HTML, Physlets, and TIPERs Workshop


June 11-14, 2003 at Joliet Junior College in Joliet, IL


Mario Belloni from Davidson College, Davidson, NC

Anne Cox from Eckerd College, St. Petersburg, FL

David Maloney from Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, Fort Wayne, IN

Steve Kanim from New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM

Tom O’Kuma from Lee College, Baytown, TX

Curtis Hieggelke from Joliet Junior College, Joliet, IL


Recent research findings indicate that the “traditional” lecture-style, passive learning model does not substantially impact the learning and understanding of most students who take introductory physics. The research also indicates that most students enter introductory physics with alternative conceptions to many of the basic concepts that are taught in introductory physics. For most students, passive learning techniques generally do not replace these “misconceptions” with concepts that are more consistent with our understanding of nature. Results from physics education research have indicated several different active learning techniques that have substantially increased student conceptual understanding in introductory physics.


During this HTML/Physlets/TIPER workshop, participants will become familiar with a new, web-based, active learning pedagogy employing Physlets® (physics applets) for enhancing conceptual understanding and problem solving skills of students. This will include Physlet-based curricular material that uses various teaching strategies such as Just-in-Time-Teaching, Peer Instruction, Tutorials, and Ranking Tasks. A one-day HTML basics workshop will be offered for participants without much experience working with HTML documents.


Participants will also become familiar with various TIPERs (Tasks Inspired by Physics Education Research) and develop several of their own. These pencil and paper tasks will include ranking tasks, working backwards problems (also known as Jeopardy problems), predict and explain tasks, concept oriented demonstration tasks, qualitative reasoning tasks, predict and explain tasks, and many more.


During this workshop, participants will learn how to use Physlets, i.e., interactive Java applets written at Davidson College, to deliver HTML-based interactive media-focused problems and other interactive curricular material to students. Participants will also gain experience to develop the ability and skills to modify, adapt, script, and construct new materials using Physlets. Participants will have an opportunity to develop new materials for their students in a collaborative group of other TYC and HS educators. One of the primary goals of this workshop is to show how these ideas can be implemented at TYCs and HSs. Several methods of integrating the ideas presented at this workshop into the curricula will be discussed including results from TYC and HS settings.


Discussion and information on the needs of the technological workforce and its connection with the activities of this workshop will be presented. There will also be an opportunity to share and discuss issues relating to teaching physics more effectively, particularly for students enrolled in technician/technology education programs. There will be extensive discussions on how to use various strategies, tools, and tactics to overcome problems and barriers to learning at TYCs and HSs. Important issues such as standards, assessment, diversity, and technology utilization will be addressed at various points during the workshop. Discussion and information on the needs of the technological workforce and its connection with the activities of this workshop will also be presented.


The workshop leaders have many years of experience in developing and refining curriculum for introductory physics students. In addition, and more importantly, the workshop leaders have had extensive experience with the implementation and adaptation of curriculum in a variety of institutions and for many types of introductory physics students along with the training of faculty in using and developing their own curricula for their technology-oriented students.