PER Seminar

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Using physics identity to understand students’ experiences in high school and introductory university physics courses
Robynne Lock, Assistant Professor, Texas A&M University - Commerce

Physics identity provides a useful framework for understanding students’ experiences in physics classes and for understanding their career goals. Physics identity consists of three dimensions: recognition, interest, and performance/competence, and can be described as the extent to which a person sees themselves as a “physics person”. In this presentation, I will discuss two contexts in which the physics identity framework provides insight. The first context is an introductory university physics course sequence. We investigated the impact of the transition from a traditional lecture/lab to a studio setting on both conceptual understanding and physics identity in the introductory calculus-based physics sequence at Texas A&M University-Commerce. Furthermore, because studio physics relies on students working in groups, creating effective groups in studio classes is critical to maximizing success. We analyzed videos of groups in introductory physics at A&M-Commerce in order to identify trends of effective group work in studio physics. Another context in which physics identity is useful is in examining the factors that affect students’ career decisions. This is of key importance when developing methods to recruit women into physics. STEP UP 4 Women is an ambitious project with the goal of increasing the representation of women in physics by mobilizing and supporting high school physics teachers nationwide to recruit young women to become physics majors through strategies that support the physics identity development of young women. The results of the pilot study include analysis of effects on future physics intentions in addition to physics identity as well as an investigation of students’ career goals.

Vashti wins Spirit of Ability Award
March 12, 2019
Vashti wins Spirit of Ability Award

PERL co-director Vashti Sawtelle has won the Spirit of Ability Award.

Learning Machines Lab publishes paper on factors predictive of faculty integrating computation into physics courses
February 20, 2019
Learning Machines Lab publishes paper on factors predictive of faculty integrating computation into physics courses

PERL members Nick Young, Grant Allen, John Aiken, Rachel Henderson, and Danny Caballero have published an article in Physical Review Physics Education Research titled Identifying features predictive of faculty integrating computation into physics courses.

Dena wins Art Lab Grant
February 12, 2019
Dena wins Art Lab Grant

Postdoc Dena Izadi has won a grant from MSU's Broad Art Lab for her project "The Schrodinger’s Cat is in Town!"

Vashti and Abhilash Publish Article About Epistemological progress in physics and its impact on biology
January 22, 2019
Vashti and Abhilash Publish Article About Epistemological progress in physics and its impact on biology

PERL co-director Vashti Sawtelle, PERL alumni Abhilash Nair, and colleagues have published an article in Physical Review Physics Education Research titled Epistemological progress in physics and its impact on biology.

PERL Members Publish 16 PERC Papers
January 21, 2019
PERL Members Publish 16 PERC Papers

We're proud to announce that the PERL Team has contributed to 16 PERC Papers in 2018.

Danny publishes paper about prevalence and nature of computational instruction
December 20, 2018
Danny publishes paper about prevalence and nature of computational instruction

PERL co-director Danny Caballero and collaborator Laura Merner have published an article in Physical Review Physics Education Research titled Prevalence and nature of computational instruction in undergraduate physics programs across the United States.

Dr. Abhilash Nair Defends His PhD!
December 7, 2018
Dr. Abhilash Nair Defends His PhD!

Dr. Abhilash Nair Defends His PhD!

Kelsey wins Excellence in Teaching Award
November 16, 2018
Kelsey wins Excellence in Teaching Award

PhD student Kelsey Funkhouser has been awarded an Excellence-in-Teaching Citation from the College of Natural Science.

Abhilash and Vashti Publish Paper About Using an IOLab to Visualize Equipotential Lines
October 19, 2018
Abhilash and Vashti Publish Paper About Using an IOLab to Visualize Equipotential Lines

Graduate student Abhilash Nair and PERL co-director Vashti Sawtelle have published an article in The Physics Teacher about Real-time Visualization of Equipotential Lines Using the IOLab.

Vashti Publishes Article About an Analytic Framework to Characterize Student Reasoning
September 5, 2018
Vashti Publishes Article About an Analytic Framework to Characterize Student Reasoning

PERL co-director Vashti Sawtelle, PERL alumni K.K. Mashood, and colleagues have published an article in Life Science Education titled Developing an Analytical Framework to Characterize Student Reasoning about Complex Processes.