Empowering physics demonstrators to enhance first year laboratory experiences by use of real time visualisation – a working DVD
AbstractThe first year Physics laboratory programs at UTS have been designed to be open-ended and enquiry based, encouraging students to learn the techniques of scientific analysis by investigating physical situations with minimal reference to prescribed directions. The role of the demonstrator in this process is pivotal as they guide the students in their chosen exploration method. Demonstrators are responsible for a class of 40 students and there will be many different approaches on which they are required to give expert guidance. We have developed a DVD of the experiments in the program, with easy navigation so that demonstrators can access key parts of the experiment efficiently. The DVD uses demonstrators as presenters this bringing an authentic perspective to experiments. A feature of the DVD is the ease with which it can be updated. In this paper we describe the background to the development of the DVDs, their relationship to the philosophy of the laboratory program and the outcomes of trials of the DVDs. In addition we examine responses to the DVD obtained through focus group sessions which indicate that care will need to be taken so that this resource, created to assist demonstrators to foster enquiry in the laboratory, is not transformed into a prescriptive tool restraining student creativity and ingenuity.