ICPE 2000, Barcelona August 26-27

Attending: Sahm, Krotov, Redish, Tibell, Zhao, McFarland, Ogborn, Pak, Talisayon, Vicentini, Sere

By invitation: Black, Ryu (for Hyodo), Jossem

Absent: Seretlo, Hamburger, Hyodo, Lillethun, Raither


1. ICPE Medal

1.1. Award of the ICPE Medal

Paul Black has been nominated for the ICPE medal.  After a brief discussion, the members in attendance voted unanimously to support this award.  The award will be presented to him at the GIREP banquet on Thursday.  The citation reads as follows:

Citation for the Presentation of the ICPE Medal to Professor Paul BLACK, Kings College, London, UK Barcelona - Thursday, August 31, 2000

“Professor Paul Black, born on September 10, 1930 is awarded the ICPE medal because his re-markable contributions to physics education have been outstanding and international in their scope and influence, and have extended over a considerable period of time.

He started his scientific career in Cambridge and in Birmingham, in the beginning focussing on crystallography. But as a lecturer and reader in physics he became more and more interested in educational problems and then switched to this challenging scientific field. As a Professor of science education at Chelsea College, later at Kings College, London, he became a world wide recognised authority in science education. He was active and successful as a researcher and dis-tributed his ideas as an author and as an editor, as well. Assessment and testing have been a special focus of his work over years.

Because of his competence he took the lead in several science curriculum projects sponsored by the Nuffield Foundation, he was director of several research and development projects and co-directed the work in science of the UK government's national survey of school science perform-ance for ten years (1978 to 1988). He served on the Research Grants Board of the UK Economic and Social Research Council and was chair of the Task Group on Assessment and Testing in 1987/88 which advised the Education Minister on the new policy for national testing.

But there were not only national activities. He has been successful, too, when working in an in-ternational frame, in this way influencing and bringing forward the cause of physics education world wide. So he served as consultant to the O.E.C.D. project on Innovation in Science, Mathematics and Technology Education. For six years (1993 to 1999) he was chair of the Inter-national Commission on Physics Education and Vice-President of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics from 1996 to 1999. For the same time (!996-99) he was a member of the US National Academy of Science Board on Testing and Assessment.

Currently, he is a visiting Professor at the School of Education at Stanford University, California, director of a U.K. project on developing formative assessment practices in school, and for a joint Stanford-King's project on formative assessment in science funded by the National Science Foundation. Last but not least, he is a member of the National Academy of Science Committee on the Cognitive Foundations of Assessment.

Summarising Paul Black's activities, he may be characterised as an ambassador of physics edu-cation who enjoys an extremely high reputation among the scientific community. His published ideas as well as his contributions to national and international policies in science education have a lasting influence to the development of physics education.”

The certificate that accompanies the medal reads as follows:

"The Medal of the International Commission on Physics Education of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics was established in 1979 for the purpose of recognizing contributions to international physics education which are "major in scope and impact and which have extended over a considerable period." At its meeting in Barcelona in August 2000 the International Commission on Physics Education awarded its medal for excellence to Paul J. Black.

Throughout his long career Paul Black has devoted himself unstintingly to the cause of science and of physics education. Through his work as a researcher, as a teacher, as an author and as an editor he has made seminal contributions to the literature, and through his leadership in international physics education organizations he has been most influential in advancing the cause of physics education world wide"

A certificate and a copy of the ICPE medal have been prepared by Jossem.  The commission expresses its gratitude to Prof. Jossem for this effort.

1.2. Design of the ICPE Medal

No more copies of the previous medal were available and Jossem had to have his medal copied in order to produce the one for Black.  The commission discussed whether we wanted to continue using the previous format or to make a change.  Jossem showed some samples of other medals and possible designs.  The decision on a new medal was tabled for next year.  Commission members should consider the issue in preparation for a discussion at the next meeting.

