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Selected Presentations

This is a summary of selected presentations I have given recently and will be happy to present again:

The High Cost of Science Disengagement of Canadian Youth: Reimagining Physics Teacher Education for 21st Century. Canadian Association of Physicists Annual Congress, Sudbury Ontario, June 16-21, 2014. To download the presentation click here: CAP2014_InvitedMilnerBolotin

Teaching Conceptual Science with Technology. Invited talk at the Surrey Science Teachers’ Association Convention, May 2, 2014, Panorama Ridge Secondary School, Surrey, BC. To download the presentation click here: Presentation_STA_Milner-Bolotin_May2_2014

Using educational technologies to promote inquiry and the nature of science in physics teacher education. Paper presented at the Korean Association for Science Education International Conference, Daegu University at Gyeongsan, Gyeongbuk, Korea. February 14, 2014. To download the presentation click here: Using Educational Technologies to Promote Inquiry and the Nature of Science in Physics Teacher Education

– When Deeper Conceptual Understanding is Just One Click Away: Using Technology-Enhanced Formative Assessment to Promote Physics Teacher-Candidates’ Pedagogical Content Knowledge.

Presented at the International Conference of the International Association of Educational Assessment in Tel Aviv, Israel, October 20-25, 2013. The presentation focused on modeling formative assessment in physics teacher education and on the impact of this modeling on their pedagogical content knowledge and views about active learning.

-Using Technology for Conceptual Learning in Physics Teacher-Education: Engaging Teacher Candidates as Learners and Teachers. My graduate students (Alexandra MacDonald and Heather Fisher) presented this paper at the International Perspectives on Technology-Enhanced Learning: Lessons, Challenges and Possibilities, Vancouver, BC, Canada (July 2013). The paper focused on the use of technology in science teacher education. Click here to download the paper.

– An International Study of Technology Use in Mathematics and Science Teacher Education. My colleagues Jeongho Daniel Cha, Svetlana Chachashvili-Bolotin and Latika Raisinghani presented it at the International Perspectives on Technology-Enhanced Learning: Lessons, Challenges and Possibilities, Vancouver, BC, Canada (July 2013). Click here to download the paper.

-Design, Implementation & Evaluation of Research-Based Resources in Secondary Science Teacher Education. My students (Alexandra MacDonald and Heather Fisher) and I presented this paper at the Canadian Society of Studies in Education Conference 2013, Victoria, BC, Canada.

– Exploring Extraordinary Science of Ordinary Things: Engaging teacher-candidates in science & mathematics learning through modern technologies. Paper presented at the Investigating Our Practices, The University of British Columbia, May 2013.

– Hands-on Science on a Shoe-String Budget: 10 science activities with a  One Dollar Bag of Magic Water Pearls
This presentation was given at BC Science Teachers’ Association Bi-Annual Meeting (Catalyst 2011). How much science can you do on a shoe-string budget?  If you have a $1 bag of water pearls, you can do quite a lot. In this workshop, the participants will explore 10 different hands-on activities – and all under $1. The activities will explore scaling, optics, water cycle, chemistry, etc. This presentation is based on my resent papers that appeared in 2012 issues of The Physics Teacher and The Science Teacher.

– Video-Based Motion Analysis for Classroom and Homework

This presentation was given at BC Science Teachers’ Association Bi-Annual Meeting (Catalyst 2011). It focused on using software like Logger Pro or Tracker Vide0-Based motion analysis and modeling system to analyze video clips. The following presentation will show how this powerful tool can change how you teach physics and how your student can learn it in a fun and meaningful way: Catalyst2011_Video Based Motion Analysis For Classroom and HW_Milner

– Electronic Response Systems in Science and Engineering Teaching: Using technology in High School and University classrooms

Electronic Response Systems (clickers) are gradually becoming a common attribute of science and engineering classrooms in secondary and post-secondary education. However, despite that, few teachers use clickers effectively, forgetting that an Electronic Response System, as any other technology is just a tool that has to be mastered by the teacher. Thus clickers are often misused and produce opposite effect making students and teachers want to turn away from this technology. This presentation describes a number of case studies, illustration implementations of the clicker-based pedagogy in a large first year university physics course, as well as in a small second year physics course. In both courses, clicker-based pedagogy was effective in terms of student cognitive and affective outcomes, as well as in terms of its reliability and easiness of use. This presentation discusses the impact of the clicker-enhanced pedagogy on student physics learning and students’ interest and engagement. We also outline successful and not so successful strategies of clickers’ use in science classrooms. In addition, we shed some light on the students’ attitudes towards using clickers in upper level science courses and uncover challenges faced by the students and the instructors with regard to using this technology beyond the first year.

