Project Status: August 2005

Here is a brief synopsis of the actions and efforts of the PhysTEC project since 8 June 2005. If you have questions please contact the Project Manager, Victoria Kwasiborski, or the Principal Investigator, Ted Hodapp.

Overall Project Activities

NSF Annual Report. In July the PhysTEC Annual Report was submitted to the NSF. Subsequently, the NSF released final support of the PhysTEC award. The award totals $5,765,151 and will expire on 07/31/2006. The project expects to request a one-year, no-cost extension to complete five years of full activity at the NSF-funded PPIs.

Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The MOU for the 2005-2006 funding year was revised to encourage a contract process that is open, that supports communication across the project, and addresses documentation and accountability. An immediate outcome of the new MOU process was the assembly of a comparative matrix based on the project's Bridges, Engagement and Continuum components, identifying across the project 38 categories of activities planned for the 2005-2006 year.

PhysTEC Advisory Committee. The PhysTEC Advisory Committee met on July 29 for a full day to consider the project and a set of questions ranging from how the project is seen in the community to how the project work can be sustained. The meeting included discussions of many of the changes put forward this year and conversations with the three sponsoring society leaders (Bernie Khoury, Jim Stith, and Judy Franz). Their report, delivered shortly thereafter, gave a number of concrete steps for the project to consider to help advance the goals and effective dissemination of project activities. The management team will be working with the Leadership Council as well as groups of individuals within the Coalition to consider these suggestions.

Consultants. The project is expanding its range of dissemination activities to help make project advances and ideas more visible. One initiative in this direction is to help each of the Primary Program Institutions (PPIs) to improve their annual reports, which are posted on the web. To assist the Management Team in this effort, the project is establishing a consulting arrangement with Dr. Gay Stewart, a Physics Department faculty member and PPI lead at the University of Arkansas, to review the 2004-2005 reports and suggest improvements. Major goals for future reports include making clear the scholarly basis of reforms and providing a compelling case for the effectiveness of the PhysTEC project. Dr. Stewart has extensive experience with the project and is aware of many of the innovations (having been the progenitor of a number of them herself), and will help produce documents that will inform a variety of audiences from prospective teachers to faculty members at institutions of all types.

PhysTEC Activities

Project Website Updating. The updating of the project websites continues with the posting of abbreviated annual reports for 2005 from each of the PPIs (accessed with the drop-down menu on the PhysTEC homepage). Likewise, the PTEC site features descriptions of member teacher preparation programs, accessed from the PTEC homepage.

New Publication. "Assessing the effectiveness of a computer simulation in conjunction with Tutorials in Introductory Physics in undergraduate physics recitations," Christopher Keller, Noah Finkelstein, Katherine Perkins, and Steven Pollock, PERC Proceedings 2005. (University of Colorado at Boulder)

Summer Professional Development Program. In the three days prior to the start of the summer AAPT meeting, a Professional Development Program was held for the Teachers In Residence, PPI Faculty Leads, mentors and mentees that are participating in the project. Program sessions addressed the roles and responsibilities of the Teacher in Residence, the transition from Teacher in Residence to Mentor, the relationship between mentors and mentees, and the use of the Reformed Observation Teaching Protocol in the mentoring process. The Professional Development Program was developed by John Layman, Michael Wolter, Paul Hickman, and Marcia Fetters with advice from Karen Johnston of the Momentum Group.

Presence at AAPT Summer Meeting . The PhysTEC project had a major presence at the AAPT Summer Meeting at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City on August 6-11, 2005. Six sessions during the meeting featured issues relevant to the preparation of pre-service physics teachers and the continued professional development and mentoring of in-service teachers. One of these sessions was a panel of PhysTEC Teachers In Residence who discussed their experiences as a Teacher in Residence and the impact of this experience on their professional careers. The other five sessions included presentations by PPI faculty, coalition members and others interested in teacher preparation.

The Physics Education Research Conference (PERC) followed the AAPT meeting on Wednesday evening and Thursday. The theme of this year's conference was teacher preparation and PhysTEC was featured in a poster-session that highlighted three of the PhysTEC primary program institutions: Western Michigan University, University of Colorado at Boulder, and Towson University. The poster session was organized by Laura Lising of Towson University. Ted Hodapp, PhysTEC PI, gave an overview of the PhysTEC project as one of the plenary talks on Thursday morning.

Coalition Activities

PTEC and ComPADRE. ComPADRE, an AAPT/AIP/APS partnership supported by the National Science Foundation, is a digital library in physics and astronomy education. ComPADRE is collaborating with PTEC to create a collection devoted to physics and physical science teacher preparation--the Physics Teacher Education Coalition Digital Library (PTEC-DL). This new library will serve Coalition members, PPIs, and others in the teacher preparation community.

PTEC-DL will provide the following services:

  • Document posting for PhysTEC PPIs, for Coalition members, and for community members.
  • Webpages for PPIs and Coalition members
  • A threaded listserv for each of the PPIs, TIRs, Leadership Council, and Coalition members (This listserv will be accessed by email.)

As of this quarterly report, PTEC-DL is in the planning stage. Dan MacIsaac (SUNY-Buffalo) has agreed to be the collection editor and should be under contract by early September.