Hello, my name is Kevin. For my final project i am building a course in physics that applies Web 2.0 to a lesson unit. It's all about transforming the classroom to 21st century learning. Right now I'll be focusing mainly on an introduction to physics involving online instruction. For example: Distant time graphs, Velocity time graphs, solving problems algebraically, etc. I could really use some helpful ideas on how to go about building my course.

Tags: physics, science, web2.0

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Hi Kevin,

This is an interesting task. I am a former physics teacher now teaching science methods, and have been using many web 2.0 technologies in my class. Here are some ideas:

1. Wikis wikis wikis - use a wiki to accumulate your course resources over time. Current wiki flavors such as wikispaces allow you to organize many web 2.0 technologies within a page framework by "embedding media" into standard wiki pages.
2. Use RSS feeds from Discover and other science mags to create a "current events" page. As students to contribute to a collection of summary/reflection pages that accumulate over time.
3. Use wiki-embedded Google spreadsheets to allow different students or student groups to contribute data to the same graph, test the same simulation, etc.
4. Use embedded Google docs to allow students to simultaneously create shared lab reports or other documents.
5. Gliffy can be used to create shared diagrams and, again, include them in your wiki.
6. Physics applets can be embedded along with spreadsheet powered data tables to create richly interactive pages.
7. Finally, a central projection source will allow you to moderate whole-class discussions based on each of these types of student work, increasing their authenticity.

I'm interested in what you decide to do, so keep us informed!


Alas, as far as I know, one drawback in your w2.0 world is representing algebra. Though there are TeX input capabilities, none are as efficient as fingers on paper, and I hate the idea of inputting it into a website just so that it looks pretty. My experience with students is that they will not like such tasks either.
Hi, Jay!
I apreciated all your ideas. But can you explain better what you meant about "Physics applets can be embedded along with spreadsheet powered data tables to create richly interactive pages."?
Thank you.
Hi Antonio,

When I was teaching high school physics 8 years ago, my students used simulations and spreadsheets, but the tools were not available for knowledge accumulation and collaboration like they are now, e.g. wikis, collaborative docs, etc. I put this wikipage together as an example, but it is not really fleshed out enough to be usable. Feel free to refline it with a clear purpose and instructions! The page is at:


Note: I embedded an editgrid spreadsheet because I think it allows public editing, unlike google spreadsheets which require you to specific the users that have edit access.

I hope this is leads you to have other ideas about how to uses wikis.

Wow, Jay!
First of all, I like Bitty Browser and EditGrid (It's new for me...).
But it's not clear how do you pretend to interact with the flash animation...
A good idea, I think, is to creat a mashup graph like I did in the same page.
What do you think?
Hi Antonio,

For someone new to editgrid, you picked it up (and mashed it up) pretty fast. I think your example illustrates the potential for this type of page - I added some numbers and the graph updated in realtime.

For the Flash, I thought that students could use the "stop" button to halt the earth's progress, choose some days, and determine from the animation the sunrise and sunset times, and therefore the length of the day. I also envisioned a graph, but I have not created it yet.

I've tried to add some calculation to the spreadsheet to get day of year (DOY) from the date in prep of graphing, but I'm getting a strange number which I think is the number of days since 1900 instead of since 1/1/2008. Hmmm

I added another element at the top of the page: a whiteboard so that students could record their predictions. These whiteboards are neat but a bit quirky to use. If I was actually doing this with students, they might have to record their predictions before going to the activity page. What do you think?
Hi, Kevin,
What a great challenge! My degree is in Physics.
I don't have any answers for you, other than that you might look around the Pittsburgh Science of Learning Center. I Googled Web 2.0 Physics and got your question here, and remarks from Tim Berners-Lee on "Nobody knows what Web 2.0 is".

Here's some Flash animations.
You can Google Physics Animations for more, or check with others.
And here's a discussion group:
Probably there are many more of both of these.

I'm rather suspicious of the idea that Web 2.0 can help you master Physics. Web 1.7 can certainly help learners find information quickly from home - you'll find a great deal on String Theory with a simple search. Yet, going to a good college library will still probably get you further, as they will have the subscriptions to more of the journals (on or off line), and a few books as well.

Some things simply take work, and talking about them -which is primarily what Web 2.0 is about - doesn't help. To learn, one simply must knuckle down and do the thing. To master the guitar, I must play, play, play; and to master cooking, I must cook, cook, cook, and to master physics, one must calculate, calculate, calculate.
I use Ning with my Physics class. Students are responsible for posting class notes (a different student every day). Some students have gone out of their way to find pictures and videos to share to help show or demonstrate the concepts we're covering.

Every time a big lab report is due or there's a test, students use the site to ask questions. I find these questions are usually answered by other students before I see them.

For other online physics stuff I'd recommend:
Phet - Really good simulations created at the University of Colorado
My Blog: I try to cover educational technology, but I have a decidedly science/physics focus. You may find something useful there, but then again, you may not.
Instructables: This is a site for DIY (do it yourself) projects. You can post nearly any sort of project here, including an experiment. Users can collaborate on projects and can leave comments/ask questions.
Hello Kevin,

My name is Kevin also, so maybe we can come up with some good ideas. First, do you need a class learning system llke Moodle? Or maybe just a blog to show your content. That's what I'm doing on my blog at www.siyensya.com I'm going to show and demonstrate some of the physical science content. If you have a blog, you can get the comments which makes it interactive. To actually have students read content and take tests and quizzes, you need Moodle, or something similar.
Take Care KevinH
Hi Kevin,

Several good ideas have already been suggested, but one I did not see, that may be worth trying/using, would be videos. Videos created by you or your students that demonstrate physics principles and sharing them on your "class channel" on youtube or teachertube, for others to present/explain/react to /comment on/... Also creating playlists of existing Science videos on youtube and embedding those in your web 2.0 space (wiki, blog, ning, whatever).

Do share what you finally try out, and how it all works out...

Hi Kevin. I've used moodle to set up a learning environment and tried to use several of its features, especially forums to share and discuss information, scorm to build organized text content, and links links links.
Seen how things have worked, and the success that this had, I'm now considering to start using wikis, as a way of building a knowledge base in a collaborative way. I'm still experimenting myself, and I'm also very interested in all the good suggestions all the previous replies also gave... Thank you all a lot. I'll follow this thread.
Couple of cool sites:

2D Physics Sandbox

Interactive Constructor with Masses and Springs

Line Rider - draw a line and watch gravity work

This are nice fun things to illustrate concepts - they vary in actual measurement and math.
If you are interested in wikis, here is a high school physics teacher who uses wikis in the classroom. If you click on one of his class periods you can see how he integrates the wiki in.



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