Presentations

    Active lectures and interactive teaching, at AAPT New Faculty Workshop (College Park, MD), Friday, November 11, 2005:
    I thought I was a good teacher until I discovered my students were just memorizing information rather than learning to understand the material. Who was to blame? The students? The material? I will explain how I came to the agonizing conclusion that the culprit was neither of these. It was my teaching that caused students to fail! I will show how I have adjusted my approach to teaching and how it has improved my students' performance significantly.
    Active lectures and interactive teaching, at AAPT New Faculty Workshop, American Center for Physics (College Park, MD), Saturday, November 12, 2005:
    I thought I was a good teacher until I discovered my students were just memorizing information rather than learning to understand the material. Who was to blame? The students? The material? I will explain how I came to the agonizing conclusion that the culprit was neither of these. It was my teaching that caused students to fail! I will show how I have adjusted my approach to teaching and how it has improved my students' performance significantly.
    Interactive Teaching: Turning a Large Lecture into a Seminar, at Symposium on Technology in Undergraduate Education, Harvard University (Cambridge, MA 02138), Friday, June 16, 2006:
    Education is more than just transfer of information, yet that is mostly what happens in large introductory courses -- instructors present material and students take down as many notes as they can. This format tends to reinforce the idea that learning is about acquiring information rather than gaining new ways of thinking. In undergraduate science, however, learning consists primarily of developing new thinking skills; this mismatch between instruction and learning leads to students misunderstanding what science is, as well as frustration for both students and instructors. The problem has a... Read more about Interactive Teaching: Turning a Large Lecture into a Seminar
    Active learning and interactive lectures, at AAPT New Faculty Workshop, American Center for Physics (College Park, MD), Friday, October 27, 2006:
    I thought I was a good teacher until I discovered my students were just memorizing information rather than learning to understand the material. Who was to blame? The students? The material? I will explain how I came to the agonizing conclusion that the culprit was neither of these. It was my teaching that caused students to fail! I will show how I have adjusted my approach to teaching and how it has improved my students' performance significantly.
    Interactive Teaching: Turning a Large Lecture into a Seminar, at MIT Mechanical Engineering Teaching and Learning Retreat, Massachusetts Insitute of Technology (Cambridge, MA 02138), Sunday, September 23, 2007:
    Education is more than just transfer of information, yet that is mostly what happens in large introductory courses -- instructors present material and students take down as many notes as they can. This format tends to reinforce the idea that learning is about acquiring information rather than gaining new ways of thinking. In undergraduate science, however, learning consists primarily of developing new thinking skills; this mismatch between instruction and learning leads to students misunderstanding what science is, as well as frustration for both students and instructors. The problem has a... Read more about Interactive Teaching: Turning a Large Lecture into a Seminar
    Memorization or understanding: are we teaching the right thing?, at NCLT Faculty Workshop on Nanoscale Science & Engineering Education, Alabama A&M University (Huntsville, AL), Friday, March 28, 2008
    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?
    Introduction to Peer Instruction, at AAPT New Faculty Workshop, American Center for Physics (College Park, MD), Wednesday, June 25, 2008
    I thought I was a good teacher until I discovered my students were just memorizing information rather than learning to understand the material. Who was to blame? The students? The material? I will explain how I came to the agonizing conclusion that the culprit was neither of these. It was my teaching that caused students to fail! I will show how I have adjusted my approach to teaching and how it has improved my students' performance significantly.
    Introduction to Peer Instruction, at AAPT New Faculty Workshop, American Center for Physics (College Park, MD), Thursday, June 26, 2008:
    I thought I was a good teacher until I discovered my students were just memorizing information rather than learning to understand the material. Who was to blame? The students? The material? I will explain how I came to the agonizing conclusion that the culprit was neither of these. It was my teaching that caused students to fail! I will show how I have adjusted my approach to teaching and how it has improved my students' performance significantly.
    Peer Instruction Workshop, at AAPT New Faculty Workshop, American Center for Physics (College Park, MD), Friday, June 27, 2008:
    The basic goals of Peer Instruction are to encourage and make use of student interaction during lectures, while focusing students' attention on underlying concepts and techniques. The method has been assessed in many studies using standardized, diagnostic tests and shown to be considerably more effective than the conventional lecture approach to teaching. Peer Instruction is now used in a wide range of science and math courses at the college and secondary level. In this workshop, participants will learn about Peer Instruction, serve as the “class” in which Peer Instruction is demonstrated,... Read more about Peer Instruction Workshop
    Disseminating Curriculum and Pedagogy: Peer Instruction, at Joint AAPT/AAAS 2009 Annual Winter Meeting (Chicago, IL), Saturday, February 14, 2009:
