dit_logo_physics.png

clip_image002_000.jpg Physics Education Research Group

  • Dr Brian Bowe
  • Dr Robert Howard
  • Dr Laura Walsh
  • Mr Paul Irving
  • Dr Siobhan Daly
  • Dr Cathal Flynn

focas_350_002.jpg Associate Members

  • Dr John Thompson (University of Maine)
  • Dr Matthew Moelter (California Polytechnic State University)

For information, contact

Dr Brian Bowe
Head of Learning Development

College of Engineering and Built Environment
Dublin Institute of Technology
Bolton Street
Dublin 1
Email: brian.bowe@dit.ie
Tel: + 353 1 4023616
Fax: + 353 1 6767243

or

Dr. Robert Howard

Teaching Fellow

School of Physics

Dublin Institute of Technology

Kevin Steet

Dublin 8

Email: robert.howard@dit.ie
Tel: + 353 1 4024952
Fax: + 353 1 4024988

Introduction

Over the last few years there has been major shift from teacher centred-education to learner-centred. This has led to reflection on how students learn and how staff can facilitate and optimise that learning. In many instances physics educators at third level have ignored pedagogical research and assumed that traditional teaching and assessments strategies are effective. With changing student profiles and learning styles there has been a realisation that physics education must change if we are to adapt to students learning needs.

Industry has also stressed the importance of lifelong learning and the development of key skills, such as problem-solving, group, presentation and communication skills, and abilities such as critical analysis and self-directed learning. Under new quality assurance policies educational institutes have had to look at the effectiveness of education not in terms of the amount of content covered but how much the students have learned and retained. This has led to a re-think of what learning is and how it can be assessed and measured effectively. This is in turn has led to course evaluation in terms of students' learning experiences and not simply on how much the students were told.

Mission

To develop, implement and evaluate pedagogical innovations in physics education and to undertake research that informs all pedagogical developments in order to enhance student learning.

In the Physics Education Research Group the main areas of research are the development of new and appropriate teaching and assessment strategies, studies of student learning and understanding, evaluation of the effectiveness of different learning resources and teaching methodologies and the development of learning resources to enhance student learning.

Pedagogical Developments

  • Problem-based learning
  • Project-based learning
  • Peer-tutoring
  • Group learning
  • eLearning

Research Areas

  • Evaluation of pedagogical initiatives
  • Student conceptual understanding and problem-solving skills
  • Relationship between conceptual understanding and problem-solving skills
  • Lecturers’ conceptions of learning and teaching
  • Group dynamics

Research Methodologies

  • Evaluative research
  • Collaborative action research
  • Phenomenology
  • Phenomenography

Current Education Research Projects

  • A relational phenomenographic study of group learning and its effects on the development of conceptual understanding and problem-solving skills in physics education - Paul Irving (PhD Student)
  • The Implementation and Evaluation of Peer Instruction in a First Year Science course using a Classroom Response System - PERG
  • Phenomenological Study of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Research - PERG

Completed Education Research Projects

  • A Phenomenographic Study of Introductory Physics Students: Approaches to Problem Solving and Conceptualisation of Knowledge   - Dr Laura Walsh

Consultancy

The Physics Education Research Group currently acts as consultant to other third level institutes and Universities, both in Ireland and Internationally with regard to the development of problem-based learning courses and education research.

Recent Publications/Conferences

Invited Speaker

Bowe, B., (2004) Problem-based Learning in Physics Education, National American Physics Society Conference, Montreal, Canada, March 22-26.

Book Chapters:

Bowe, B., (2007), Managing the Change from Traditional Teaching to Problem-based Learning in Physics Education, in Management of Change: Implementation of Problem Based and Project Based Learning in Engineering, edited by A. Kolmos, and E. de Graff, Rotterdam, Sense Publishers.

Bowe, B., (2005), Assessing problem-based learning: A case study of a physics problem-based learning course, in A handbook of enquiry and problem-based learning in higher education: Irish case studies and international perspectives, edited by T. Barrett, I. Labhrainn and H. Fallon, AISHE and CELT, NUI Galway, pg 113 – 112.

