Future of physics teaching practices: How new and emerging educational technologies mediate teaching and learning
Keywords:Physics teaching medium, teaching technology, epistemic agency
The fundamental elements of teaching include students, content, and medium. In addition to blackboard and chalk, lecture demonstrations of physical phenomena have long been the medium of teaching physics. Videos of physics demonstrations by the Physical Science Study Committee (PSSC) in the USA in the 50s were early adoption of contemporary technologies for physics instruction. While the medium of recordings of physics demonstrations has changed from magnetic tapes to CDs and DVDs and to virtual space online, its purposes are the same: making physics principles observable, engaging students, and providing evidence for knowledge claims (Berg, 2012; Kácovský & Snětinová, 2021).
On the other side, for a century, laboratory activities have been a fixed feature of science education where students directly interact with physical phenomena. Given these two unique features, i.e., demonstrations and laboratories, recent digital technology seems to call for a paradigm shift. Lecture demonstrations, whether in magnetic tapes or digitalised mediums, are under the control of teachers in terms of what and when to show. Similarly, laboratory activities are predetermined for students to experience hands-on. Recent technologies allow more interactions between students and the medium of teaching and learning. Demonstrations of physical phenomena are freely available online, and students can watch what they want to, when they want to. Interactive simulations and physical computing have been utilised for quite a while where students perform laboratories different from each other, to answer their own questions in lieu of the traditional labs. Furthermore, interactive virtual reality, mixed reality, and metaverse are emerging mediums in trial and under research (Sonntag & Bodensiek, 2022).
Underpinning the increase in interactions between students and mediums is the constructivist view of learning and the recent emphasis on student agency in learning. From such theories of learning, both demonstrations where students passively watch and listen, and cookbook-style laboratories, are ineffective and fail to help students be active problem solvers as required by the 21st century. Thus, recent technologies are very useful for changing the traditional approaches to teaching to make students active learners. This change is not only by the demand of the era but also by the demand of the students. Not only the medium, but also the students drastically changed. Dubbed Generation Z, the current students in schools and campuses are digital natives who are born into modern technology and familiar with global access to knowledge and tools to reproduce knowledge. Generation Z is used to spontaneously searching for information to make sense of things and create their own content to share with each other. Thus, teaching needs to be reconceptualised to ensure epistemic agency in helping students to be lifelong learners.
In this talk, I will illustrate the changing scenes of science teaching and discuss the notion of epistemic agency and how it relates to teaching approaches.
Berg, R. E. (2012). Resource Letter PhD-2: Physics Demonstrations. American Journal of Physics, 80(3), 181–191. https://doi.org/10.1119/1.3660659
Kácovský, P., & Snětinová, M. (2021). Physics demonstrations: who are the students appreciating them? International Journal of Science Education, 43(4), 529–551. https://doi.org/10.1080/09500693.2020.1871526
Physics Curriculum and Instruction (2022). Teaching Resources for High School & College Physics Courses. https://www.physicscurriculum.com/video
Sonntag, D., & Bodensiek, O. (2022). How mixed reality shifts visual attention and success in experimental problem solving. Physical Review Physics Education Research, 18(2), 023101. https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.18.023101
Authors who publish with the Proceedings of the International Conference on Physics Education 2022 agree to the following terms:
a) Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
b) Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
c) Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access - http://opcit.eprints.org/oacitation-biblio.html).
Privacy Statement The names and email addresses entered in the Proceedings of the International Conference on Physics Education 2022 site will be used exclusively for the stated purposes of this journal and will not be made available for any other purpose or to any other party.