Icon-add-to-playlist Icon-download Icon-drawer-up
Share this ... ×
By ...
Preparing Students to Learn from Lecture: Creating a "Time for Telling"
August 20, 2012 01:02 PM PDT
itunes pic

If interactive classrooms are the best way for students to learn, then is it bad to tell things to students? Not necessarily. In this podcast, we hear from researchers and instructors how we might prepare students to learn effectively from lecture.

Thanks to Daniel Schwartz of Stanford University, Doug Bonn and Jessica Lamb of the University of British Columbia, and Corinne Manogue of Oregon State University.

Visual, verbal, or auditory? The truth behind the myth behind the truth of learning styles.
November 22, 2011 10:03 PM PST
itunes pic

Are you a visual learner or an auditory learner? I bet you can tell me which you think you are. But does it matter? In this podcast, we discuss the research on individual learning styles, and how science learning requires us to blend the visual and the verbal.

Thanks to Hal Pashler of UC San Diego and Richard Mayer of UC Santa Barbara for their participation in this podcast.
(Hal Pashler: http://www.pashler.com/ Rich Mayer: http://www.psych.ucsb.edu/people/faculty/mayer/index.php)

The Art (and Science) of In-Class Questioning via Clickers
July 16, 2011 08:27 PM PDT
itunes pic

Are "clickers" or "personal response systems" just the latest fad in education? Or is there solid research behind their use? In this episode we share some recent studies that really highlight how clickers can be used most effectively, and how they can save the world!


Show notes:

Guests on today's podcast were Eric Mazur of Harvard University, Jenny Knight of University of Colorado at Boulder, and Ed Prather of the University of Arizona.

Studies cited were:

  1. Why Peer Discussion Improves Student Performance on In-Class Concept Questions  Michelle Smith, William Wood, Wendy Adams, Carl Wieman, Jenny Knight, Nancy Guild, and Tin Tin Su, Science, Vol. 323 no. 5910, pp. 122-124 (2009).
  2. Combining Peer Discussion with Instructor Explanation Increases Student Learning from In-Class Concept Questions.  Michelle Smith, William Wood, K. Krauter, and Jenny Knight.  CBE - Life Sciences Education, 10, 55-63 (2011).
  3. Listening to student conversations during clicker questions:  What you have not heard might surprise you!  Mark James and Shannon Willoughby, AM. J. Phys., 79(1), 123-133 (2011).  Described here.



Learning About Teaching Physics is supported by a grant from the American Association of Physics Teachers (Physics Education Research Topical Group). 

Today's music was:

  • DC 3000 by the Thievery Corporation (Creative Commons)
  • Funkorama, Firmament and Rumination by Kevin McLeod
  • Sunshine by Mark Crawford
  • Sound effects by audiofruit, SFX Bible, Rebecca Parnell and SFX Source, on Soundsnap.

Other Resources

There are a wide variety of instructor resources on clicker use available at STEMclickers.colorado.edu, including videos, literature, and an instructor's guide.

Ed Prather's version of Peer Instruction is called Think Pair Share (and you can read more about it at that link).

Books include:

Seeing isn't believing: Do classroom demonstrations help students learn?
May 17, 2011 10:14 AM PDT
itunes pic

Physics is the study of nature. So, physics classes typically include demonstrations of how those laws of nature play out, often in surprising ways. But do students see what we intend them to see? In this episode, we find out what the research says about classroom demos, and how to help students get the most out of them.

Show notes:

Thanks to Eric Mazur of Harvard University and Catherine Crouch of Swarthmore College for their participation in this podcast.

Study cited in this episode:  Classroom demonstrations: Learning tools or entertainment?  Mazur, Fagen, Crouch and Callan, American Journal of Physics, 72 (6), 835 - 838 (2004). Andrew Fagen's more detailed thesis can be found here.


  • Audio of Mazur's talk at Harvard provided by the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics' Science Media Group.  View the whole video here.
  • Audio of Shoot the Monkey from Science Theater
  • Show music:  "DC 3000" by the Thievery Corporation, "Watidori" by Cornelius, "Action at a Distance" by Matmos, and Mesa State by Mark Crawford.  All music is licensed under the Creative Commons except for music by Mark Crawford.
  • Coin on water image from Roger McLassus on Wikimedia

Other resources:

Below is the image of the scale demonstration described in the podcast:

Scale Image