QuantumDidactics.net - 2008

Johan Falk, Uppsala

On this website you can find articles, theses, conference papers and other resources presenting research into the teaching and learning of quantum mechanics.

The purpose of this website is to make it easier for physics education researchers and quantum mechanics teachers to find relevant information on research into teaching and learning quantum mechanics.

It's a collection of all the online PER results on quantum that he could find (so far) and seems like an excellent resource for those who wish to pursue PER in quantum physics topics. Check it out!


Bricker Bell - Science Education 2008

Conceptualizations of argumentation from science studies and the learning sciences and their implications for the practices of science education
Sci Ed 1-26, 2008

Leah A. Bricker, Philip Bell

Argumentation has become an increasingly recognized focus for science instruction---as a learning process, as an outcome associated with the appropriation of scientific discourse, and as a window onto the epistemic work of science. Only a small set of theoretical conceptualizations of argumentation have been deployed and investigated in science education, however, while a plethora of conceptualizations have been developed in the interdisciplinary fields associated with science studies and the learning sciences. This paper attempts to review a range of such theoretical conceptualizations of argumentation and discuss the possible implications for the orchestration of science education; the goal being that the science education research community might consider a broader range of argumentation forms and roles in conjunction with the learning of science.

Kortemeyer Kasy Benenson Bauer - AJP 2008

Experiences using the open-source learning content management and assessment system LON-CAPA in introductory physics courses.
American Journal of Physics, Volume 76, Number 4 (April 2008), pp. 438-444

Gerd Kortemeyer, Edwin Kashy, Walter Benenson, Wolfgang Bauer

We discuss the development and functionality of the LON-CAPA system with a particular focus on its homework and examination functionality. We also describe its more general approach to course management and its infrastructure for course content sharing and reuse. We then focus on measures of student learning and the effectiveness of different content types.

Zacharia Constantinou - AJP 2008

Comparing the influence of physical and virtual manipulatives in the context of the Physics by Inquiry curriculum: The case of undergraduate students’ conceptual understanding of heat and temperature
American Journal of Physics, Volume 76, Number 4 (April 2008), pp. 425-430

Zacharias C. Zacharia, Constantinos P. Constantinou

We compare the effect of experimenting with physical or virtual manipulatives on undergraduate students’ conceptual understanding of heat and temperature. A pre–post comparison study design was used to replicate all aspects of a guided inquiry classroom except the mode in which students performed their experiments. This study is the first on physical and virtual manipulative experimentation in physics in which the curriculum, method of instruction, and resource capabilities were explicitly controlled. The participants were 68 undergraduates in an introductory course and were randomly assigned to an experimental or a control group. Conceptual tests were administered to both groups to assess students’ understanding before, during, and after instruction. The result indicates that both modes of experimentation are equally effective in enhancing students’ conceptual understanding. This result is discussed in the context of an ongoing debate on the relative importance of virtual and real laboratory work in physics education.

Bing Redish - AJP 2008

Symbolic manipulators affect mathematical mindsets.
American Journal of Physics, Volume 76, Number 4 (April 2008), pp. 418-424

Thomas J. Bing, Edward F. Redish

The use of symbolic calculators such as MATHEMATICA is becoming more commonplace among upper level physics students. The presence of such powerful calculators can couple strongly to the type of mathematical reasoning students employ. These tools do not merely offer students a convenient way to perform the calculations they would have otherwise done by hand. We present examples from the work of upper level physics majors where MATHEMATICA plays an active role in focusing and sustaining their thoughts around calculation. These students still engage in powerful mathematical reasoning while they calculate, but struggle because of the narrowed breadth of their thinking. We model MATHEMATICA’S influence as an integral part of the constant feedback that occurs in how students frame, and hence focus, their work.

McKagan Perkins Dubson Mailey Reid LeMaster Wieman - AJP 2008

Developing and researching PhET simulations for teaching quantum mechanics.
American Journal of Physics, Volume 76, Number 4 (April 2008), pp. 406-417

S. B. McKagan, K. K. Perkins, M. Dubson, C. Malley, S. Reid, R. LeMaster, C. E. Wieman

Quantum mechanics is counterintuitive, difficult to visualize, mathematically challenging, and abstract. The Physics Education Technology (PhET) Project now includes 18 simulations on quantum mechanics designed to improve the learning of this subject. These simulations include several key features to help students build mental models and intuition about quantum mechanics: visual representations of abstract concepts and microscopic processes that cannot be directly observed, interactive environments that directly couple students’ actions to animations, connections to everyday life, and efficient calculations so that students can focus on the concepts rather than the mathematics. Like all PhET simulations, these are developed using the results of research and feedback from educators, and are tested in student interviews and classroom studies. This article provides an overview of the PhET quantum simulations and their development. We also describe research demonstrating their effectiveness and discuss some insights about student thinking.

