National Physics Conference at EMCC Accelerates Traditional Teaching Methods

Estrella Mountain Community College (EMCC) in Avondale, Arizona has been selected to host a national three-day Microcomputer-Based Lab (MBL) Workshop as part of Physics Workshops for the 21st Century, April 22 - 24, a project of Joliet Junior College (IL), Lee College (TX) and the National Science Foundation. This workshop is designed for two-year college (TYC) and high school instructors who are interested in using computer technology in the lab to improve the teaching and learning of physics. Recently, the physics program at Estrella Mountain was selected as one of the ten outstanding TYC physics programs by the American Association of Physics Teachers and the National Science Foundation.

This workshop will feature the work of well-known, award winning physics education leaders and developers in this field. Workshop leaders include Professors Ron Thornton (Tufts University in Medford, MA); Tom O'Kuma (Lee College in Baytown, TX); and Curtis Hieggelke (Joliet Junior College, Joliet, IL).

The emphasis of this hands-on workshop will be using computer-based tools to teach physics more effectively to two-year college and high school students. Participants from around the country will work on forces, motion, rotation, sound, heat, electricity, magnetism, and nuclear radiation. There will be extensive discussion on how to use these tools, plus using tactics to overcome problems at two-year colleges and high schools.

"Updating science education programs at community colleges and high schools is important for the nation and for science because of the large number of students, particularly women and minorities, who attend community college and high schools and who need to understand physics, "says Dr. Hieggelke.

Estrella Mountain serves as a model to education institutions around the world for integrating technology into curriculum and has a commitment to developing Math and Science programs, for which it has received numerous national grants and recognition. According to Dwain Desbien, physics instructor at EMCC, the campus was chosen in part because of its ability to accommodate the levels of technology required by the workshop. "It's exciting to host a conference such as this to share our teaching experiences with others and to help others improve."

For more information about this conference or Math and Science programs at EMCC, please contact Dr. Dwain Desbien at 623.935.8474.

Estrella Mountain Community College is a Maricopa Community College.