AfroPhysics/Project Planning/Uganda/Good Ideas2

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Please continue here with your next good ideas!--White Eagle 10:49, 15 October 2008 (UTC)

12) One-computer classroom

Another idea could be how best to use ICT resources such as simulations to teach physics and the associated pedagogies in say the most common "one-computer classroom".
Many schools are acquiring these resources but in many cases they remain largely unused so are Internet resources. --Vkizza 17:30, 16 October 2008 (UTC)

These "one-computer classrooms", do they have internet access? Dial-up? --White Eagle 07:24, 17 October 2008 (UTC)

Yes! There is usually an LCD projector,and the one computer that the teachers uses.! Another one Gunther,at my school,and many others for that matter,there are about 25 computers but because of the rampant power cuts,the class is more often than not reduced to a "one-computer class",because the school has a small generator that can only power one computer or two and a projector,which the teacher uses in this situation. Also I sometimes use this conviniently because,then students are easier to control since I am again the "centre of attention" when their computers are off! --Vkizza 15:10, 20 October 2008 (UTC)

Fine. I think I like these "one-computer-classes". In my school, there is a new building under way and there we'll have one computer per classroom too. And with and LCD projector, it makes sense for tuition. But may I interpret your statement in the way that in some modern secondary schools in Uganda such equipment is available (like yours)?--White Eagle 09:21, 21 October 2008 (UTC)
Schools which have these convertible facilities(labs)are indeed very few country wide. Usually the top schools such as Gayaza High school. Just have a look at the arrangement.--Vkizza 12:03, 21 October 2008 (UTC)


Hi Vincent, thanks for the picture from your school lab. It is the equipment we have already in some of our classrooms, and will have in all of the new ones. I can understand your interest in pedagogics for this. Here in Bavaria there is no standard answer to this question. Every teacher uses it in the way he likes to. Some use Moodle in computer science, in Physics we mostly use on-line simulations. Example: Now in my grade 12 course I do Millikan, and use a nice simulation for that, written by a German author. See [1].
But my question: Shall we work much on this topic, given that only very few schools in your country would benefit from it? I'd propose to just open up a simple commented link-list, and people can add what they find worthy.
BTW, I hope I'm not too indiscreet telling you that the home page of your school is quite disappointing. []
This is probably due to the fact that there is no big need for it. The page of my school (I didn't yet contribute anything so I don't say it to boast) has several hundred thousands of visits each year:[2].--White Eagle 08:37, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
True,our school page is most disappointing. Partly, this is because it is no one's project and so far is not perceived as a thing that can serve a particular useful purpose...I have a different view the problem has just been time...BTW,a teacher here has a weekly load of 24 lessons. How does that compare in Bavaria?--Vkizza 05:41, 23 October 2008 (UTC)
Hi Vincent, 24 lessons a 45 Minutes for a Math/Phys teacher in Bavaria. Home page: Our informatics teachers have programmed parts of the school home page together with their students. How about if I ask them if they could help you with yours? Could be a nice leaning project for our students too!--Günther Osswald 13:54, 24 October 2008 (UTC)

13) Teacher motivation

We should also consider what i can call "teacher related" causes of bad physics teaching such as :-

  • When the teacher is under stress including one from other sources other than school stress e.g domestic related or disciplined students....
  • Low motivation,such as from such things as poor pay. Just how should an educator cope so as not to affect student learning?!! Can someone get resources in this respect?

Pkato 17:28, 18 October 2008 (UTC)

Hi Peter, thanks for this input. How about if you make a list of such hindering factors? And then we try to find out about which points we can do something about, and which we have to simply accept. And then try to write a positive list too: Which factors are likely to rise the motivation of the teacher ...
In my experience, good tuition is formed by millions of different influences. In my first years I suffered a lot from indisciplined students. I had to educe my personality and my didactics to overcome this. I think the work in a teachers platform like ours is a good instrument for personal development.
About remuneration: We have a kickoff funding for this project here. Vincent has the details. --White Eagle 09:33, 21 October 2008 (UTC)