Singh - AJP 2008

Interactive learning tutorials on quantum mechanics
American Journal of Physics, Volume 76, Number 4 (April 2008), pp. 400-405

Chandralekha Singh

We discuss the development and evaluation of quantum interactive learning tutorials (QuILTs), which are suitable for undergraduate courses in quantum mechanics. QuILTs are based on the investigation of student difficulties in learning quantum physics. They exploit computer-based visualization tools and help students build links between the formal and conceptual aspects of quantum physics without compromising the technical content. They can be used both as supplements to lectures or as self-study tools.

Wieman Perkins Adams - AJP 2008

Oersted Medal Lecture 2007: Interactive simulations for teaching physics: What works, what doesn’t, and why
American Journal of Physics, Volume 76, Number 4 (April 2008), pp. 393-399

Carl E. Wieman, Katherine K. Perkins, Wendy K. Adams

We give an overview of the Physics Educational Technology (PhET) project to research and develop web-based interactive simulations for teaching and learning physics. The design philosophy, simulation development and testing process, and range of available simulations are described. The highlights of PhET research on simulation design and effectiveness in a variety of educational settings are provided. This work has shown that a well-designed interactive simulation can be an engaging and effective tool for learning physics.


Bouville - arxiv.org 2008

Why is cheating wrong?

Mathieu Bouville

It seems so obvious that cheating is wrong that providing a justification is not a main concern: most of the research is empirical and focuses on quantification and correlations. I look at a number of reasons why cheating may be wrong: it provides an unfair advantage over other students, it hinders learning, and it is dishonest. They are unexpectedly weak (often not proving that cheating is wrong) or have consequences that few would endorse, e.g. showing that cheaters should not be punished or that teachers too should be. I finally argue that if instead of asking 'is cheating wrong?' one asks 'what should the students do?' one can no longer hide behind words such as 'cheating' to avoid dealing with reality. One is forced to consider why would students cheat and provide a concrete solution. -- Keywords: academic dishonesty, academic integrity, academic misconduct, education, ethics, homework, honor code, plagiarism


McKagan Perkins Wieman - Phys Rev 2008

Why we should teach the Bohr model and how to teach it effectively
Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res. 4, 010103 (2008)

S.B. McKagan, K.K. Perkins, C. E. Wieman

Some education researchers have claimed that we should not teach the Bohr model of the atom because it inhibits students’ ability to learn the true quantum nature of electrons in atoms. Although the evidence for this claim is weak, many have accepted it. This claim has implications for how to present atoms in classes ranging from elementary school to graduate school. We present results from a study designed to test this claim by developing a curriculum on models of the atom, including the Bohr and Schrödinger models. We examine student descriptions of atoms on final exams in transformed modern physics classes using various versions of this curriculum. We find that if the curriculum does not include sufficient connections between different models, many students still have a Bohr-like view of atoms rather than a more accurate Schrödinger model. However, with an improved curriculum designed to develop model-building skills and with better integration between different models, it is possible to get most students to describe atoms using the Schrödinger model. In comparing our results with previous research, we find that comparing and contrasting different models is a key feature of a curriculum that helps students move beyond the Bohr model and adopt Schrödinger’s view of the atom. We find that understanding the reasons for the development of models is much more difficult for students than understanding the features of the models. We also present interactive computer simulations designed to help students build models of the atom more effectively.


Bell Trundle - JRST 2008

The use of a computer simulation to promote scientific conceptions of moon phases
J Res Sci Teach 45: 346-372, 2008

Randy L. Bell, Kathy Cabe Trundle

This study described the conceptual understandings of 50 early childhood (Pre-K-3) preservice teachers about standards-based lunar concepts before and after inquiry-based instruction utilizing educational technology. The instructional intervention integrated the planetarium software Starry Night BackyardTM with instruction on moon phases from Physics by Inquiry by McDermott (1996). Data sources included drawings, interviews, and a lunar shapes card sort. Videotapes of participants' interviews were used along with the drawings and card sorting responses during data analysis. The various data were analyzed via a constant comparative method in order to produce profiles of each participant's pre- and postinstruction conceptual understandings of moon phases. Results indicated that before instruction none of the participants understood the cause of moon phases, and none were able to draw both scientific moon shapes and sequences. After the instruction with technology integration, most participants (82%) held a scientific understanding of the cause of moon phases and were able to draw scientific shapes and sequences (80%). The results of this study demonstrate that a well-designed computer simulation used within a conceptual change model of instruction can be very effective in promoting scientific understandings.