2. Introduction

2.1. Welcome and Mandate

The Chairman welcomed the new commission members and described the mandate of the commission .

2.2. Introduction of the Commission

2.3. Agenda and Minutes

The agenda was approved.  The 1999 minutes were previously distributed on the web to the previous commission and were approved.

3. Reports on Conferences

            3.1. Guilin, August 1999 (Zhao reporting)

The conference was attended by 210 participants including 117 domestic and 93 international coming from 20 countries.  This was the largest international conference on physics education ever held in China.  The Proceedings have been published and are available for purchase.  Table of contents and ordering information are available at the web site: Web page for Guilin Conference:  Proceedings and Order Information http://www.ipe.gxnu.edu.cn.  Copies were distributed to the commission members who had not received them previously.

            3.2. Malvern, England, September 1999 (Tibell reporting)

A pre-meeting of the EPS for trends in education was held to improve knowledge of the Forum on Education among members of European physical societies.  27 of the 37 presidents of national societies attended. A booklet was produced, entitled “Securing the Future of Physics”.  The European Physical Society has now decided to give education the same format as other divisions. The new Division on Education will
have two sections, one for university and the other for pre-university physics education. The European Physics Education Network, EUPEN, is associated to the Division, as is also EMSPS, the European Mobility Scheme for Physics Students. Representatives of each national physical society will constitute contact groups for the boards of the two sections.

            3.3. VII Inter-American Conf., Porto Alegre, Brazil, July 2000 (Jossem reporting)

About 130 people, devoted to teacher education, with participation from almost every North, South, and Central American country.  The proceedings will be published.  The conference organizer copied and reprinted Physics 2000 and distributed them.  The conferences recur every 3 years, but at present a venue for the next conference has not been decided.

            3.4. Japan-China Symposium, Tokyo, August 2000 (Ryu reporting)

Last one held in Nanjing in 1997.  The conference was attended by 31 participants from China and 85 from Japan.  The conference focused on laboratory education at the university level.  A few high school teachers attended.  The plan is to continue this conference every 3 years.  All papers are in English, so participants from other nations are welcome.  A group of young students were selected to provide translation between Chinese and Japanese participants.  Proceedings will be published in December. 

            3.5. AAPT Guelph, August 2000 (McFarland reporting)

The American Association of Physics Teachers met in Canada.  The meeting was attended by 1200 participants with attendees from 17 different countries. 

            3.6. Ibero-America Conf., Havana, Cuba, January 2000 (Vicentini reporting)

Total participation of ~75 including both high school and university teachers.  Most participants were from Cuba and Spain with a few from other Latin American countries.  The meeting was help in Spanish. 

4. Future Conferences


            4.1 IUPAP Criteria for Sponsorship

The Chair reviewed the conditions IUPAP require for sponsorship.  These include

Conferences are submitted to us for approval (usually with prior approval from the IUPAP Liaison committee of the country involved). We decide on approval and prioritizing and submit a list of approved conferences to the IUPAP Council, which makes the final decisions on approval and funding.

4.2.    Creating New Conferences

In the past few years we have received few applications for conferences.  In many cases, ideas for conferences have not been realized because of the inability to receive sufficient funding from their own nations, especially in 3rd world areas.  Krotov suggested that we put forth an effort to get IUPAP to consider providing special funding for education conferences.  In many cases proposals for conferences have not been implemented because of the inability of the proposers to obtain sufficient funding in their own countries, especially in third world areas. (Unfortunately, Lillethun, Seretlo, and Hamburger all were unable to attend.) 

Jossem reviewed activities of previous commissions that were proactive in creating conferences.  The commission returned to these issues at various points in the subsequent discussion.  One idea was to extend on the idea of the role of Cultural Contexts in physics education as a recurring theme, explored in a variety of venues.  Some suggestions for appropriate environments were Russia (Krotov), Israel (Ganiel), South Africa (Smit), and Europe (Ferdinand and Lillethun).  In the European venue, two cultural issues are relevant: the ongoing “harmonization” of education and educational credentials in the European Union and the relation of European countries and their former colonies. 

