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Kentucky Virtual Physics Education Group

Kentucky Virtual Physics Education Group

Program Picture

Kentucky Virtual Physics Education Group Image

Members

  • Bonham, Scott
  • Gaffney, Jon
  • Wang, Jing

People

The Kentucky Virtual Physics Education Research group consists of individuals from three different institutions:
  • Scott Bonham, Associate Professor of Physics, Western Kentucky University
  • Jon Gaffney, Post-doctoral Researcher, University of Kentucky
  • Jing Wang, Assistant Professor of Physics, Eastern Kentucky University
We are all the only people in our departments with an education research focus, but by banding together as a virtual research group, we have many of the benefits of a larger group.

Research Focus

Our group is interested in issues involving teacher preparation and student understanding of the nature of science.  We are also have strong interest in studio physics courses such as SCALE-UP: both Scott Bonham and Jon Gaffney were involved with SCALE-UP at North Carolina State University, and EKU now teaches all introductory physics courses in SCALE-UP style studio classrooms.

History

The Kentucky ViPER group was formed in August 2010 at the American Association of Physics Teachers meeting.  Through a series of conversations, we discovered that we had overlapping research interests, were located within a few hundred miles of each other, and could benefit from regular interaction with other physics education researchers.  A few weeks later we all met at WKU to discuss a research focus and to apply for a PERLOC mini-grant.  We have been able to support intense collaboration and regular meetings using that money and a few thousand dollars provided by our respective department chairs. (One chair on his initiative offered our group $1K if the other chairs would match, which they quickly did.)  We are currently working on a major grant application and have plans for additional ones in the future.