Project Status: January 2005

The PhysTEC project has seen a number of changes and actions over the past three months. Here is a brief synopsis of the progress since 1 November 2004. If you have questions please contact Ted Hodapp (hodapp@aps.org).

Overall Project Activities

  • During the fall the new PI (Ted Hodapp) and new project manager (John Gretz) visited each of the eight sites. Ted also visited Oregon State, University of Washington, and Seattle Pacific University to look at ways each of these institutions can help contribute to our goals of bringing together a collective community that is supportive of teacher preparation in physics and physical science. Ted has plans this spring to visit Rutgers University, San Diego State University (http://www.sci.sdsu.edu/CRMSE/), and the UTeach program at the University of Texas at Austin (http://www.uteach.utexas.edu/index.shtml). We are responding to commentary by our external Advisory Committee to better emphasize education research so that project activities will have the strongest possible scholarly base.
  • Following the site visits this past fall, the project assembled a new strategic plan for 2005 to help guide management activities and recognize directions and goals. The plan has specific milestones and relates project activities to larger goals of the project. This is being used to create a staffing priorities document to help identify staffing needs within the project and to work toward providing adequate staffing of the many programmatic objectives. Along with the strategic plan, a new project description was developed that breaks the project into two thrusts: PhysTEC (the supported institutions), and PTEC (the Coalition that will help improve and promote teacher preparation well into the future). Both stand for the Physics Teacher Education Coalition, but each has a particular mission and audience. The six original components of the PhysTEC model have morphed into the three elements of the current project. These are Bridges, Engagement, and Continuum, which encompass all of the original project components.
  • In connection with these two thrusts, we have updated the PhysTEC web site and established a new PTEC (http://www.ptec.org/) site to feature Coalition programs.
  • On 28 January 2005, we had an all-day review at the National Science Foundation of the project. This was essentially a third-year review. We have not yet received the comments from the seven-member panel, but felt that the project received a lot of good questions and gave an accurate account of the project. One of the highlights of the review was the presentation made by PhysTEC faculty and a PhysTEC student. Here is the heart of this project. We are looking forward to hearing from the NSF's external panel about ways we can help improve the project in the future.

PhysTEC Activities

  • We are initiating plans to produce, by the end of 2007, a published book on the project as a major effort to disseminate the results and findings of PhysTEC. The plan for now is to have chapters from each of the supported sites, and overview chapters on and about the effectiveness of the various components of this effort.
  • We have signed a contract with David Byrum of the University of Arizona to lead our effort in bringing together the community of Teachers In Residence (TIR). David is a former TIR and an active participant in the Arizona program. David has already created an extensive web presence for the TIRs (http://homepage.mac.com/dbyrum/tirindex.html) and will continue to support this along with other TIR initiatives.
  • We are currently negotiating a contract to help us better understand the mentoring program and to document, in a fashion suitable for peer-review, the outcomes of this program.

Coalition Activities

  • We have redesigned the application process for joining the Coalition to be more inclusive and reflective of newer project directions (/phystec/join.cfm). We have added one member, the University of Connecticut, and are in various stages with four other institutions to add to the coalition.
  • We have established a newsletter section, within the APS Forum on Education Newsletter, to highlight results from PhysTEC sites, Coalition members, and others (http://www.aps.org/units/fed/newsletters/). This newsletter is currently published three times each year and will now have a section designated specifically for teacher preparation in each issue. Chance Hoellwarth, from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo has agreed to edit this section for 2005. We have also designed a new masthead for the section and a coordinated one for the newsletter as a whole. The Forum on Education has been instrumental in helping us with this dissemination effort.
  • In past years we have run an internal conference for PhysTEC institutions. As the project enters a more mature phase, we have begun an effort to build this effort into a national conference on teacher preparation in physics and physical science. We will bring together a diverse group to discuss innovative ideas and structures that have proven effective in educating future teachers. Our first conference of this type will be held in Muncie, IN on 11-12 March 2005.
  • We are negotiating contracts with PER students at Rutgers University to help the project provide centralized information on Resource Individuals and lists of opportunities for summer research for high school teachers. With this information, we expect to offer assistance for graduates of Coalition schools so research experiences of this sort can be a part of their continuing education.
  • We redesigned the logo (see above) to highlight the emphasis on coalition activities and the unity of the Physics Teacher Education Coalition.
  • We are under negotiation with ComPADRE (Communities for Physics and Astronomy Digital Resources in Education, http://www.compadre.org) to host a "portal" (web interface) devoted to teacher preparation materials. ComPADRE, a joint effort by AAPT, AAS, SPS, AIP, and APS is on its way to becoming the centralized source for electronic educational materials in physics and astronomy education. Many of the sites and Resource Individuals have materials that, if brought together in a centralized way, will enable them to be used more widely. We hope to assist these efforts by tying into this existing NSF-funded effort, and make materials developed at PhysTEC and PTEC sites more readily available with a minimum of effort, and with the increased functionality afforded by the expertise at ComPADRE. We are in the process of selecting an editor to help build this collection, and an editorial review board to vet materials to be included. Because ComPADRE has already developed tools for their existing portals, a teacher preparation portal will come on line quickly, perhaps as early as this summer.