– Teachers’ Playground: Enhancing Teacher Professional Development through the Use of Technology

The second half of the 20th century has been marked by three major breakthroughs in science education. Firstly, the governments realized that science education has a significant impact on a competitiveness of a country on the global market, resulting in a substantial investment into science education (Sputnik era). Secondly, extensive research into student conceptual difficulties resulted in a creation of easy-to-administer instruments for measuring science learning. This development allowed thousands of science teachers all over the world to measure objectively student learning and share their results with each other. Moreover, it also dispelled the myth that rote memorization leads to conceptual learning. Thirdly, the last three decades of the 20th century brought an exponential growth of novel computer-based educational tools ranging from computer simulations, online interactive problem-solving systems, micro-computer-based labs, tablet technologies, electronic response systems, vast online resources, etc. The research on the effectiveness of these technologies shows that in the hands of knowledgeable teachers, these tools have a potential of helping students to develop critical thinking skills crucial for modern society. Consequently, the beginning of the 21st century has been marked by an intensive exploration of the effective uses of these technologies and the ways of incorporating them into the training of science teachers. The goal of such teacher professional development activities is to motivate and equip the teachers into exploring the pedagogical uses of the current technologies as well as of the technologies to come. Nowadays, successful science teachers are the ones who possess not only the content and pedagogical knowledge of their subject but also understand how they can use available educational technologies to promote student learning. The exploration of the development of the elementary, high school, as well as university teachers’ technological-pedagogical content knowledge is the focus of my research and will be the theme of the current presentation.

– HP Mobile Science Lab: Using tablet computers to engage students in science learning (given as a presentation and as a workshop).

In 2008 we (my colleagues and I at the Department of Physics at Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada) have been recipients of the HP Educational Technology Grant ($77,000 US). As a result, we have experimented with various technologies such as Vernier sensors, clickers, Smart Board, various computer simulations, and now tablet computers. Thanks to the generous HP Educational Technology Initiative grant, we were able to create HP Mobile Physics Lab for Science students. The tablet technology was extensively used in two upper-level courses: Modern Physics (25+ students) and Electricity and Magnetism (40+ students). In the Modern Physics course the tablets were used both inside and outside of class. Tablets open new possibilities for student in-class collaboration, for open-ended continuous feedback, and for creating short video clips answering students’ questions. The talk discusses the advantages and limitations of in-class tablets use, the challenges we have encountered and how we addressed them. I will describe the effect of tablet PCs on students’ learning and course satisfaction and will discuss successful strategies for the HP Educational Technology Grant application.

This work is being supported by HP Innovations in Education Initiative.

– Physics for Architects: Design and Implementation of Innovative Physics Curricula

Although the majority of students in the introductory physics courses are not future physicists or engineers, physics curricula are still designed having future physicists in mind. Too often the range of topics and employed pedagogy, do not reflect students’ interests and aspirations, claiming that studying physics is going to be good for them. What if an introductory physics course is designed having real students (specifically future architects) in mind? The Physics for Architects course at Ryerson University is just that. The goal of the course is to help future architects understand basic physics principles important for architecture, such as elements of structural loads, vibrations and resonance, heat transfer, moisture in the air and water propagation through various media, optics and acoustics as applied to architectural design. The course culminated with a semester long project: a physics demonstration exhibit presented to the entire faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Science. The students also videotaped their projects and posted them on YouTube to share with the wider community.

– Interactive Lecture Experiments in a Science Class: Engaging students through live data collection and analysis

The role of physics demonstrations in undergraduate classroom cannot be overemphasized: inspiring students, arousing their curiosity, showing how physics applies to everyday life. However, students learn very little from traditional demos. Physics educators proposed different models of lecture demonstrations, i.e. Interactive Lecture Demonstrations (Sokoloff & Thornton, 2004). We suggest a different way of designing and implementing Interactive Lecture Experiments (ILE): the instructor poses a problem during the lecture asking students to predict an outcome of an experiment. Students work in small groups to figure out the prediction. Then the instructor conducts the experiment, while recording the results using the Logger Pro or a video camera. The results are shared with the students via a Course Management System and the students analyze them at home. The following class starts with the discussion of the analysis. This talk discusses the results of the implementation of the ILE and the impact of ILE-enhanced pedagogy on student affective and cognitive outcomes.

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