Hands-on and Online Demonstration Based Pedagogy for Enhancing Student Engagement in Physics

Project Number
AFD 04/16 VV

Project Duration
December 2016 - June 2019

Status
In-Progress

Abstract
From our interactions with JC students who arrive at our institute for engaging in research we realized that science can seem intimidating. While the courage and motivation required to approach institutes of higher learning in order to willingly take up research is commendable, without the proper mindset, the practice of and thinking in science can seem very frightening. On the other hand, it is helpful, and perhaps, even imperative for JC students to build finer appreciation for concepts in solid state and quantum physics. Not only is this very conducive towards steering them towards enrolling in Physics at university level but also, on some level, this prepares them for the future as almost any subdomain of research in Physics they enter later in their career will involve concepts from these two areas. However, since most phenomenon from Solid State and Quantum physics are non-intuitive and also require expensive instrumentation to demonstrate, it has been traditionally left unto university instructors to captivate the young minds with the possibilities. There is a lack of sufficient resources for instructing JC students in these two particular areas in a manner that is inspiring. We believe there is a better way. We propose a change in pedagogy to inspire the students to think critically in physics in particular and science in general. To this end, we will develop question-based demonstrations which will be supported by animated content. The instructors will first ask a few questions and ask the students to predict the outcome of an experiment. They will then take the students further into a concept, than it is usually covered within the bounds of the syllabus. The hardware and supportive animation to illustrate the concept in further detail. The students will then make their observations and engage with the material and answer some questions. The questions will be framed in such a way that it will not be obvious and will require critical thought and discussion. With a view on the ever-increasing need for online resources, we will also develop material which can be hosted and run online. The students in this case will interact with pre-packaged material through app interfaces. We believe that by engaging with students through these “deep dives”, teachers will be able to pique their curiosity and perhaps inspire them to consider further education in science or scientific disciplines.

Funding Source
MOE

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