GIREP Conference Proceedings and Selected Contributions

Ostrava 2004

Proceedings of the GIREP Conference 2004


Barcelona 2000

Proceedings of the GIREP Conference 2000



This volume includes a selection of the contributions presented at the XVIII GIREP International Conference, held in Barcelona from the 27th of August to the 1st of September 2000, with the support of the ICPE (International Commission for Physics Education). The ICPE, a IUPAP (International Union of Pure and Applied Physics) Commission dedicated to education, and the GIREP (Groupe international de recherche sur l’enseignement de la physique). an association established more than 30 years ago by physicists interested in physics teaching, have been working closely together to support this biannual conference on physics education. The main topic of the Conference was Physics-Teacher Education, so its acronym was PHITEB (Physics Teacher Education Beyond 2000).

The PHITEB Conference aimed to create a favourable setting to bring together professionals from the fields of physics, physics education (at all levels) and physics-teacher education. The opportunity to dialogue and exchange ideas about physics teacher education according to the present state of physics and to the current research in science education was extraordinarily fruitful for the more th of the Conference, the specialists attending were from both nearby and faraway places, not only in a geographical sense (figure 1). but in a cultural one as well. In thisvolume, three types of contributions can be found:

– Research results on Physics Education/ Didactics. Very accurate studies were presented.

– Descriptions of some implementations or successful class sessions. All of them could provide suggestions that are interesting to be applied because of their innovative conceptual point of view,their working methods, the materials used, etc.

– Reflections or proposals based on the history of science, philosophy, psychology, sociology and other related fields of knowledge could be followed.

During the Conference 318 contributions have been presented by the 420 participants, from 52 countries all over the world.

The texts corresponding to 8 plenary lectures and the arguments presented in 3 central round tables -all given by experts in Physics Education Research – can be found in this volume. A selection of the computer sessions (19 Computer displays). exhibitions (2). workshops (4) and activities with the participant’s involvement, discussions, etc. that took place in the mornings, as well a selection from the poster sessions (72 posters) are also included in the volume.

A choice, according to two referee views, of the communications from the parallel sessions and symposia (6 Symposia, 155 Long Contributions and 38 Short talks), all gathered in the schedule in accordance with the affinity of the topics, constitutes the largest part of the volume.

The XVIII GIREP International conference “Physics Teacher Education Beyond 2000” was jointly organized by the Science Education Department and the Physics Department of theUniversitat Autonoma de Barcelona.

Organizers would like to thank all the participants in the Conference for their attendance, the presentation of their work and their daily effort to improve Physics Education. The editors hope that this volume will be a positive contribution to those working within the many and varied ambits of Physics Education.

Roser Pinto

Science Education Department Universitat Autonorha de Barcelona 

Santiago Surinach Physics Department Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona

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Duinsburg 1998

Proceedings of the GIREP-ICPE International Conference



In August 1998 the Gerhard-Mercator University of Duisburg, Germany, had the great honour to welcome the participants ofthe annual meeting ofthe two associations
• girep (Groupe International de Recherche sur l’Enseignement de la Physique) and
• JCPE (The International Commission on Physics Education of I.UP.AP., the

International Union of Pure and Applied Physics).

The topic of this international conference was “Hands On-Experiments in Physics Education” (originally a conference on the subject: “Toys in Physics Teaching” was already proposed by Mr. Ucke in 1992. Finally the topic was extended). More than 370 scientists, teachers and students from all over the world came to present and to learn about how physics can be tought using experiments. Especially those experiments were regarded, which can be performed without a large amount of material, time and money.

Important steps towards the attainment of a general education in sciences are looking at something, thinking about it and working with it. Simple, easily performable hands-on experiments are a valuable help in encouraging these steps. Especially physics lessons in school and at the university, but also Science Centers, museums and media institutions, such as television, can make use of hands-on-experiments; frequently they can also serve as an alternative to traditional lessons. In demonstrations or practical training hands-on experiments form a sort of counterbalance to complicated experiments. They are usually easy, cheap and able to be performed quickly. They stimulate creativity and improvisation. Even in the computer age hands-on experiments via computer are possible when, for example, with few resources a sensor with a simple interface is connected to the computer. Low-cost experiments are closely connected to this theme. In addition, more demanding hands-on experiments for advanced students are also conceivable if a researcher prepares a demonstration for a lecture using only a few of the materials available to him from his highly equipped lab.

