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DCU hosts international conference on physics teaching and learning

DCU hosts international conference on physics teaching and learning

The 2017 GIREP-ICPE-EPEC conference will commence on Monday July 3rd with a host of national and international academics attending to discuss the issues and challenges facing physics teaching and learning.

The event is hosted by DCU CASTeL (The Centre for Advancement in Science and Mathematics Teaching and Learning) and jointly organised by the Conference of International Research Group on Physics Teaching (GIREP), European Physical Society - Physics Education Division (EPS PED) and International Conference on Physics Education (ICPE) of the Commission C14 of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP).

This year's conference theme is on "Bridging Research and Practice in Physics Teaching and Learning" and will include a series of presentations and plenary speakers over the five days, highlighting issues such as physics in low and middle income countries around the world; women in physics, the challenges facing those who teach physics and physics in developing countries.

Commenting on the upcoming conference, Professor Eilish McLoughlin, Director of CASTel said: 

"CASTel are delighted to host this trio of international physics education conferences, Conference of International Research Group on Physics Teaching, European Physical Society- Physics Education Division and International Conference on Physics Education of the Commission C14 of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics. The main theme of our conference is "Bridging Research and Practice in Physics Teaching and Learning". CASTel at DCU are strongly committed to the advancement of evidence based STEM education in Ireland and are leading researchers in STEM education and STEM teacher preparation, across all educational levels. 2017 is a landmark year for STEM education in Ireland following the launch of the National STEM Education Review Report and CASTel Researchers hosting three major international STEM education conferences with CERME (800 delegates) held in February."

This year’s plenary speakers are as follows:

-Prof Claudia Haagen-Schutzenhofer, Professor at the Institute of Physics at the University of Graz. Her research interests lie in the area of content specific teaching and learning processes and conceptual change, professional development of teachers and language in science teaching.

-Prof Kevin G McGuigan is the Director of the RCSI Solar Disinfection Research Group which develops appropriate technology interventions against waterborne disease for use in developing countries. His research specialises in running field studies to evaluate these technologies and has completed such studies in Uganda, Kenya, Zimbabwe, S. Africa and Cambodia. He currently coordinates the €3.6M EU Horizon 2020 WATERSPOUT Project in which 18 partner organisations across European and African countries are developing new solar water treatment technologies which will be piloted in Malawi, Ethiopia, Uganda and S Africa.

-Prof Marco Antonio Moreira is Emeritus Professor of Physics of the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), Brazil and Senior Researcher of the Brazilian National Research Council. His career as physics teacher lasted fifty years, as a high school teacher (1964-1967), and as a college teacher (1968-2014). His B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Physics were from UFRGS, in the 1960s, and his Ph.D. in Science Education from Cornell University, US, in 1977.

-Dr. David Sands is currently Director of Learning and Teaching for the School of Mathematics and Physical Sciences at Hull. He chairs the Degree Accreditation Committee of the IOP, the IOP Higher Education Group and the Physics Education Division of the European Physical Society and also represents the UK on Commission C14 of IUPAP (ICPE).

-Professor Paul van Kampen is an Associate professor and researcher within the School of Physical Sciences and the Centre for the Advancement of STEM Teaching and Learning (CASTeL) at Dublin City University. He is interested primarily in how students develop scientific understanding and reasoning. He teaches physics and physics education at undergraduate and postgraduate level, and is heavily involved in science teacher education.

-Dr. Bethany Wilcox teaches at the Department of Physics at Colorado School of Mines. Her research has focused primarily on student learning in advanced, university-level physics courses. In particular, she has studied students’ use of sophisticated mathematical tools and techniques (e.g., multivariable integration, separation of variables, etc.) when solving problems in physics. This work aims at understanding the nature of the difficulties that students encounter at the intersection of mathematics and physics in order to lay the groundwork for developing instructional materials and pedagogical techniques that help students overcome these difficulties.Dr. Wilcox is also interested in understanding and addressing factors that contribute to the continued underrepresentation of particular demographic groups within the physics community.

The 2017 GIREP Conference takes place at the Helix, July 3rd to July 7th. For further details on the full programme go to www.girep2017.org

Pictured: Professor Brian MacCraith, President of DCU; Professor Paul van Kampen, Associate Professor & researcher, CASTel at DCU; Professor Kevin McGuigan, Director of the RCSI Solar Disinfection Research Group; Professor Eilish McLoughlin, Director of CASTel, School of Physical Sciences, DCU

29th June, 2017