Content Knowledge

I primarily teach high school Physics. Personally I don't believe that lecture is the best way to really learn physics concepts. You can learn lists of facts and learn much of the math of physics, but it is often very difficult to teach mastery of underlying content in a strictly lecture environment. However, in my Electronics with Microcontrollers course lecture is still somewhat important. The main goal in this course is heavily skill based. These skills can be introduced in videos and reinforced with class activities.

So, my primary models for the use of videos is different in my two courses. How content is best delivered will depend on the particular subject areas. Below are brief outlines of how I use videos in both context in-order to maximize the time I have with my students.


The video to the right is summarized in a post about science videos and pseudoteaching. The bottom line is that clear concise explanations of physics concepts often does not lead to mastery of those physics concepts. In fact they often reinforce the preconceptions (right or wrong) the students had.

Inherent in good PCK in physics is a need to have students confront misconceptions. This can seem counterintuitive. Most teachers will not spend much time really investigating the misconceptions for fear that students will latch on to them. As it turns out, they are already latched on and if we don't address the pre-concieved notions we'll never break them loose.

Here is a pair of videos on the same content. One made before I saw the light and the other after.:
  • Traditional Approach - This is a fine video, but it was created before I, "Saw the light."
  • Addressing Misconceptions as an integral part of the lesson. This was also an attempt to bring dialog into my videos. I like the addressing of misconceptions, but I do not like the pacing of the computer generated dialog.

Electronics with Microcontrollers

My approach in this class is very different. Traditionally students who take this class have no prior experiences with the material when they walk in my door. So I have no misconceptions to confront.
  • Introduce new content with short video lectures and online tutorials - See the Entire Site
  • Push building of new knowledge by integrating new skills with old skills. Students are asked to complete tasks that will require them to use previously mastered material along with new material. These tasks are not lectured on. They are completed with the aid of other students in the class or facilitated by me as I wander about the classroom.
  • Students progress at their own rate
  • Assessment is continuous. Feedback is delivered with assessment.