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Remote Learning

Review: Phyphox

Robert Prior, ePublisher of OAPT Newsletter

How do you conduct physics experiments remotely? Most students will not have access to much in the way of measuring equipment, but most of them have smartphones that contain a variety of sophisticated sensors. Phyphox is an award-winning app developed at RWTH Aachen University that allows access to these sensors for performing physics experiments. Read More...

Cooperative Groups for Simultaneous Learning

Chris Meyer, President, Ontario Association of Physics Teachers

Our first quadmester of teaching has been filled with many surprises. A big surprise for me was how well cooperative group learning worked in my class — I was quite nervous and doubtful about this! In the end, it allowed my colleague Mike Doig and me to deliver a very rich physics course that used simultaneous learning from day one. In this article, I will share our strategies, which I hope will help you with your teaching. Read on!  Read More...

How to Use a Green Screen for Teaching

Steven Fotheringham, Halton District School Board

In August 2020, rather than to try to simultaneously juggle both the teaching of students online as well as face-to-face, I decided to focus my efforts on doing online teaching exclusively for the school year. It seemed like a better idea than the alternative, as our school board (HDSB) has expected teachers to teach to students online and face-to-face simultaneously.

This seemed like a genuinely once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to attempt something creative as well as to endeavor to solve the teaching requirement of the foreseeable future.

After months of experimenting with various settings, a solution presented itself that would allow me to superimpose my image onto a screen. This method worked with all video conferencing software such as Brightspace's Virtual Classroom, Google Meet, Zoom, Skype, etc. In this article, I will show you the physical setup of my virtual classroom, as well as the free software used to superimpose my webcam over my virtual blackboard. Read More...

Cognitive Apprenticeship, Problem Solving, and Online Learning

Chris Meyer, President, Ontario Association of Physics Teachers

Enter the Workshop
Let's help our students improve their problem-solving abilities by borrowing an educational idea from long ago. There was a time when learning a complex skill or craft involved years of work as an apprentice in the workshop of an expert. Imagine that we are a young apprentice learning the craft of making shoes.

Our first tasks might be very simple: putting the last tacks in a sole; lacing up the shoe; or adding the final polish. As our skills develop, we are given more complex and challenging tasks and construct more of the shoe until eventually we make our own from start to finish. There are two features of this mode of learning that are useful to emulate in our physics classes: the tasks given to the apprentice are usually meaningful because they help the expert and are important to the success of the workshop as an enterprise; and the apprentice receives rich continuous feedback that is mostly self-generated because she is able to compare her work against that of more experienced people. Read More...

The Effects of the COVID-19 Shutdown on Graduating Grade 12 Students’ Physics Studies

Chris Meyer, President, Ontario Association of Physics Teachers

High schools were shut down this past spring [2020] due to the pandemic, causing learning to move online for the final three months of the school year. What effect has this had on the learning of our grade 12 students who have now graduated and are entering university this fall? I have been working with the U of T Engineering Outreach Office to try to answer this question. This spring, they created an online Engineering Academy to help grade 12 students improve their skills prior to starting their first-year courses. I was involved with the physics component of this Academy and surveyed the students to find out more about their COVID-19 learning experiences. The Academy was free to any student who accepted admission to U of T Engineering and many of the incoming students took advantage and signed up. Read More...
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