3:30 pm - 5:00 pm, Wednesday, August 1
Bridging Session: Invited Talks & Panel Discussion
Where : Sheraton Hotel, Grand Over East
Discussant : Chandralekha Singh, University of Pittsburgh
3:30-4:00 Janet Kolodner, Georgia Tech
Making Physics Learning Inviting - A View from Cognitive Science
Abstract: It's hard to learn physics, and it is not always clear to students why they should want to learn. In the past dozen years, my research group and I have been using foundations from cognitive science to create an approach to science education for middle schoolers called Learning by Design (LBD) that (1) fosters excited engagement through a context of design, (2) fosters establishment and sustainment of a culture of participation in rigorous science thinking and collaborative meaning making through "launcher" activities that introduce scientific practices and their value, (3) fosters competence in scientific reasoning through repeated deliberative and public practice of such reasoning in contexts of interest created through the design challenge, and (4) fosters deep understanding of underlying science through repeated application of the science in more and more difficult contexts. We began with the cognitive model inspired by case-based reasoning as our guide, but we soon found the need to bring in findings from socio-cognitive and cultural-historical approaches to learning as well. While design has many affordances for such learning, we have recently been learning how to apply LBD's foundations more broadly to project-based science. Guidelines from LBD form a foundational core for a 3-year comprehensive middle-school science curriculum called Project-Based Inquiry Science that will be published and broadly available for upcoming school years.
4:00-4:30 Brian Ross, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Problem Solving and Learning for Physics Education [Click on title for Powerpoint Presentation]
Abstract: Much research has been conducted in cognitive science that might be applicable to physics education. I will focus on some general principles of problem solving and learning, as well as a number of basic findings and their implications, including the improvement of problem solving. The areas of research to be discussed include the use of examples and analogies, the learning of abstract knowledge, the role of explanations, and schemas. In addition, I will review some different methodologies that might be useful for examining the learning of physics.
4:30-5:00 Laura Schulz, MIT
Naive Physics/Savvy Science: Causal Learning in Very Young Children ... and the Rest of Us s [Click on title for PDF Presentation]
Abstract: Considerable evidence suggest that children (and adults') understanding of particular physical mechanisms is impoverished. Moreover, children are poor at designing informative experiments and there has been little evidence for any systematic patterns in children's spontaneous exploratory play. Nonetheless, children understand a remarkable amount about the causal structure of the world by age five. Here I will suggest some processes that might support such rapid and accurate causal learning. In particular, I suggest that children, like scientists, assess the causal structure of events by jointly integrating the statistical evidence they observe with their prior causal beliefs. Additionally, I will suggest that children systematically engage in more exploration when the interpretation of evidence is uncertain, thus they tend to isolate relevant variables and spontaneously generate informative evidence. Finally however, I will suggest that the same processes that support rapid, accurate induction from minimal data make children's (and adults') causal beliefs resistant to potential counter-evidence.
5:00-5:30 Panel Discussion
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm, Wednesday, August 1
Where : Sheraton Hotel, Grand Over East
Presider : Steve Kanim, New Mexico State University
Art Kramer, Beckman Institute, University of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignCognitive Neuroscience Explorations of Cognitive Plasticity & Human Performance
Abstract: My presentation will illustrate the application of a variety of methodological techniques from the field of Cognitive Neuroscience to the study of cognitive plasticity and human performance. Projects that will be discussed address some of the following questions: (1) Can improvements in physical fitness prompt beneficial changes in brain structure, brain function and cognition?, (2) Can older brains be improved through computer-based cognitive training – with well controlled cognitive paradigms, video games or community-based interventions?, (3) To what extent can knowledge of scan strategies provide insights into individual’s strategies and cognitive processes as they performing complex search tasks? Techniques such as event-related brain potentials, functional magnetic resonance imaging, near infrared optical imaging, and eye tracking provide much of the data obtained to explore the issues and questions above.
10:00 am - 12:00 pm, Thursday, August 2
Invited Talks & Panel Discussion
Where : Sheraton Hotel, Blue Ashe
Discussant : Michael Loverude, California State University Fullerton
10:00-10:30 Bruce Sherin, Northwestern University
Cognitive Science: The Science of the (Nearly) Obvious [Click on title for PDF Presentation]
Abstract: Cognitive Science can be thought of as the science of the (nearly) obvious. Part of the business of Cognitive Science is to identify knowledge we possess that is “obvious” in the sense that just about every individual possesses it. But much of this knowledge is only “nearly” obvious because we are not aware that we possess it, and because it corresponds to ideas for which we have no name. Among cognitive scientists, this nearly obvious knowledge is sometimes called implicit or tacit knowledge. The purpose of this talk will be to present a map of some of the nearly obvious knowledge possessed by all physicists and most successful students. I will describe the nearly obvious elements of knowledge that every physicist possesses, but for which we have no names, and of which we are not aware.
10:30-11:00 Timothy Nokes, University of Pittsburgh
Facilitating Conceptual Learning Through Analogy and Explanation [Click on title for Powerpoint Presentation]
Abstract: Research in cognitive science has shown that students typically have a difficult time acquiring deep conceptual understanding in domains like mathematics and physics and often rely on textbook examples to solve new problems. Although using prior examples facilitates student learning they often can only use that knowledge on very similar problems. One reason students rely so heavily on using prior examples is that they lack a deep understanding for how the principles are instantiated in the examples. In this talk I will present research aimed at helping students learn the relations between principles and examples through generating explanations and making analogies. I will discuss the impact of these activities on what is learned and to what situations that knowledge transfers.
11:00-11:30 Dan Schwartz, Stanford University
Socializing Learning and Transfer [Click on title for Powerpoint Presentation]
Abstract: This presentation will consider the unique benefits of social interaction for learning and transfer. It will demonstrate that the mere belief of a social interaction improves learning, even when interactions are held constant in social and non-social conditions. It will also demonstrate that social interaction, under conditions of innovation but not efficiency, improves student preparation for future learning. Finally, it will describe a technology called, Teachable Agents, where students teach computer agents to solve problems. Learning outcomes indicate that the software captures some of the benefits of social interaction for learning.
11:30-12:00 Panel Discussion
PERC 2007 Organizing Committee
PERC 2007 Webmaster
|Steve Kanim||N. Sanjay Rebello|
|Department of Physics, MSC 3D||Department of Physics|
|New Mexico State University||Kansas State University|
|PO Box 30001||116 Cardwell Hall|
|Las Cruces, NM 88003-8001||(785) 532-1539 office|
|(505) 646-1208 office||(785) 532-6806 fax|
|(505) 646-1934 email@example.com|
PERC 2007 Advisors
|Michael Loverude||David Hammer|
|Department of Physics, MH-611||Department of Physics|
|California State University Fullerton||University of Maryland, College Park|
|Fullerton, CA 92834||Physics 310|
|(714) 278-2270 office||(301) 405-8188 office|
|(714) 278-5810 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Chandralekha Singh||Jose Mestre|
|Department of Physics & Astronomy||Department of Physics|
|University of Pittsburgh||University of Illinois Urbana Champaign|
|Pittsburgh, PA 15260||1110 W. Green Street|
|(412) 624-9045 office||Urbana, IL 61801-3080|
|(412) 624-9163 fax||217-333-0098|