The more I come to think of it,the more realize that the problems of physics teaching are more teacher related than any other!!Lack of preparation/planning,..theoretical exposition...lack of innovation..etc Last week I came across a resource on the Internet([3]),for dissecting the eye of a cow so as to examine the internal parts!...the lens...cornea...screla..etc. and I did it practically with my students in a physics lesson..(the eye as an optical instrument!)the result? I have never seen my students so involved...I too (the teacher)was suprised and seeing these things for the first time in my life!!! One student remarked that ..."I felt like a real scientist while doing the dissection!"--Pkato 06:17, 23 October 2008 (UTC)

Hey, Peter, this is beautiful! I've never heard of that before. I'll ask our biology teachers if they know! Could you please give details on that project! I think we should write a list of good projects with lesson plans. --Günther Osswald 13:59, 24 October 2008 (UTC)

14) Ugandan curriculum outdated

My view is that the entire Ugandan curriculum,in particular the physics one is outdated,extremely large/big and out of touch with current global realities. Take for instance where it misses out on the whole topic of electronics(more so in this era of digital electronics!!)and includes only stuff up to the diode and nothing about logic circuits. Also completely nothing on astronomy as if we are training Ugandans only for the Ugandan market! So one practical way forward would be how to create a forum where we can talk to curriculum developers and also see how other people do it in other countries.--Jlubega 17:09, 20 October 2008 (UTC)

Hi Joseph, welcome to this new platform for physics teachers! May it comfort you a little that electronics in the Bavarian curriculum plays a marginal role too? But of course, you're right, and our curriculum is not up to date neither. But what does that mean for our work here in WE? Do you propose we should begin working on digital electronics? I think for influence on the curriculum: We are building up such a forum for physics teachers in Uganda, and the more members we have, the more influence we'll gain and the more we'll be taken serious by official educational planners. Yeah, astronomy, I'd like to work on this myself as I love astronomy since I'm a youngster. I had this theme up with Vincent already and we say that we'd wait with that still and concentrate on those things that are more in the core of the given curriculum. In order to gain importance. Here in Bavaria, astronomy is obligatory in grade 10 (astronomy) and optional in grade 12 (astrophysics, one year!).--White Eagle 10:07, 21 October 2008 (UTC)

15) Pedagogics for big classes: student centered tuition

Florence stated, see good idea nr. 9., that her 3 classes have 67 to 74 students. I know a bit what she's talking about as I was once teaching in the Philippines where I had 56 in one of the classes, and this I found a lot, as we in Bavaria/Germany have a maximum of around 34. Teachers here say, that 34 is too much, and that one can not properly educate the children with these masses. What then will you say in Uganda? Now, don't let us complain, thats of no use. But find out, what didactics (pedagogics) we can use to educate well.

My input: Let us get away from the old fashioned concept that only the teacher is the one who knows and the students are ignorant. (I tell you my little daughter with her 2 years, she is s o intelligent! She knows how to reach her aims!) Let us create an atmosphere of student participation in our classrooms, where the students take over responsibility and work for their own education and the one of their classmates. There are numerous methods to get students to become teachers, one famous is Learning by teaching.

In my own experience, the simplest way is group work. Precondition: written materials. One set for each group. After a short introduction to the subject at the blackboard, groups of about 4 students are being formed. Together they solve the given problems. The teacher walks around and facilitates. At the end a presentation of the solutions by the students themselves, the teacher acts as the one who gives reliability. But really, I know of some more methods. Another one is called "learning stations". A carousel of stations in the classroom where certain works have to be accomplished. If you once have produced the materials, they can be used over and over again. (And where to produce them? WE!  :-) ). Or simply "free activities": The problems are written on file cards, the solution on the back. Students go and fetch a card, work it through and give it back. Good training method. The file cards are produced collectively by the teachers. And the best: Such cards already exist in the internet, they only have to be chosen and printed....--White Eagle 09:09, 21 October 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for these introductions to these pedagogies,they really look insightful.However I am not quite sure I understand the difference between group work(that seems more attractive to me) and the learning stations. I am really convinced we are going to achieve a lot in this project. How I would want all physics teachers to be involved! Do you know of any Internet link to these cards please?