Gupta Redish Hammer - PERC 2007

Coordination of Mathematics and Physical Resources by Physics Graduate Students
arxiv.org and PERC 2007

Ayush Gupta, Edward F. Redish, and David Hammer

We investigate the dynamics of how graduate students coordinate their mathematics and physics knowledge within the context of solving a homework problem for a plasma physics survey course. Students were asked to obtain the complex dielectric function for a plasma with a specified distribution function and find the roots of that expression. While all the 16 participating students obtained the dielectric function correctly in one of two equivalent expressions, roughly half of them (7 of 16) failed to compute the roots correctly. All seven took the same initial step that led them to the incorrect answer. We note a perfect correlation between the specific expression of dielectric function obtained and the student's success in solving for the roots. We analyze student responses in terms of a resources framework and suggest routes for future research.

Journal-ref: 2007 Physics Education Research Conference. AIP Conference Proceedings, Volume 951, pp. 104-107 (2007)
DOI: 10.1063/1.2820906

Conlin Gupta Scherr Hammer - PERC 2007

The Dynamics of Students' Behaviors and Reasoning during Collaborative Physics Tutorial Sessions
arxiv,org and PERC 2007

Luke D. Conlin, Ayush Gupta, Rachel E. Scherr, and David Hammer

We investigate the dynamics of student behaviors (posture, gesture, vocal register, visual focus) and the substance of their reasoning during collaborative work on inquiry-based physics tutorials. Scherr has characterized student activity during tutorials as observable clusters of behaviors separated by sharp transitions, and has argued that these behavioral modes reflect students' epistemological framing of what they are doing, i.e., their sense of what is taking place with respect to knowledge. We analyze students' verbal reasoning during several tutorial sessions using the framework of Russ, and find a strong correlation between certain behavioral modes and the scientific quality of students' explanations. We suggest that this is due to a dynamic coupling of how students behave, how they frame an activity, and how they reason during that activity. This analysis supports the earlier claims of a dynamic between behavior and epistemology. We discuss implications for research and instruction.

Journal-ref: 2007 Physics Education Research Conference. AIP Conference Proceedings, Volume 951, pp. 69-72 (2007)
DOI: 10.1063/1.2820949

Gupta Hammer Redish - arxiv.org 2008

The Case for Dynamic Models of Learners' Ontologies in Physics

Ayush Gupta, David Hammer, and Edward F. Redish

Submitted to The Journal of the Learning Sciences on 02/28/2008

In a series of well-known papers, Chi and Slotta (Chi, 1992; Chi & Slotta, 1993; Chi, Slotta & de Leeuw, 1994; Slotta, Chi & Joram, 1995; Chi, 2005; Slotta & Chi, 2006) have contended that a reason for students' difficulties in learning physics is that they think about concepts as things rather than as processes, and that there is a significant barrier between these two ontological categories. We contest this view, arguing that expert and novice reasoning often and productively traverses ontological categories. We cite examples from everyday, classroom, and professional contexts to illustrate this. We agree with Chi and Slotta that instruction should attend to learners' ontologies; but we find these ontologies are better understood as dynamic and context-dependent, rather than as static constraints. To promote one ontological description in physics instruction, as suggested by Slotta and Chi, could undermine novices' access to productive cognitive resources they bring to their studies and inhibit their transition to the dynamic ontological flexibility required of experts.

Dexin Dong Wang Nianle Minwen Yu - arxiv.org 2008

An Experiment of Research-Oriented Teaching/Learning

Dexin Lu (NJU), Dong Ruan (THU), Wang Xu (NJU), Nianle Wu (THU), Minwen Xiao (NJU), Yu an (THU)

We introduce our experiment of research-oriented teaching mainly in Nanjing University and Tsinghua University, China. The great population and enrollment in China makes it worth to concern. It lasts 20 years and involves thousands of students and hundreds of instructors, consultant experts. We tried many characteristic styles such as integrated teaching and case analysis, open resources, interactive mode, course paper program, elite solutions and so on. The research on the contents is also placed on the agenda. Many students joined research works that lead to PRL, APL, Nature, Science, and Cell papers. To impart colleagues the essence we offered some examples in every session. We declare the accomplishment of the experiment through this paper and new project is programming.