Physics educators and education researchers convene on campus

In July 2014, the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) held their Annual Summer Meeting, along with the Physics Education Research Conference on the University of Minnesota campus.

More than 1,100 physics education researchers, high school physics teachers, and collegiate physics educators convened to examine all aspects of physics teaching and learning during the full agenda of 45 workshops, 70 paper and poster sessions, and 11 topical discussions. Members of the Society of Physics Students also presented their work.

As a member of the University of Minnesota Physics Education Research Group, Leon Hsu, associate professor in the Department of Postsecondary Teaching and Learning, presented a talk on Customizable Computer Coaches for Physics Online (C3PO), a system designed to provide physics instructors with a flexible tool to help students develop problem-solving skills by delivering customizable guidance and feedback to students while they practice solving problems. During his talk, Leon described the system and compared it to similar currently available tools, including web-based homework and Intelligent Tutoring Systems. This work with computer coaches is part of a larger effort to study and improve students’ acquisition of problem-solving skills to enhance physics education.

Prior to the conference, as a representative for the AAPT Committee on Research in Physics Education, Leon reviewed and sorted submitted abstracts, paying particular attention to the talks and posters on research in physics education.