Bowe, B., Flynn, C, Howard, R., & Daly, S. (2005), Problem-based Learning Physics Course in the Dublin Institute of Technology,. PossiBiLities – a Practice Guide to Problem-based Learning in Physics and Astronomy. Higher Education Academy (HEA), Physics Science Centre, Hull.

Bowe, B. and Cowan, J., (2004), A comparative evaluation of problem-based learning in physics: A lecture-based course and a problem-based course, in Challenging Research into Problem-based Learning, Edited by Savin-Baden, M. and Wilkie, K., SHRE / Open University Press, pg 161 – 173.

 

Journal Publications:

Walsh, L.N., Howard, R.G. & Bowe, B. (2007), Phenomenographic study of students’ problem solving approaches in physics, Phys. Rev. S T  Phys. Educ. Res. 1, 020108.

Bowe, B., Flynn, C, Howard, R., & Daly, S. (2003), Teaching physics to engineering students using problem-based learning International Journal of Engineering Education,19 (5),742-746.

Conference Proceedings:

 

Irving, P., Howard, R.G. & Bowe., (2009), The relationship between students’ behaviour in problem-based learning groups and the development of conceptual understanding, FISER ’09 Frontiers in Science Education Research, Famagusta, Cyprus, March 22 – 24th.

Walsh, L.N, Howard, R.G. & Bowe, B., (2006), A phenomenographic study of conceptual knowledge and its relationship to problem-solving ability in physics, in Conference proceedings, Australian Institute of Physics, 17th National Congress, December 3 –8.

Walsh, L.N., Howard, R.G., Harvey, J. & Bowe, B. (2005), Investigation of the Relationship between Students Conceptual Understanding and Problem Solving Skills in Optics, in SPIE Conference Proceedings, Education Conference at OPTO-Ireland 2005.

 

Bowe B., Daly S., Flynn C., Howard R., “Problem-based Learning: An Approach to Enhancing Learning and Understanding of Optics for First Year Students”, SPIE Conference Proceedings, OPTO-Ireland, Galway, September 2002.

Ravenscroft, A., E. Baur, J. Harvey, B. Bowe, M. Somer & B. Galabov. (2002). Putting the Learning into eLearning: Developing Online Communities of Practice for School-Based Education, Paper CAL '03: 21st Century Learning, Queens University, Belfast, 8-10 April 2003, UK.

Bowe B., 'Physics through Problem-based Learning', 1st Annual Teaching & Learning Conference, Project and Problem Based Learning in Higher Education, Galway June 2003.

Conference Presentations:

 

Walsh, L.N., Howard, R.G. & Bowe, B., (2009), A Phenomenographic Study of Introductory Physics Students: Approaches to Problem Solving and Conceptualisation of Knowledge, FISER ’09 Frontiers in Science Education Research, Famagusta, Cyprus, March 22 – 24th.

Walsh, L.N., Howard, R.G. & Bowe, B., (2008), A phenomenographic study of the development of conceptual knowledge and its relationship with problem solving in physics, EARLI SIG 9 workshop, Kristianstad, Sweden, May 21 – 24th.

Irving, P, Walsh, L.N., Howard, R.G. & Bowe, B., (2007), Implementing Physics Education Research to Inform and Enhance Pedagogical Approaches, AAPT – American Association of Physics Teachers Summer meeting, North Carolina, USA, July 30 – August 1st.

Bowe, B. (2006), A phenomenographic study of physics lecturers’ conceptions of teaching and learning, Physics Higher Education Conference, University of Leicester, September 7 –8.

Bowe, B. (2006), Assessing individuals with a group learning environment Physics Higher Education Conference, University of Leicester, September 7 –8.

Howard, R.G., Walsh, L.N., Bowe, B., (2006), A phenomenographic study of conceptual knowledge and its relationship to problem-solving ability in physics, Physics Higher Education Conference, University of Leicester, September 7 –8.

Walsh, L.N., Howard, R., Harvey, J. and Bowe, B. (2005), Are physics students developing the conceptual understanding necessary to become adept problem-solvers?, Physics Higher Education Conference, University of Leicester, September 7 –9.

Walsh, L.N., Howard, R., Harvey, J. and Bowe, B. (2005), Investigation of the Relationship between Students Conceptual Understanding and Problem Solving Skills in Optics. Education Conference at OPTO-Ireland 2005, Dublin, Ireland, April 4-6.

