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Day 1 of Physics Teacher Camp: This could be big

August 3, 2012

It’s late, but I want to take a few moments to describe Physics Teacher Camp, a gathering we started last year to bring together physics teachers from twitter to work on projects that will have some impact on the larger community of physics teachers.

This year, almost all of last year’s participants have returned, with a few new faces. Here’s the rundown:

  • Brian Carpenter
  • Frank Noschese
  • Kelly O’Shea
  • Fran Poodry
  • Mark Schober
  • Dan Longhurst
  • Josh Gates
  • Dorrie Bright
  • Mark Hammond

and me.

I also want to offer my sincere apology to all of the people who have been interested in physics teacher camp. Because of housing limitations, we simply haven’t been able to accommodate the interest that we’ve seen for people wanting to attend. But, that is all changing…

Big News about Physics Teacher Camp 2013

I don’t know how they beat us to this idea, but I find myself totally amazed by Twitter MathCamp 2012, a completely crowd-sourced professional development opportunity for 40+ math teachers who chose to gather in St. Louis this summer.

This got me thinking that we need to find a way to open Physics Teacher Camp up to all of the awesome people on the internet. But it’s probably still quite likely that housing and funding at my school to pay for meals can’t grow to accommodate the level of participation I hope to get. One possibility is that we will be able to house some people in dorms (I’m looking into this), but another possibility would be that people would simply pay for accommodations at the local Hampton in or nearby Bed and Breakfast, both of which are very reasonably priced. A third option might be that a school in a city would donate space to Physics Teacher Camp, and we could find housing nearby.

I’d love your input on how we can grow PTC to accommodate all of those who are interested in going.

Projects are the name of the game

Our goal for physics teacher camp is to take on 4-5 big projects that have impact beyond our classroom and work together to develop something useable in the next four days.

Here are the projects we’ve worked on so far:

  1. The Physics Problem Database: We’re trying to add to the physics problem database. Today we added a form to submit bugs and feature requests and are working on testing. I’m hoping to add some significant functionality tot eh site before the end of the week.
  2. Mindset Curriculum: We’re hoping to develop a set of activities, lessons and readings to teach the various meta-cognitive skills that will help students to see greater success in physics and other classes.
  3. Global physics department website: Our idea is to reorganize the global physics website to add a “new to the blogotwitterverse” section with many of the same things you’ll find at Sam Shah’s Welcome to the mathtwitterblogsphere page. Today we got things started by creating a twitter account for the Global Physics Department and sending out a newsletter about our next meeting on advice for new high school physics teachers.
  4. Videos: A few of us are working to produce videos that will be useful for physics teaching an video analysis. Here are a couple of examples of what we’ve done so far:






We’ve got a few more projects, and I’ll try to blog about those in the coming days.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. August 3, 2012 12:43 pm

    Awesome!! Thank you to all of you for all you do for teaching Physics. You all have been such a wonderful resource for this new physics teacher.

  2. Jim permalink
    August 3, 2012 3:16 pm

    I can’t wait to dive into the resources! Thank you fora ll your hard work!

  3. Andy "SuperFly" Rundquist permalink
    August 4, 2012 1:25 pm

    This is awesome, great work everyone! I think another idea would be to set aside some time for google hangouts, maybe on computer-based projects especially, so everyone could jump in and out when they have time (I know you’ve done some of this already).

    As for a place with free housing, I think it’s going to be tough. I know my school makes a lot of income from summer camps/activities through dorm costs. Another idea would be camping!

  4. August 10, 2012 6:56 pm

    Ohhh, camping! That’s a great idea!! but wait, we still want internet and an power and a classroom to share/ test ideas. I’m all for camping. 🙂

    What a great group of teachers you all are! I can’t wait to read all about your camp. I wish I was closer to you all so I can participate too. (Given there was room.) Maybe you all would be up for coming to California sometime if I could fine housing and a place to hold physics teachers comp – west coast edition. 🙂

    • August 10, 2012 11:14 pm

      Chija,
      A west coast edition would be awesome. I’m really looking for any opportunity I can find to get out CA to visit all of the awesome tweeps I know. I’m hoping I’ll at least be able to make it to Portland for AAPT.

  5. August 13, 2012 9:13 am

    John, you really need to follow up on this blog post. Both with our accomplishments and also the ideas for next year. I had a great time, and I am really glad to be a part of this community. I have wonderful colleagues at my school (I am one of 4 full-time physics teachers in my building, and the other two HSs in my district have the same) but we never get together like this. There is resistance to devoting the time in the sumer or during other breaks, and of course there is no time during the school year. Thanks again for starting Physics Teacher Camp and for inviting me to be a part of it.
    -Fran

  6. August 14, 2012 4:29 pm

    Totally interested in what you guys come up with for the mindset curriculum!! I did a little last year but it felt a bit unfinished.

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