--WikiFlora 12:17, 21 October 2008 (UTC)

Hi Florence, just call me Günther. Learning stations are stations in the classroom where certain problems have to be solved, either calculations or practical hands-on experiments. The class is divided in groups that walk around in a carousel. Each group reaches each station once. With group work its simpler because every group stays at its place. I can tell you from my experience, this is a v e r y powerful method. There were times when I did 50% of my teaching in maths by group work. In Physics I don't use it so much, but alway the last 2 lessons before an exam. Its ideal for repetition and training. If you are interested, I'll write an article on it here in WE - as soon as I find the time. In respect to the cards: I only know of such materials in German. But I am sure, this i s a hot topic. I've put it on our list!--White Eagle 08:53, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
On Oct. 22 Vincent wrote in an email for me: "I am reading through the learning by teaching article and I am eager to use it shortly in class. Really innovative! How we rarely think about students as resources! I think this is a great mistake."--White Eagle 12:22, 22 October 2008 (UTC)

Today I used group work and the results were really amusing. More increased involvement Gp work1.jpg Gp work2.jpg --Vkizza 15:05, 23 October 2008 (UTC)

Hi Vincent, thanks for these most encouraging pictures! But did you think of privacy policy showing your students on the internet? Here in Bavaria we need a written agreement from each of our students if we want to upload their portraits. Group work: I think you did it the right way: Just try it and enjoy it. The students enjoy it anyway. I know of a maths teacher here in Munich that teaches all of her tuition in group work (a very extreme position, but possible. As soon as I find the time, I'll write an article about group work.--Günther Osswald 07:50, 24 October 2008 (UTC)

16) Laptop for project use

Hi Günther, how possible is it for the Ugandan team to get a laptop for team use on the project from the start up fund you mentioned? The majority of us don't have computers at home and have to use school resources and it can become inhibiting because the schools close early and we can't put in efforts during our free times at home as we would like. It could be in a central place and those who need to borrow it and use overnight and return it the following day for use by another person. I hope I am not making an out of touch request. please kindly advise.--WikiFlora 05:26, 23 October 2008 (UTC)

Hi Florence, I can see this urgent need of your team. Where is your school located? Close to Vincent's? How big is the risk for the laptop to "get feet"?--Günther Osswald 07:44, 24 October 2008 (UTC)
Our schools are about 14km apart(Vincent's school is a bit out of town while mine is just on the outskirts of town-(within Makerere university campus))but well transport is available but not so cheap,I could say!Also I see no big risk for the safety of the laptop.On the other hand,Joseph's and Peter's schools are nearer to mine than Vincent's. It would be better for instance,if Vincent becomes the custodian of it. Since already,we use his school as our meeting point.But laptops are a bit expensive here(in Uganda)....a P4, 3GHZ processor speed, 1GB RAM goes for averagely 1.5 million UG shs.(US $857)....I am sure productivity would be greatly boosted and we are all really responsible people--WikiFlora 15:14, 24 October 2008 (UTC)
Hi Florence, thanks for this info. I am thinking it over.--Günther Osswald 16:35, 27 October 2008 (UTC)

Continue at 20)

17) Skills hunt from WE

While I am enjoying every skills set I am learning now in the wiki,I am wondering whether there will or there is a possibility of acquiring skills in things such as multimedia or simulation creation tools( as OER). I tend to find those on the Internet a bit off the mark and have always dreamed of making mine...suitable for my situation which in my view may go a long way in our endeavor of being relevant.--Jlubega 05:55, 23 October 2008 (UTC)

