Making contemporary and emerging physics ideas available to all teachers in Virginia
The panel saw evidence of the K-12 world being isolated from the contemporary world of work and research and was made anecdotally aware of teachers with less than minimal qualifications in coursework background. The resulting conclusion was that a reliable, timely, and easily available content source must be provided for all teachers. Because of delays involved with getting new material identified, published, and approved through traditional textbooks, the panels recommended that the Department of Education support an open-collaborative software “Wiki.” The Wiki would be open to all physics and chemistry teachers to post curriculum they developed and taught. It would focus particularly on contemporary and emerging content. After teaching a lesson, the teacher could add notes or suggestions on the Wiki, thus continuously improving its content. This would also enable a virtual learning community of K-12 teachers from throughout the Commonwealth.
Making laboratory activities that employ industry state-of-the-practice equipment available to all teachers
The FlexBook laboratory chapters are addressed to three audiences:
- Teachers who have little or no experience with labs
- Teachers who teach labs but may be using obsolete equipment and technology
- Teachers who would like to use the FlexBook labs as a jumping-off point in developing their own labs
For the first group of teachers, some of whom have limited experience and proficiency in lab science in general or physics labs in particular, the FlexBook write-ups should provide equipment lists and cookbook instruction. This will at least provide for some hands-on work with state-of-the-practice technology.
The second group of teachers will be introduced to new equipment manufacturers and taught how to incorporate state-of-the-practice technology into engaging physics laboratories.
The third group of teachers may find some of the equipment and its capabilities to be new and can use this information to develop their own labs with more advanced technology.