Professor of Physics at the University of LjubljanaUniversity of Ljubljana (Slovenia)
Gorazd Planinsic is a Professor of Physics at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. He has a PhD in physics from the University of Ljubljana. Since 2000 he has led the University Physics Education program, which prepares almost all high school physics teachers in Slovenia. He started his career in MRI physics and later switched to physics education research. During the last 10 years, his work has mostly focused on the research of new experiments and how to use them more productively in teaching and learning physics. Professor Planinsic is a co-author of more than 80 peer-refereed research articles and more than 20 popular science articles; he is a sole author of a university textbook for future physics teachers and a co-author of an algebra-based textbook for introductory physics. He chaired the National exam committee for high-school physics in Slovenia and the Physics Education Division of the European Physical Society. He represented Slovenia in Commission C14 of IUPAP (ICPE) and served as a secretary of GIREP. He is a co-founder of a Slovenian hands-on science center, called the House of Experiments. In 2013 he received The Science Communicator of the Year award from the Slovenian Science Foundation.
EXPERIMENTS AS BUILDING BLOCKS OF KNOWLEDGE
When scientists are constructing new knowledge, they design their own experiments to observe new phenomena, to test their hypotheses or to apply acquired knowledge. When the same scientists present their new ideas to expert colleagues, they describe outcomes of their experiments, show how these outcomes support their models and how these ideas can be applied. Which of these two situations is closer to the current view of how teaching-learning process in the school should look like: constructing new knowledge or presenting the knowledge? Once we realize that teaching by telling is terribly inefficient and that learning only occurs when students are actively engaged in the learning process, we also realize that the traditional role of experiments in the schools and in the textbooks is no longer useful. In my talk, I will describe how changes in my own views about the role of physics experiments helped me to see new features of the experiments that would otherwise remain hidden to me. I will show examples of experiments that are used to achieve active engagement of students in the learning processes, experiments that served as a resource for designing new type of problems and experiments that were used as a research tools in PER.