Wednesday, January 9, 2013
American Association of Physics Teachers Winter Meeting 2013 (New Orleans, LA)
Numerous studies show courses taught using Peer Instruction have higher learning gains on standardized assessments. Yet we have very few measurements of what happens during the peer discussion component of this pedagogy. When students are told to discuss a physics question with a neighbor, do they do so? If so, do they have a substantive conversation about the physics, or just a brief exchange of answers? To address these questions, we recorded every student discussion in nearly every lecture of an introductory physics course at a major research university. Through both large-scale manual coding efforts and smaller-scale qualitative analysis, we have identified common interactional patterns and measured the frequency of each interaction type. In addition, we have measured the proportion of time students spend in on- and off-task discussions. We will discuss these results and implications for the classroom.