Generating subject related demostration using computer software

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Teaching Strategies

Institutions of higher learning across the nation are responding to political, economic, social and technological pressures to be more responsive to students' needs and more concerned about how well students are prepared to assume future societal roles. Faculty are already feeling the pressure to lecture less, to make learning environments more interactive, to integrate technology into the learning experience, and to use collaborative learning strategies when appropriate.

Some of the more prominent strategies are outlined below. For more information about the use of these and other pedagogical approaches, contact the Program in Support of Teaching and Learning.


For many years, the lecture method was the most widely used instructional strategy in college classrooms. Nearly 80% of all U.S. college classrooms in the late 1970s reported using some form of the lecture method to teach students (Cashin, 1990). Although the usefulness of other teaching strategies is being widely examined today, the lecture still remains an important way to communicate information.

Used in conjunction with active learning teaching strategies, the traditional lecture can be an effective way to achieve instructional goals. The advantages of the lecture approach are that it provides a way to communicate a large amount of information to many listeners, maximizes instructor control and is non-threatening to students. The disadvantages are that lecturing minimizes feedback from students, assumes an unrealistic level of student understanding and comprehension, and often disengages students from the learning process causing information to be quickly forgotten.

The following recommendations can help make the lecture approach more effective (Cashin, 1990):

1. Fit the lecture to the audience

2. Focus your topic - remember you cannot cover everything in one lecture

3. Prepare an outline that includes 5-9 major points you want to cover in one lecture

4. Organize your points for clarity

5. Select appropriate examples or illustrations

6. Present more than one side of an issue and be sensitive to other perspectives

7. Repeat points when necessary

8. Be aware of your audience - notice their feedback

9. Be enthusiastic - you don’t have to be an entertainer but you should be excited by your topic.

Case Method

Providing an opportunity for students to apply what they learn in the classroom to real-life experiences has proven to be an effective way of both disseminating and integrating knowledge. The case method is an instructional strategy that engages students in active discussion about issues and problems inherent in practical application. It can highlight fundamental dilemmas or critical issues and provide a format for role playing ambiguous or controversial scenarios.

Course content cases can come from a variety of sources. Many faculty have transformed current events or problems reported through print or broadcast media into critical learning experiences that illuminate the complexity of finding solutions to critical social problems. The case study approach works well in cooperative learning or role playing The following recommendations can help make the lecture approach more effective


There are a variety of ways to stimulate discussion. For example, some faculty begin a lesson with a whole group discussion to refresh students’ memories about the assigned reading(s). Other faculty find it helpful to have students list critical points or emerging issues, or generate a set of questions stemming from the assigned reading(s). These strategies can also be used to help focus large and small group discussions.

Obviously, a successful class discussion involves planning on the part of the instructor and preparation on the part of the students. Instructors should communicate this commitment to the students on the first day of class by clearly articulating course expectations. Just as the instructor carefully plans the learning experience, the students must comprehend the assigned reading and show up for class on time, ready to learn.

Active Learning

Meyers and Jones (1993) define active learning as learning environments that allow “students to talk and listen, read, write, and reflect as they approach course content through problem-solving exercises, informal small groups, simulations, case studies, role playing, and other activities -- all of which require students to apply what they are learning” (p. xi). Many studies show that learning is enhanced when students become actively involved in the learning process. Instructional strategies that engage students in the learning process stimulate critical thinking and a greater awareness of other perspectives. Although there are times when lecturing is the most appropriate method for disseminating information, current thinking in college teaching and learning suggests that the use of a variety of instructional strategies can positively enhance student learning. Obviously, teaching strategies should be carefully matched to the teaching objectives of a particular lesson. For more information about teaching strategies, see the list of college teaching references in Appendix N.

Assessing or grading students' contributions in active learning environments is somewhat problematic. It is extremely important that the course syllabus explicitly outlines the evaluation criteria for each assignment whether individual or group. Students need and want to know what is expected of them. For more information about grading, see the Evaluating Student Work section contained in this Guide.

