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3rd meeting of the global physics department

April 2, 2011

I’m a bit late in writing up the notes from our last meeting of the global physics department, but Andy has posted a recording of everything, and we’ve now got the posterous website up and running so that you can read about everything we’re trying to do.

This week, I gave a short introduction to Tracker Video Analysis, a super powerful, free, java based video analysis program that allows you to very advanced video analysis, including tools to analyze videos where the camera is panning and/or zooming. In addition, it can even serve as a spectrometer, if you give it a photograph of a line spectrum.

One of the best ways to see all you can do with tracker (and get some ideas for some advanced labs) is to check out the Tracker Sampler, which lets you run a variety of different experiments and simulations.

One other note about tracker for mac users: currently, I’m having trouble opening video files with the latest version of tracker (4.0), and a few others have reported similar problems (it won’t open movie files). I’m emailing with the author of the program Doug Brown (did I mention that support is incredible?), and in the meantime, he suggests you use the older version (3.1—link here).

I hope you can join us next Wednesday (4/6) at 9:30pm EST, when Next meeting: 4/6/2011 at 9:30pm EST, JT Miller will discuss using social media (Twitter, Facebook and Youtube) in his physics classes.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. pam rousseau permalink
    April 7, 2011 9:54 am

    I have been trying to join some of these discussions. I have joined learning central and posterous but can’t seem to be able to write anything.
    Is there another layer of protocol I am missing.

    • April 7, 2011 10:07 am

      Hi Pam,
      I’m not sure what the problem is. I haven’t played with the posterous site very much—right now, it’s mostly just an archive for the recordings of past sessions, but I think anyone who joins can post. I’ll look into this more. I don’t know what learning central is. The main GPD chats take place using elluminate on Wednesdays at 9:30pm EST. You should be able to join by following the link:

      • pam rousseau permalink
        April 7, 2011 10:19 am

        That was the ticket.
        Thank you.
        I don’t think I can add, I can absorb. I am interested in getting student “what I learned today” discussion going. Meeting next week with our tech guy to arrange that.

        • pam rousseau permalink
          April 7, 2011 10:26 am

          I think he has to accept me for the session. Not sure how to do it.

        • April 7, 2011 10:33 am

          The link to the GPD discussion is the link to Andy’s elluminate session, which I think he only keeps open at night. On nights other than Wednesday, it’s his virtual office hours. What session are you talking about?

    • April 7, 2011 10:30 am

      That’s awesome. Definitely check out the 20minwms posts at my colleauge’s blog Experiments in Learning by Doing. There are a ton of great ideas there.

      • pam rousseau permalink
        April 7, 2011 10:39 am

        I was looking at a couple. One there was a video with hovercraft then you were showing Video Tracker. This learning curve is very steep. I am trying.

        • pam rousseau permalink
          April 7, 2011 10:42 am

          Video Tracker is not for Macs yet as I just read. Although I do have Quicktime. So if I have quicktime, can I download?

        • April 7, 2011 10:50 am

          I’m still not sure what you are talking about when you ask about being accepted to the session.

          Rhett Allain has a nice tutorial on how to use tracker on his blog, dot physics.

          Tracker works on the mac, but the latest version can’t open videos using the file browser. You can drag and drop movies to the window and analyze them that way. The author of the software is aware of this and working on a fix. The older version of tracker (3.1) works fine. It’s on the tracker website as well (scroll down).

          If you are running the latest version of mac os and having trouble getting it to run, there might be a slight problem with the java version you are using. Rhett explains how to fix this as well on his blog.

          Also, logger pro can do video analysis. It doesn’t have quite as many high end features as tracker, but it is a good place to start if you’ve got it.

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