It was the goal of the conference to present hands-on experiments in various categories as well as to show how these can promote the educational and learning processes and be brought into a balanced relationship with other learning aspects.

Physics toys should be regarded as closely connected to hands-on experiments. They form a natural reservoir ofexperiences for children- and also for adults. They come from a long tradition (tops, cartesian divers, soap bubbles, optical toys) and also present modem aspects

(memory alloys, holograms, liquid crystals, modem magnets, etc.) For all levels of experience with physics (nursery school, school, university, etc.) there are fitting toys which can serve as motivation vehicles for further questions. In addition to hands-on experiments, the conference also covered the meaningful inclusion of the possibilities offered through toys in the entire learning context.

Lectures and discussions by and with established experts were performed. Experimental and theoretical short lectures, posters, video presentations, workshops, exhibitions of equipment and literature completed the program.

The main groups the conference was aimed at are physics teachers and didactics from highly industrialized countries, where there is a danger of forgetting simple methods, and especially those from developing countries, where many hands-on experiments and toys can be constructed with simple, locally available resources. Co-operation with various institutions (schools, universities, media institutions) should be promoted. A distant goal is the development of a network through which a collection of hands-on experiments can be made available to anyone interested.

We would like to thank all the authors for their contributions to this book, which is also available as a CD-ROM. The CD version contains the same text as this printed one, but in some cases slightly more image material, coloured images, sound or movie files.

All manuscripts have been printed as they were received with a few minor editorial changes, which sometimes were necessary due to technical reasons.

March 1999

The editors

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Ljubljana 1996

Proceedings of the GIREP-ICPE International Conference



The title of the 16. GIREP conference NEW WAYS IN TEACHING PHYSICS -computers, interfacing, networking – was proposed by the Slovene participants at the GIREP conference in Braga, Portugal in the year 1993 because Slovenia was quite active on this field, and it was accepted by the GIREP assembly. The topics included interactive teaching, hypertext and multimedia, simulations and animations, sensors for measuring different physical quantities, computer based hands-on experiments, interactive video, computer networks as means for direct communication between teachers and students around the world, world-wide organised lab and school investigations etc. Also, new didactic approaches were presented and discussed.

The conference brought together scientists, researchers in education, teachers from schools and universities as well as creators of didactical computer software and computer based laboratory in a common effort to get an overview of the new technology and to discuss its use in school, to learn and discuss new didactic approaches and new demands for the pre-service and inservice education of physics’ teachers etc.

The structure of the conference is seen from the program. Each morning there were plenary lectures and poster&exhibition session. After lunch, participants worked in paralel workshops, panel sessions and show&tell sessions with many short presentations On Saturday, two panel discussions were organised. The Proceedings try to follow this structure.

Among 270 participants from 33 countries, more than half were actively involved in the conference. More than one third of them were GIREP members or became members during the conference. Most participants were from European countries (70 from Slovenia, 38 from Italy, 22 from Germany, 12 to 13 from Austria, from Greece, from Great Britain and from Poland etc) Among non-European participants, 7 came from USA, 3 from Japan etc.

In preparing the conference, great help was given by the ICPE – IUPAP with seed money 3 months in advance. Most financial help came from the Slovene Ministry of education and sport. GIREP committee who had a meeting in Ljubljana in February 1996 helped to organise the conference structure, and its president Karl Luchner was most helpful all the time Faculty of Education where the conference took place was responsible for room and equipment, and Board of Education for accommodation and transfer. I would like to thank the lecturers, panel discussion leaders Paul Black and Ulrich Harms and leaders of panel sessions who were very patient and of much help.

At the end, I would especially like to thank the key persons without whom the conference would not be possible. Slavko Kocijancic from Faculty of Education was responsible for the conference home page on the www page which then turned to GIREP home page where links to abstracts from Udine and Ljubljana can be found. He also took care of computer and technical equipment. Jelka Arh from Ministry of Education took care of the financial side. Jelena Mihevc from Ministry of Education looked after the welfare of the participants. Marko Munih prepared the computer data-basis and in the end collected all contributions and put together this book.

Ljubljana, May 1997

Seta Oblak

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