    I coined the term "Peer Instruction" (and the associated "ConcepTests") to describe a technique I was starting to implement in my class in an NSF proposal I wrote 1991. I implemented the technique to solve a problem in my own class, never anticipating the wide acceptance the technique (and the terms) would find over the course of the next decade and a half. The technique has found a broad following across disciplines, across institutions, and across the world, even if some adaptations stray far from my original ideas. What is it that accounts for the method's rapid dissemination? Does the... Read more about Disseminating Curriculum and Pedagogy: Peer Instruction
    Technology is not a pedagogy: Peer Instruction with and without clickers, at 2009 AAPT Winter Meeting (Chicago, IL), Monday, February 16, 2009:
    Peer Instruction is an instructional strategy for engaging students during class using a structured questioning process. Results from a wide variety of institutions indicate that Peer Instruction increases student mastery of conceptual reasoning and quantitative problem solving and decreases attrition rates. The technique is most frequently implemented with clickers, even though flashcards or raised hands can also be used. We recently studied the effect of clickers on the implementation of Peer Instruction and found that the benefits result more from the pedagogy than from the clicker... Read more about Technology is not a pedagogy: Peer Instruction with and without clickers
    Impact of Peer Instruction on underrepresented groups, at American Association of Physics Teachers Summer Meeting 2010 (Portland, OR), Monday, July 19, 2010:
    This talk discusses the performance of traditionally underrepresented groups (women and underrepresented racial and ethnic minority groups) when taught introductory physics using Peer Instruction, either with traditional discussion sections or combined with other interactive engagement strategies. On average, students from these underrepresented groups enter with weaker preparation; for data obtained at Harvard University, we examine end-of-semester performance results, both end-of-semester conceptual inventory data and student grades, controlling for student background. We also summarize... Read more about Impact of Peer Instruction on underrepresented groups
    Educating the Innovators of the 21st Century, at Strengthening Teaching and Learning in STEM Fields, LASPAU Harvard University (Cambridge, MA), Friday, June 22, 2012:
    Can we teach innovation? Innovation requires whole-brain thinking — left-brain thinking for creativity and imagination, and right-brain thinking for planning and execution. Our current approach to education in science and technology, focuses on the transfer of information, developing mostly right-brain thinking by stressing copying and reproducing existing ideas rather than generating new ones. I will show how shifting the focus in lectures from delivering information to team work and creative thinking greatly improves the learning that takes place in the classroom and promotes independent... Read more about Educating the Innovators of the 21st Century
    Using seminar-based instruction to convey contemporary research to undergraduates, at Materials Research Society 2012 Fall Meeting (Boston, MA), Monday, November 26, 2012:
    In the standard lecture-based approach to teaching, the focus is often on content and not on the development higher cognitive skills. The seminar method of teaching focuses on the development of such important skills, including independent research, reading, writing, presenting, debating and peer review. The method involves creating an environment for students where they can interact with each other on one or more themes under the guidance of an instructor. While the focus is on the development of skills, the students must master advanced content in order to participate in the course. I will... Read more about Using seminar-based instruction to convey contemporary research to undergraduates
    Assessment: The silent killer of learning, at Siam Physics Congress 2015 (Krabi, Thailand), Wednesday, May 20, 2015:
    Why is it that stellar students sometimes fail in the workplace while dropouts succeed? One reason is that most, if not all, of our current assessment practices are inauthentic. Just as the lecture focuses on the delivery of information to students, so does assessment often focus on having students regurgitate that same information back to the instructor. Consequently, assessment fails to focus on the skills that are relevant in life in the 21st century. Assessment has been called the "hidden curriculum" as it is an important driver of students' study habits. Unless we rethink our approach to... Read more about Assessment: The silent killer of learning
    Innovating Education to Educate Innovators: Lessons from Physics Education Research, at 2017 AAAS Annual Meeting (Boston, MA), Friday, February 17, 2017:
    Education research in the sciences began with physicists who sought to improve undergraduate education in that discipline. Physics education research (PER) established standards for evidence that increasingly have been adopted by researchers across the sciences. This presentation will provide an overview of PER, the pedagogical changes that PER has inspired in undergraduate physics courses and programs, and the implications of this work for improving undergraduate education in other disciplines.
    The Essence of Physics, at Instructional Technology Program Forum, University of California at Berkeley (Berkeley, CA), Thursday, February 1, 1990
    The Essence of Physics, at MacAdemia, University of California at Berkeley (Berkeley, CA), Saturday, September 1, 1990
    A Hypermedia approach to teaching Physics, at International IEEE/AP-S Meeting (London, Ontario, Canada), Tuesday, June 25, 1991:
    No abstract available.

    Note: This is my first ever computer presentation. It was given using HyperCard on an Apple Macintosh Portable (well, barely portable; it was not for another 6 months that Apple would ship the first PowerBook). The image was projected using an LCD-panel that had to be placed on an overhead projector.

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