aim was for students to learn the systema- ticity of mathematics and physics as they actively programmed or manipulated controllable digital ‘worlds’ (i.e. simulations, games, or microworlds).

Around the time that the internet became a tool for public use, social constructivist theories of learning were simultaneously becoming increasingly popular in the PER community.

Since then, a small portion of PER studies have begun to look at the role of computers within collaborative learning situations. However, the themes of the previous paradigms (esp. Programming & Controllable Worlds/MBLs) have remained the dominant paradigm for those interested in technology in PER, as evidenced by efforts such as the PhET project.

In many respects, the field of physics education research (PER) grew up alongside the modern computer. I suggest we view the developmental history of digital technology in PER in terms of three paradigm shifts (building from Koschmann, 1996):

Each of these paradigm shifts – which I present here in the form of a timeline – stemmed from a corresponding advancement in computing technology as well as a rise in popularity of various theories of learning.

Underpinning Theories of Learning

Key: Some Example Researchers

Social Constructivism/Situated Cognition Adams, Whitelock, Gregorcic

Behaviorism/Programmed Instruction Bork, Schwarz, Blum, Skinner Contructivism


Constructionism Computer


(mid-70s to early 90s) Laws, Thornton, Sokoloff, Selen, Volkwyn



Programmed Instruction Learning is...

Paradigm Technology should... Technology is...

act as a teacher/

tutor, sharing

content efficiently

transistors, integrated circuits, mainframe

computers, time-shared computers


personal computers, microcomputer sensors internet, smartphones, large touchscreens,

haptic feedback, virtual reality

act as a systematic environment or as a sensor

act as a facilitator of interpersonal acts of students and teachers Computer Assisted


(1950s to mid-70s)

Social Construct- ivism/Situated Cognition Computer-Supported

Collaborative Learning (early 90s onward)

Computer Constructivism

(Programming & Controllable Worlds/MBLs)

Computer Assisted

Instruction Computer-Supported

Collaborative Learning

1 2 3





Related documents

In Paper IV, my analysis focuses on the first and last of these (Part 1 and 4), as these two parts best highlight the two ways that variation theory is productive for physics

Likewise, in conceptualizing the second (Computer Constructiv- ism) paradigm of PER-IT, unique developments of technology tailored for physics as a discipline (i.e. physics’

Finally, via our case study of an activity in which a pair of physics students used the less-constrained DLE, Algodoo, for the first time, we illustrate the usefulness of

In this paper, we present three types of activity that we have observed during students’ free exploration of a software called Algodoo, which allows students to explore a range

To address this issue I am, in this thesis, proposing a methodology that can inform decisions in the complex system of student retention in physics and related engineering

In total, 17.6% of respondents reported hand eczema after the age of 15 years and there was no statistically significant difference in the occurrence of hand

Five development projects received funding within the initiative: Reforming the Computer Science and Engineering Programme (D++), at Chalmers Uni- versity of Technology,

In the same vein, ideally the epistemological mindsets of individual students towards what it means to understand an equation would involve all of these components in