Undergraduate Education Committee
Physics Education and Teaching Resources

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Disclaimer: The following resources are maintained as a courtesy to the physics community. This list is not meant to be comprehensive or exhaustive but representative of the resources available both on the Web and in traditional printed formats.

Physics Teaching Resources

One of the most comprehensive resources for those looking into the resources for teaching physics is

Though Jossem was writing primarily for the teaching education of physics graduate assistants anyone teaching in physics should have this resource letter near at hand. It provides a comprehensive list of teaching resources, instructional strategies, conference proceedings and a formidable bibliography on all aspects of teaching physics.

Two books which are worth the time to study for anyone, new or experienced, teaching introductory physics are

The book by Swartz and Miner (both former editors of The Physics Teacher) contains practical advice on teaching the topics of the introductory physics curriculum. The book by Arons (which contains his previous book A Guide to Introductory Physics Teaching) is a marvelous introduction to the nature of the misconceptions students possess and the conceptual barriers they encounter as they study physics.

Two other books which have useful and practical teaching suggestions based on PER outcomes are

Once the mechanics of teaching are in hand, teachers should turn to the results of the physics education research community or to the various curricular innovations to explore how to help their students learn physics more effectively.

Also the resources listed below might be useful.

Students

Some of these sites may be useful to your students. But warn them not confuse an hour browsing the WEB for an hour of study.

Demonstrations

Some useful demo sites for physics teachers.

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Physics Education Research

A recent very authoratative resource for those looking into the extent, nature, and results of research in physics education is

The resource letter has a formidable bibliography on the objectives, methods of study, content, and results of the physics education research community.

Recent books looking at the challenges and promise of combining the results of physics education research and teacher education are

Three articles which capture the method and spirit of research in physics education.

There are now so many groups pursuing physics education research that listing them all poses a formidable task. A partial list can be found below, at the Educational Resource page of the American Physical Society, http://www.aps.org/educ/resources/education.cfm, or in Resource Letter EPGA-1:The Education of Physics Graduate Assistants by Leonard Jossem mentioned above.

The sites listed below are representative of the many sites available. Most of these sites list the programs they are pursuing, the people involved, and a bibliography of their work. Most also have links to other PER groups and several have their papers online. It would be worth while to visit a selection of sites to find the one(s) which is(are) most informative to you.

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Curricular Innovations

The physics community undergoes aperiodic self-evaluations where we look at the way we teach physics. Normally we are unhappy with the results. What is new about the present wave of reforms is the depth to which the physics education research community is adding to our understanding of what we are doing wrong and what we are doing right.

This educational reform wave is beginning to be felt as viable education resources in curricular materials. The IUPP was one broad effort of the physics community to look at developing alternative educational materials.

Some of the most persistent reforms already have a substantial resource base.

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General Teaching Resources

The number of books and articles on teaching and teaching techniques are almost innumerable (or at least too many to try). A visit to your library will most likely yield a substantial list. Or you may check in with Jossem's resource letter EGPA listed above.

Three books which are worth perusing are

There are now numerous centers promoting teaching excellence which maintain substantial resources available online. Most of these listed have short articles on teaching, teaching handbooks, and bibliographies on teaching and learning. A few have links to other centers.

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Resources for Departmental Review

The physics community extends beyond the classroom. And the department should periodically examine itself to insure that a healthy, dynamic and productive environment is in place for all of its members -- faculty, students and staff.

A view of the resources that a deparment can use to measure itself are

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Other Organizations

This resource list is hardly unique or comprehensive. A few of the sites maintained by organizations similar to ours are listed below.

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Last updated 30 August 2005