Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Conceptual Physics Alive! Video Question Set

Now available from Arbor Scientific: the Conceptual Physics Alive! Video Question Set.

My school was able to purchase the entire set of Conceptual Physics Alive!, Paul Hewitt's Conceptual Physics course recorded during his tenure at The University of Hawaii, some years ago.

I enjoyed watching Hewitt grab and maintain his students' attentions with his enthusiastic presentations. But I never thought to show them to students. I show various episodes of The Mechanical Universe (high school and college) and Jearl Walker's Kinetic Karnival. But those videos were produced for television. Conceptual Physics Alive! was simply Hewitt giving physics lessons via lecture.

At some point, I needed to be out for two consecutive days and couldn't afford to waste the instructional time. I had a set of video questions (questions students answer during a video presentation) for an episode of Mechanical Universe. One day covered. But the second day? I produced a set of video questions for the appropriate episode of CPA, and I was good to go for the two-day absence.

When I returned, a student told me he preferred the Hewitt video to the Mechanical Universe. I contradicted him directly out of astonishment: "No you didn't! You preferred the Mechanical Universe because it's highly produced and has better graphics!"

The student insisted, "No, the bearded guy was more fun to watch."

Last summer I watched each of Hewitt's 34 video lessons and spent the time needed to produce video question sets for each episode. The process is fairly simple.

1. Watch the episode as a spectator. Simply take it in.

2. Grab a pencil and some blank paper. Watch a second time while working the remote control and listening for potential questions. Pause, stop, rewind. Write the questions as they come from the video. Include diagrams where it makes sense to do so. This step is messy. Some questions will be short-answer, some will be multiple choice, some will be true-false, and some will involve drawing or interpreting diagrams.

3. Turn off the TV and turn on the computer. Type the questions and draw the illustrations. If possible, create two forms (with as many different questions as is practicable).

That's how these video question sets came about.

Now I'm good to go for an absence any time of the year. Hewitt will be my guest lecturer, and I know my students will be engaged in his lessons.

The video question sets are the difference between me using the Hewitt videos or not. Now that I have them, I can use them whenever it makes sense to do so.

I'm very happy with the question sets for their variety and the fact that most lessons come with alternate sets. Students seated next to one another are to be given different forms. Keeps the wandering eyes to a minimum.

It was also important to me that the sheets look good: nice fonts and professional graphics. I think the pages look great and work great. I hope you'll agree.


Sooraj V Mathew said...

Great blog.............

katherineshirey said...

Care to share?

Courtney Clark said...

We need the answers...