Using misconceptions research in the design of optics instructional materials and teacher professional development programs

Stephen M. Pompea, Erin F. Dokter, Constance E. Walker, Robert T. Sparks

Research output: Contribution to journalConference article

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

To create the Hands-On Optics program and its associated instructional materials, we needed to understand a number of basic optics misconceptions held by children (and adults) and how to address them through a proper educational approach. The activities have been built with an understanding of the naïve concepts many people have about light, color, and optical phenomena in general. Our own experience is that the concepts that children and adults have of light are often not that different from each other. This paper explores the most common misconceptions about light and color, according to educational research, and describes how they can be addressed in optics education programs. This understanding of misconceptions was useful as well in the professional development component of the program where educators were trained on the Hands-On Optics modules. The professional development work for the optics industry volunteers who worked with the educators was also based on research on how an optics professional can work more effectively in multi-cultural settings-an area with great applicability to industry volunteers working in the very different culture of science centers or after-school programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalOptics InfoBase Conference Papers
StatePublished - Jan 1 2007
EventEducation and Training in Optics and Photonics, ETOP 2007 - Ottowa, ON, Canada
Duration: Jun 3 2007Jun 3 2007

Keywords

  • Inquiry
  • Misconceptions
  • Optics education
  • Professional development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Instrumentation
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics

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