Physics Education in Canada. Tetyana Antimirova and Pedro Goldman Department of Physics, Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Science Ryerson University 2008 OAPT Conference
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Tetyana Antimirova and Pedro Goldman
Department of Physics,
Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Science
2008 OAPT Conference
22-24 May 2008
Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA):
57 countries took part in the assessment. Canada came up 3rd!
Only students from Finland and Hong-Kong, China outperformed Canadian students in science!
Even by conservative estimates:
First –Year Student Survey 2007 at Ryerson:
A lower percentage of respondents (64% in 2007 compared to 78% in 2004), reported success with “performing adequately in courses requiring mathematical skills”
Take required physics courses for engineering, pre- medical, other science programs or have no exposure to physics at all
“The task of the physics teacher today is to figure
out how to help a much larger fraction of the
population understand how the world works, how to
think logically, and how to evaluate science”
“Teaching physics can be both inspirational and frustrating”
Four-step approach from Carl Wieman Science Education Initiative (CWSEI)
Interactive engagement in large lectures (Clickers)
Using live data collection (sensors and probes, LoggerPro) to provide students with the opportunity to test their ideas about science
Using video-based motion analysis
Using online computer simulations (PhET) in large lectures as well as in labs, tutorials and homework assignments
Using online interactive homework systems, such as MasteringPhysics
To know where we are going:
granting agencies (NCERS, SSHRC and CIHR) to review
grant applications in subject-based Science Education
support of the initiative of Dr. M.Milner-Bolotin and
Physics Education Research (as any subject-based science education research) requires consistent funding for research and curriculum development and evaluation, preferably from national granting agencies
Subject-based Science education research (PER in particular) should be centered at science departments
Science (physics) departments should be involved in the training of science teachers
University of British Columbia: Carl Wieman Science Education Initiative (CWSEI) - $12 million over 5 years, started January 2006. Funded by the University.
University of Toronto: Renovation of Undergraduate Physics Labs (studio-based physics teaching) - funded mainly by the University
Alan Slavin’s work at Trent University on Students’ Achievements in Introductory Physics Courses
Ryerson University: Hired two tenure track physics education faculty at the Department of Physics; the scope of our PER-related activities is growing
Perimeter Institute initiatives
Toronto District School Board (TDSB) involvement with PER
University of Calgary: Undergraduate Laboratory project funded by University, includes hiring postdoctoral researcher for PER-Latest development!
University of British Columbia – Carl Wieman Science Education Initiative (CWSEI)
$12 million over 5 years, started January 2006. Funded by the University.
Science Education in the 21st Century: Using the Tools of Science to Teach Science
Achieving the most effective, evidence-based science education
●BSc in Medical Physics
●MSc in Biomedical Physics
●Applied to OCGS for PhD in Biomedical Physics
●Long-term goal: MSc in Science (Physics) Education
Common theme: the impact of new technologies on
Our Goal: to implement activity-based, inquiry based learning in all our courses
The common introductory physics course for all Science Programs (~300 students) at Ryerson combines the students who took Ontario grade 12 high school physics or its equivalent, and those who did not
This natural split allowed us to probe how the previous exposure to high school physics influences the learning outcomes in the university introductory physics courses
128 of 200
Impact of Student Major on their Achievement
in Introductory Physics
Introduction to Medical Physics course
Why to collaborate?
1. Antimirova, T., M. Milner-Bolotin, et al. "Physics Education on the Move in Canada" Newsletter of the International Consortium on Physics Education (ICPE), Spring 2008.
2. Milner-Bolotin, M. and T. Antimirova (2007). "Physics Education in Canada: Recent developments." Canadian Undergraduate Physics Journal VI(1): 28-29.
Phone: (416) 9795000 x 17416
Assistant Chair for the
Department of Physics
Phone: (416) 9795000 x 16538
Professor and Chair
Department of Physics
We would like to thank Marina Milner-Bolotin for providing some materials for this presentation.