Bowe, B. (2004) The Suitability of PBL in Physics Education, PBL – A Quality Experience?, Salford, UK, September 15 – 17.

Bowe, B (2004) The Development, Implementation and Evaluation of a Problem-based Learning Course, PBL International Conference, Cancun, Mexico, June 13-19.

Bowe, B (2004) The Role of the PBL Co-ordinator, PBL 2004 International Conference, Cancun, Mexico, June 13-19.

Nugent, P Walsh, L., Bowe, B. Harvey, J., Horan, P. Flynn, C., (2004) Launch of the new STAR Physics site: at Sharing Science Key Players’ Conference on Thursday 25th March  in the Institute of Technology, Dundalk. The conference hosted by the Irish Science Teachers’ Association, the Association for Science Education Northern Ireland Region and the Science Advisors’ Group, Education and Library Boards, Northern Ireland.

Bowe B., ‘Designing a Problem-Based Learning Curriculum’, DIT Learning and Teaching Innovations Day, May, 2003.

Walsh L.N., Bowe B, Horan P, Flynn C, School of Physics, Harvey J.,  Distance Education Department,

Dublin Institute of Technology, Palmer M, IADT Dun Laoghaire, (2003) “Minerva project - The development and implementation of an online physics resource for Irish physics teachers.” DIT Learning and Teaching Innovations Day, May.

Horan P, Bowe B, Flynn C, Walsh L, School of Physics, Harvey J, Distance Education Department, Dublin Institute of Technology, Palmer M, IADT Dun Laoghaire, (2003) “Using an action research approach to create an online portal for physics teachers” Education Technology Conference, Waterford, May.

Bowe B., (2002),‘Evaluation of the First Year PBL Physics Approach', DIT Learning and Teaching Innovations Day, May.

Bowe B., (2002), "No More Lectures? - Physics Through Problem-based Learning", RIA Conference, Teaching Physics at First Year Level", Dublin, May.

Bowe B., Flynn C., Howard R., Daly S., (2002)‘Teaching First Year Physics Using Problem Based Learning’, UK Learning and Teaching Support Network, Problem-Based Learning in Physics Workshop, University of Leicester, January.

Bowe B., (2001) ‘Development and Using an Online Resource to Support Student Learning’, DIT E-Learning Innovations Conference, November.

Bowe B., (2001) ‘Teaching Physics Using Problem Based Learning’, IOP / Physics Discipline Network Conference “The Future of the Physics Degree and Innovations in Teaching and Learning” University of Leeds, September.

Bowe B., (2001) ‘Assessment in Problem-Based Learning Curricula’, DIT Learning and Teaching Innovations Day, May.

Bowe B., (2000) ‘My Experience of Problem-based Learning’, DIT Learning and Teaching Innovations Day, May.

Conference Poster Presentations:

Walsh, L.N., Howard, R., Harvey, J. & Bowe, B. (2006), Development of conceptual knowledge its relationship with problem solving ability, Institute of Physics Spring Weekend, Donegal, Ireland, March 31st – April 2nd.

Walsh L.N., Howard, R.G. & Bowe, B., (2005), Investigation of the relationship between conceptual understanding and quantitative problem-solving in Physics, Foundations and Frontiers of Physics Education Research, Bar Harbor, Maine, August 15 -19th.

Walsh, L.N., Howard, R., Harvey, J. & Bowe, B. (2005), Investigation of the Relationship between Students Conceptual Understanding and Problem Solving Skills in Mechanics. Institute of Physics Spring Weekend, Kildare, Ireland, March 19.

 

Walsh, L., Bowe, B. Harvey, J., Horan & P. Flynn, C., (2004) ‘STAR Physics: The development and implementation of an online physics resource for Irish physics teachers’ Poster presentation at International Conference “Securing the foundations of Ireland’s knowledge-based economy: Science and Mathematics Education for the new century”

Walsh L, B. Bowe, S. Daly, C. Flynn, R. Howard, C. Hayden, “Development of a Problem-Based Learning Course Curriculum Design Process with Integrated Online Resources” IOP Spring weekend, Westport, April 2003.