Re: What's new in classroom configurations

From: Dewey Dykstra (
Date: Thu Mar 03 2005 - 14:32:04 PST

*This message was transferred with a trial version of CommuniGate(tm) Pro*
In physics education and physics education research in the late 70's
and early 80's people were having groups of students use large sheets
of butcher paper. Now the vogue is "whiteboards." In my own setting I
use easel paper with post-it stickum on one edge so that it can be
conveniently attached to a surface and I can keep a record of what
groups of students generated. (Whiteboards get wiped off for the next
section coming in.) In all of these examples the students use the
medium as a means of communication (stimulates the use of drawings and
diagrams and of using some sort of written record in the conversation
instead of just speaking) and as an object of discussion (comparing and
contrasting different ways of representing ideas, for example).

This has not been done widely, but it has been done consistently in a
number of locations. You can go into certain physics instructional
labs and still find the big rolls of butcher paper and sheets of it at
every lab group when labs are in session.

To find out more about this you might contact Lillian McDermott in the
Physics Dept at the U of WA in Seattle or Fred Goldberg at SDSU (cross
town from Mike Cole's place).


On Mar 1, 2005, at 8:34 AM, Kevin Leander wrote:

> ...
> Like Lara, one of the things I would be interested in knowing about
> more in the original example is how the "boards" are used as common
> objects of representation and how they circulate.
> Kevin
Dewey I. Dykstra, Jr., Ph. D. Phone: (208)426-3105
Professor of Physics Dept: (208)426-3775
Department of Physics/MCF418 Fax: (208)426-4330
Boise State University
1910 University Drive Boise Highlanders
Boise, ID 83725-1570 novice piper: GHB, Uilleann

"a physics major has to be trained to use today's physics whereas
a physics teacher has to be trained to see a development of
physical theories in his students' minds."--Hans Niedderer in
"International Conference on Physics Teachers' Education
Proceedings" Dortmund: University of Dortmund, p. 151, 1992.

"It is, in fact, nothing short of a miracle that the modern
methods of instruction have not yet entirely strangled the
holy curiosity of inquiry; for this delicate little plant, aside
from stimulation, stands mainly in need of freedom; without
this the plant goes to wreck and ruin without fail."
--A. Einstein in "Autobiographical Notes," 1949.

"Now there are two theorems that form together the cardinal
hinge on which the whole structure of physical science turns.
These theorems are: (1) THERE IS A REAL OUTER WORLD WHICH
"Where Is Science Going?," 1932. (EMPHASIS in the original)

"As a result of modern research in physics, the ambition and
hope, still cherished by most authorities of the last century,
that physical science could offer a photographic picture and
true image of reality had to be abandoned." --M. Jammer in
"Concepts of Force," 1957.

"If what we regard as real depends on our theory, how can we
make reality the basis of our philosophy? ...But we cannot
distinguish what is real about the universe without a theory. makes no sense to ask if it corresponds to reality,
because we do not know what reality is independent of a
theory."--S. Hawking in "Black Holes and Baby Universes" 1993.

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Fri Apr 01 2005 - 01:00:04 PST