Invited Speakers

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Claudio Fazio

University of Palermo (Italy)

Claudio Fazio has a master degree in Physics and a PhD in Physics Education. He is currently associate professor in Physics Education at University of Palermo, where he teaches Physics Education and History of Physics. He also teaches in courses for in-service and pre-service Physics teacher education. His current research interests are oriented to: 1) The study of Pupils’ Spontaneous Models and Cognitive Resources to improve the effectiveness of pedagogical activities. 2) The development and validation of Active Learning Environments aimed at improving understanding of Physics at Secondary level, as well as at University and Post-Graduate levels. 3) The study of Pedagogical Content Knowledge development in in-service and pre-service Physics teachers. 4) The use of Technologies in Physics teaching and learning in Primary, Secondary, University and Post-Graduate Education. 5) The use of qualitative and quantitative analysis methods to analyze the mental and conceptual models of students and teachers, and understand the effectiveness of pedagogical activities.


In recent years the term “Active Learning” (AL) has become increasingly common amongst school classrooms and in research papers in education. Numerous studies have supported the benefits of AL with regard to its effects on student learning and also on teaching strategies. Researchers agree that in order to effectively learn students should do more than just listen to a lesson. Students can find great learning opportunities in being engaged in reading, writing, posing and discussing questions, gathering data from different sources, building models, working collaboratively on problems, and in reflecting about what they are doing, developing authentic knowledge, skills and attitudes. AL activities also modify teacher role as he/she is often involved in deep interaction with groups of working students, ultimately transforming him/herself from a knowledge dispenser to a knowledge construction facilitator. In this talk I will present an exploration of the different types of AL activities most frequently discussed in the physics education literature and some evidence based results of the effectiveness of AL in actually improving student knowledge and conceptual understanding, focusing on researches of the last period that apply AL strategies to develop "hands-on and minds-on" approaches, as well as “inquiry based” approaches. Finally, I will discuss some research results focused on the development of student reasoning skills triggered by the use of AL strategies at University level.


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