Cooperative Learning

Cooperative Learning is a systematic pedagogical strategy that encourages small groups of students to work together for the achievement of a common goal. The term 'Collaborative Learning' is often used as a synonym for cooperative learning when, in fact, it is a separate strategy that encompasses a broader range of group interactions such as developing learning communities, stimulating student/faculty discussions, and encouraging electronic exchanges (Bruffee, 1993). Both approaches stress the importance of faculty and student involvement in the learning process.

When integrating cooperative or collaborative learning strategies into a course, careful planning and preparation are essential. Understanding how to form groups, ensure positive interdependence, maintain individual accountability, resolve group conflict, develop appropriate assignments and grading criteria, and manage active learning environments are critical to the achievement of a successful cooperative learning experience. Before you begin, you may want to consult several helpful resources which are contained in Appendix N. In addition, the Program in Support of Teaching and Learning can provide faculty with supplementary information and helpful techniques for using cooperative learning or collaborative learning in college classrooms.

Integrating Technology

Today, educators realize that computer literacy is an important part of a student's education. Integrating technology into a course curriculum when appropriate is proving to be valuable for enhancing and extending the learning experience for faculty and students. Many faculty have found electronic mail to be a useful way to promote student/student or faculty/student communication between class meetings. Others use listserves or on-line notes to extend topic discussions and explore critical issues with students and colleagues, or discipline- specific software to increase student understanding of difficult concepts.

Currently, our students come to us with varying degrees of computer literacy. Faculty who use technology regularly often find it necessary to provide some basic skill level instruction during the first week of class. In the future, we expect that need to decline. For help in integrating technology into a course curriculum contact the Program in Support of Teaching and Learning or the Instructional Development Office (IDO) at 703-993-3141. In addition, watch for information throughout the year about workshops and faculty conversations on the integration of technology, teaching and learning.

Distance Learning

Distance learning is not a new concept. We have all experienced learning outside of a structured classroom setting through television, correspondence courses, etc. Distance learning or distance education as a teaching pedagogy, however, is an important topic of discussion on college campuses today. Distance learning is defined as 'any form of teaching and learning in which the teacher and learner are not in the same place at the same time'

Obviously, information technology has broadened our concept of the learning environment. It has made it possible for learning experiences to be extended beyond the confines of the traditional classroom. Distance learning technologies take many forms such as computer simulations, interactive collaboration/discussion, and the creation of virtual learning environments connecting regions or nations. Components of distance learning such as email, listserves, and interactive software have also been useful additions to the educational setting.

Application of modern teaching strategies in physics teaching

Contemporary society requires learners to develop abilities and skills besides having a basic knowledge of a discipline. In this paper, some modifications and improvements of teaching approaches in the courses of Modern Physics and General Experimental Physics are suggested by using the contemporary teaching strategies of problem based learning and concept mapping


In today’s world, because knowledge and technology becomes outdated rapidly and is updated constantly, much of what students will need to know in their future career after graduation has not yet been generated! This knowledge explosion cannot be solved by adding more courses. Therefore, the responsibility of teachers in university or college is not only to teach the students with the particular or professional knowledge of their discipline but also to help them develop successful lifelong learning skills. In order to improve university teaching methods, research into science teaching and learning has been done in western universities for over twenty years. As a visiting scholar at The University of Sydney, I have learnt a great deal about modern teaching theories in western universities. In this paper, I will briefly introduce a number of contemporary teaching approaches; discuss the teaching approach used at Tsinghua University; and based on what I have learnt at The University of Sydney, make some suggestions for the modifications to my teaching approach.

Contemporary teaching approaches – problem basedlearning and concept mapping

Figure 1 shows the skills that are used frequently by physics graduates in selected typical employment: industry; government laboratories; and high school teaching. It is surprising the problem solving skills and interpersonal skill are more often used in these three careers than a knowledge of physics. This result does not imply that the knowledge of physics is no longer important, but indicates that the other skills are as important as the knowledge of physics. Therefore, it is the responsibility of universities to encourage students to develop these skills as well as gain an understanding of the knowledge of the discipline.


Modern teaching research in university education is focused on changing from a teacher-centred approach to a studentcentred approach, which encourages students to take more interest in learning the discipline. Eventually, new teaching approaches will encourage active learning, will help students to develop a deep level of understanding of the content, and will help them possess some key learning skills for their future work, e.g. self directed learning, problem solving, communication, team work, etc. Problem based learning (PBL) and concept mapping are excellent modern teaching approaches that help develop these skills and are widely used in western universities.