Hi Joseph, I see your "big dream". With programming simulations, I always use the old BASIC (f. ex. QuickBasic) that I learned still in the late 70s. This is something nice and easy to realize. The last years I even taught some basics of this language to my students (f. ex. simple algorithms), simulations of accelerated movements etc.). But as far as I know, today people mostly use Java for programming their applets. And this seems to be a lot of work, but of course looks much nicer still. Here is a link to the beautiful Java applets of Walter Fendt, a German physics teacher who is famous for this. I don't think these are "off the mark".--Günther Osswald 14:14, 24 October 2008 (UTC)
Hi Günther,thanks alot for this link. I have downloaded java and them. They really are good and up to the standard of our secondary physics.I have created alink to them for my students and I am bombarded with lots of "thank you" from them. I also intend to use them shortly.Bravo--Vkizza 09:46, 29 October 2008 (UTC)
Hi Vincent, the "bravo" to you for right away trying the resources! I knew you would like these applets. Could you give us some more info on the use in your classroom? How was that with the language difficulty? Is there a translation to English needed? I know Walter Fendts simulations since 2001, where I used some in class. Until then I've used them only rarely. And could you tell us also why the students were so enthusiastic about them? --GünOsswald 11:22, 29 October 2008 (UTC)

There is a link at the page for English version of the applets...and it is what i used in my case. So I just turned to that. On the method used,I had just taught the topic of pulleys and so had them do the related simulation from their workstations mostly as revision.--WikiFlora 14:48, 30 October 2008 (UTC)

Hi Florence, I'm happy to see that you too used the applets. Congrats! But please beware of an overestimation of these applets. In case you had real pulleys (like Vincent has in his lab), the students should not be prevented from this hand-on experience only because the simulation is easier to be implemented. But (I think you know this.)--GünOss 09:43, 3 November 2008 (UTC)

In my case, when I downloaded the applets(in English) cut them on 10 CDs and the students worked in groups and they were so happy because,then,they could change the parameters and see what happens--Vkizza 14:41, 30 October 2008 (UTC)

You have to produce CDs? Don't you have a central server for the teacher?--GünOss 09:43, 3 November 2008 (UTC)
Here I want to pass the input of Peter (idea 18) to make worksheets for the use of the applets. Possibly Walter Fendt has some on his page, or other authors (search needed). But ideally the worksheet has roots in an everyday situation in the context of African culture!--GünOss 09:43, 3 November 2008 (UTC)

18) List of good projects

I am of the view that these project ideas to be useful should have:-
  1. a student worksheet of guiding instructions.
  2. an assessment criteria

What do you think? --Pkato 14:59, 30 October 2008 (UTC)

Right, I think so. Good educational material always has these 3 sides: For the students: The source material and the instruction for the use in the classroom and for the teacher some pedagogical background info (including assessment criteria)--GünOss 09:48, 3 November 2008 (UTC)

Here are some good physics projects --Vkizza 07:52, 11 November 2008 (UTC)

  1. Coming soon
  2. Coming soon
  3. Coming soon
  4. Coming soon
  5. Coming soon
  6. Coming soon
  7. Coming soon
  8. Coming soon
  9. Coming soon
  10. Coming soon

19) Free materials for primary education in physics available

Please have a look for my newsworthy post in our Google discussion group! Although we are here at secondary level, these materials may be useful for us in some ways. And if you know colleagues at primary level, please spread the news...--Günther Osswald 09:01, 29 October 2008 (UTC)

Lots of thanks for whoever made the release possible,I have eargerly waited for it...just wondering how someone with scanty german language knowledge like me could possibly play a role in the translation. I am of the view that the online tools are not good enough..

BTW,I fore see our group paying a key role in starting the initiative in our primary section...after all this is the time when science foundation is built...and what better way to start!--Vkizza 10:26, 29 October 2008 (UTC)

Hi Vincent, sorry to tell you that I for the time being can not see our group "paying" such a key role. :-( GünOsswald 11:27, 29 October 2008 (UTC)
No, but in serious, Vincent, I think you're right. We should not say this or that is "only" primary ed content. I think we can use everything. And seeing that in one of your final exams students were asked how many cm are 1,56 m, then primary sometimes is secondary too. So I just begin to work on pulling SUPRA into WikiEd, and I am pretty sure this could develop into a very nice community project for us  :-) --GünOss 09:54, 3 November 2008 (UTC)
The first page in the wiki (pilot project) you can visit here: User:White_Eagle/SUPRA. Please compare with the original--GünOss 11:37, 3 November 2008 (UTC)--GünOss 11:37, 3 November 2008 (UTC)

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