The Rutgers Physics Teaching Technology Resource engages students from middle school to college in the process of physics. It contains more than 200 videos of real-life physics experiments that students can view and analyze as they learn new material, perform labs, carry out independent projects, or do homework. Videos allow them to see physical phenomena in real time and then again in slow motion for data collection. The videos do not contain tools for quantitative analysis. Instead, students need to decide themselves what data to collect and how to collect them. The goal is to engage students in actions and decisions similar to those of real physicists by working with simple experiments.
Physicists observe physical phenomena, collect data, find patterns in the data, and devise multiple explanations or mechanisms behind the patterns, test those explanations with more experiments, and apply their theories to solve real-world problems. Although it is a complex and nonlinear process, its logic can be used in physics instruction. A physics learning system called Investigative Science Learning Environment (ISLE) models this process for the students. In ISLE, all experiments that students encounter can be placed into one of three categories according to their roles: observational (experiments that are used to generate explanations), testing (used to test explanations), or application (experimental problems to solve for which one needs to synthesize multiple explanations and/or relations). The video Web site follows this scheme, helping an instructor form a learning progression that mirrors the process of doing physics.
Physics teachers and instructors might find this quite useful.