Problem based learning

What is problem based learning? PBL is a curriculum design and a teaching/learning strategy which simultaneously develops higher order thinking, disciplinary knowledge bases and practical skills by placing the learner in the active role of practitioners (or problem solvers) confronted with a situation (ill-structured problem) which reflects the real world (King, 2005). PBL is also a style of learning in which the problems act as the context and driving force for the learning. In a PBL environment, the learner is encouraged to solve the problem, which is set in a realworld framework and is interesting, challenging and complex for the learner. In order to solve the problem, the learners have to discover or learn new knowledge either individually or together in groups, analyse relevant information obtained from different sources, think critically, and discuss the solution with others. Generally the problems used in PBL are open-ended, they do not have only one correct solution, so that the learner tends to focus on the learning process as well as obtaining a correct answer. What are the outcomes of PBL? The outcomes of PBL are to: encourage the learner to be more active and motivated; encourage the learner become an independent learner; help the learner to achieve a deep level of understanding of the relevant knowledge; and encourage the learner to develop some key skills including problem solving, team work, lifelong learning, critical thinking and communication. What are the advantages of PBL? PBL encourages deep learning and understanding. Students should be able to make sense of the material by integrating new knowledge with prior knowledge through the experience of solving problems, using a range of critical, cognitive and transferable skills. What are the disadvantages? The time and resources needed for PBL should not be underestimated. The amount of content taught in this way is reduced compared to the amount that is taught in lecture-based teaching. PBL may be a new experience for teachers and learners, therefore both may require more support at the beginning. In addition, the problems must be selected carefully and professionally, so that they are at the right level for the students. The problems should be interesting and challenging for the learner.

Concept mapping

Concept mapping is a technique used for representing knowledge graphically. Knowledge graphs are networks of related concepts that are interconnected, and consist of nodes representing related concepts within a topic and links representing the relationship between concepts (King, 2005). Concept maps can help teachers to explain complex structures and relationships of concepts, and to integrate graphically new knowledge with existing knowledge. Comparing his/her own concept map with a learner’s concept map, a teacher can diagnose misunderstandings and misconceptions for the concept, and evaluate the learning results at the end of the topic. Concept maps also help learners to retain a mind map of the information they are studying, i.e. why are we learning this? Constructing one concept map before a topic and one after the topic can be used to help learners know what it is they have learned and what it is they still do not understand. By matching correctly new knowledge to their own schema, eventually learners will achieve a deep understanding of the knowledge. Current courses and teaching strategies As a teacher working in the Physics Department of Tsinghua University, I teach two courses (Modern Physics and General Experimental Physics (GEP)) for undergraduate students. There are about 150 students in the course of Modern Physics and 24 students in the GEP, respectively. The contents and teaching strategies of the two courses are briefly described in the following paragraphs. The content of Modern Physics includes some essential concepts, principles and applications of Quantum Mechanics, Condensed Matter Physics, Modern Optics and Nanotechnology. The teaching process is currently teachercentred in line with a behaviourist view of learning which is used widely in most Chinese universities. A student’s score in the final examination is used as the assessment result. In order to increase student interest, I currently ask the students to take up a challenge: that they should submit a feasible research proposal for any topic which is related to the content of the course, and assume that they have enough financial and technological support. They must work in groups of eight. Surprisingly, most students are very active and interested in this task. The final reports submitted by each group are impressive, creative and academic. Unfortunately, at the time I was only able to discuss with each group the feasibility of their scheme, the rationale of the knowledge applied and suggest some modifications to overcome any deficiencies, because, I was unaware of how I could do more for the students. The content of GEP includes some general physical experiments, such as Ohm’s law, measurement of the speed of sound, string vibration, thermal sensor, spectrum measurement, etc. Before doing the experiments, students are asked to read the manual that describes the principle, schematic diagrams, operating procedures and dataprocessing required. Then the students learn how to do theexperiments in practice, how to use or operate some special instruments and how to perform some data processing. We have improved this over a period of time by making modifications. As a result of the modifications, a few selected experiments are now suggested for students. Students are required to do the experiments individually, taking care when operating the equipment and repeating the experiment more than twice. Meanwhile, the data processing is more complicated, so students have to process the data using a computer. Finally, students need to submit a research report that is over thirty pages.

