Presentations

    Understanding or Memorization: Are we Teaching the Right Thing?, at Faculty Forum Satellite Broadcast, National Technological University (Fort Collins, CO), Tuesday, November 12, 1996
    Signs that introductory physics course can lead to frustration (both for students and faculty) abound. A major problem is that traditional lectures in introductory science frequently fail to stimulate students to further study. Many (if not most) students concentrate on problem-solving without paying sufficient attention to the underlying concepts. Physics is then reduced to a set of recipes, or "problem solving strategies" are they are called in text books. The remaining, purely mechanical material is uninteresting and the apparent lack of any underlying consistency or logic leads to... Read more about Understanding or Memorization: Are we Teaching the Right Thing?
    Understanding or Memorization: Are we Teaching the Right Thing?, at Fall workshop on educational outreach at Materials Research Science and Engineering Centers, University of California at Santa Barbara (Santa Barbara, CA), Thursday, October 22, 1998:
    Education is more than just transfer of information, yet that is what is mostly done in large introductory courses -- instructors present material (even though this material might be readily available in printed form) and for students the main purpose of lectures is to take down as many notes as they can. Few students have the ability, motivation, and discipline to synthesize all the information delivered to them. Yet synthesis is perhaps the most important -- and most elusive -- aspect of education. Students get frustrated because they are unable to grasp simple concepts. Instructors get... Read more about Understanding or Memorization: Are we Teaching the Right Thing?
    Engaging students in the classroom, at Faculty Workshop on The Use of Technology in Teaching and Learning, Harvard University (Cambridge, MA), Wednesday, May 12, 1999:
    Education is more than just transfer of information, yet that is what most instructors focus on in large lecture classes. Eric Mazur will demonstrate how technology in large classes can help engage the students, turning them from passive receivers of information to active participants in the learning process.
    Introductory Science Lectures: A Missed Opportunity, at Seminar on Covering Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media, Columbia University (New York, NY), Saturday, September 25, 1999:
    There is no doubt that since the beginning of this century the United States ranks first in generating outstanding scientists. It is therefore ironic that as a whole, the population of the United States scores low in Science and Mathematics. One only need turn to the media to see that our society does not value science and science education as it did just a few decades ago. In spite of all the advances in science and the many contributions of related technological developments to society, science illiteracy is rampant. The average person has little faith in scientists and there are more... Read more about Introductory Science Lectures: A Missed Opportunity
    Education: Transfering information or engaging the mind?, at Education Seminar, Department of Mathematics, University of Washington (Seattle, WA), Wednesday, May 10, 2000:
    Education is more than just transfer of information, yet that is what is mostly done in large introductory courses -- instructors present material (even though this material might be readily available in printed form) and for students the main purpose of lectures is to take down as many notes as they can. Few students have the ability, motivation, and discipline to synthesize all the information delivered to them. Yet synthesis is perhaps the most important -- and most elusive -- aspect of education. Students get frustrated because they are unable to grasp simple concepts. Instructors get... Read more about Education: Transfering information or engaging the mind?
    Memorization or understanding: Are we teaching the right thing?, at Physics Colloquium, University of Strathclyde (Glasgow, United Kingdom), Monday, November 11, 2002:
    Education is more than just transfer of information, yet that is what is mostly done in large introductory courses -- instructors present material (even though this material might be readily available in printed form) and for students the main purpose of lectures is to take down as many notes as they can. Few students have the ability, motivation, and discipline to synthesize all the information delivered to them. Yet synthesis is perhaps the most important -- and most elusive -- aspect of education. Students get frustrated because they are unable to grasp simple concepts. Instructors get... Read more about Memorization or understanding: Are we teaching the right thing?
    Memorization or understanding: Are we teaching the right thing?, at 229th American Chemical Society National Meeting (San Diego, CA), Sunday, March 13, 2005:
    Education is more than just transfer of information, yet that is what is mostly done in large introductory courses -- instructors present material (even though this material might be readily available in printed form) and for students the main purpose of lectures is to take down as many notes as they can. Few students have the ability, motivation, and discipline to synthesize all the information delivered to them. Yet synthesis is perhaps the most important -- and most elusive -- aspect of education. I will show how shifting the focus in lectures from delivering information to synthesizing... Read more about Memorization or understanding: Are we teaching the right thing?

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