Modification of teaching approach

Teaching of Modern Physics

Most undergraduate students in Tsinghua University are excellent, intelligent and active. They all have a strong background in classical physics, but they have only a little understanding for the content of Modern Physics. Because the content and concepts in Modern Physics are very abstract, boring and hard for students to learn by themselves, they might lose interest if they spend too much time learning on their own. In my opinion, the application of modern teaching strategies, such as PBL, case study and concept mapping, must be based on a basic understanding of Modern Physics otherwise the students will not be able to learn anything. Therefore, it is important and efficient to keep some of the good traditional teaching approaches but combine them with new modern teaching approaches.

As the students have only limited understanding of the essential concepts and content at the beginning, the teacher must organise the lecture carefully by breaking down each topic into small packages which are logically ordered and sequenced. The knowledge packages should be taught by using the traditional teaching approach in the classroom, with the students mastering each individual knowledge package before they go on to next one. As mentioned above this is the traditional teaching strategy that is currently used in my teaching. After students understand the essential concepts and content in Modern Physics, the modern teaching strategy of concept mapping will be introduced. Figure 2 is an example of a concept map for the topic of Condensed Matter Physics (CMP) in Modern Physics teaching.

Firstly, students will be asked to draw a concept map of the topic that has just been taught, consisting of concepts and links between the content of CMP, based on what students have learnt in the course. This concept map reflects student’s mastery of the knowledge of CMP. Generally, there will be some misconceptions and deficiencies in the knowledge. The teacher will also draw a concept map of CMP. Then, a series of seminars and tutorials will be held to discuss and modify the concept map made by the student. By understanding the student’s concept map, by providing new information, by explaining the relevance of certain things, by modifying the misunderstanding of concepts and by comparison with the teacher’s concept map (shown in Figure 2), the teacher will encourage a deep level processing of knowledge. Students will be able to assimilate new information or knowledge, and modify or rebuild their concept map to fit in the new knowledge. Eventually, a correct and integrated understanding of CMP knowledge will be achieved at a deep level, and the student’s lifelong learning skills will be promoted during the process.


The topics which students find challenging should be kept and developed, but some modification must be made in using the PBL approach. The range of topics should be limited to the content of Modern Physics, i.e. the essential concepts and techniques used in the scheme should come from the content taught. Before the teacher discusses these with the students, they will discuss them within their groups with all students being encouraged to participate. As a result of the challenging topics, the discussion process will help students develop problem solving skills as well as teamwork skills. The final assessment for this course will consist of the final examination (60%), the challenging topic (30%) and homework (10%).

Websites For Teaching Physics






Websites For Teaching Maths

Build fraction addition and subtraction skills for simple to complex problems. Also Includes exercises for building reducing and simplifying fraction skills. All problems are randomly generated on several levels of difficulty with no repeated problems. Problems are solved number-by-number as they would be solved using pencil and paper. Auditory and visual feedback is provided to promote successful problem completionVarious levels of assistance are provided. For example, the greatest common factor and the least common denominator can be revealed until the user is adept at finding the GCF and LCD. Step-by-step directions can also be provided until the user is adept at problem solving. Uses the Microsoft Agent Peedy, parrot character who provides verbal and visual feedback. Peedy helps make the learning of fractions easier and fun. This program also generates printed worksheets and tests with accompanying answer sheets.. Basic,skills,academic,improve,reading,spelling,writing,literacy,math,dyslexia,teaching,learning,raise,remedial,remediate,tutor,tutoring,punctuation,capitalization,learning,disabilities,disabled,handicap,handicapped,home,school,schooling. Dramatically improve basic academic skills in reading, spelling, writing, math while improving the retention of subject materials with this computer software. This unique teaching method works quickly for all age and ability levels.

Free download from Shareware Connection - Build fraction addition and subtraction skills for simple to complex problems.