4.3.    Computer and Information Technology in Physics Education,
Manila December 2001 (Talisayon reporting)

This conference has already been recommended by us last year and approved for support by IUPAP.

4.4.    Teaching and Learning of Physics in Cultural Contexts,
Cheongwon, Korea, August 2001 (Pak reporting)

The conference has a diverse advising committee from a dozen different countries.  There will be a pre-session and a post-session including school and cultural visits relating to physics and physics education.  They are planning for about 300 registrants.  The commission was very supportive of the idea of focusing a conference on the role of cultural issues.  The commission unanimously approved the support of this conference.

4.5.    Colloquium on Physics and Technology for Africa (C13),
Trieste, January 2001 (Sahm reporting)

Commission C13 (Development) is helping to organize a meeting in Trieste next year.  We do not have to approve, but we are asked to agree.  They have a standing program for physics education (run by Denardo) and support both from the Italian government and UNESCO.

It was asked what role this commission could play.  It was mentioned that current members (Seretlo or Sér) Séré) or former members (Lillethun) could play a role.  Tibell suggested Karl Erik Ericson and Black said he could suggest more as individuals who could contribute.

The commission supported this conference. 

5.        Publications

5.1.    Physics 2000

The book was conceived by Paul Black in a previous commission meeting and organized by him.  Len Jossem and Gordon Drake assisted with the editing.  It contains summaries of the state of physics at the millennium from each commission.  500 copies have been printed and 400 distributed.

Black expressed a desire to revise the current version of Physics 2000 to make some of the items more accessible to high school physics teachers.  He suggested that the commission members read through each of the chapters and send their list of the chapters that need re-writing to the Secretary.  He will then forward those voted to be problem chapters to the Chair.  A glossary of technical terms should also be provided.  Jossem reported that there have been requests to translate Physics 2000 into other languages, particularly Spanish and Chinese.

Jossem has put Physics 2000 on a website which has received several hundred downloads in the time it has been up.  There is a link to it on the IUPAP website.  The information about the website will be distributed to the attendees at the GIREP meeting.

It would be a good idea to repeat the exercise after 5 years or so.

The commission expressed its gratitude to Black and Jossem for their efforts on this book.

5.2.    ICPE / IUPAP CD (Jossem)

Jossem has prepared a CD with the ICPE and IUPAP information on it.  This includes a digital version of the first ICPE Newsletter.  He expects to digitize all subsequent newsletters and to include them.

The commission expressed its gratitude to Jossem for his dissemination efforts.

5.3.    ICPE Newsletter (Talisayon)

Two problems with the Newsletter.  There has been a difficulty in obtaining articles.  Vicentini suggested a series of articles on physics and culture.  Tibell encouraged a continuation of the series on the physics of toys.  The second difficulty is the cost.  The funds provided were $US 3213.  Printing costs were $US 1615 and mailing $US 1750.  The mailing cost needs to be reduced.  Perhaps it would be enough to have it on the web and send email announcements for most people.  Or perhaps it would suffice to send it by sea mail.

Some new assistant editors are sought to assist Talisayon.  McFarland, Pak, and Sere agree to help.

5.4.    Web Pages (Redish)

The web site will be redesigned.  A call was put out for useful information that could be linked on the website.

5.5.    Future Publications

Jossem reported on the dissemination of the ICPE book “Connecting Research in Physics Education with Teacher Education.”  He has distributed hundreds of copies on disk and the website has received over 68,000 hits from countries all over the world over a period of two years — 3/30/98-4/1/2000 (total — each chapter counting separately).  Two former commission members in Brazil are working on a translation into Portuguese.  Andree Tiberghien is in charge of the French translation and it is still under construction.  The translation in Spanish has been begun by two PhD students in Venezuela and is expected to be done in the next few months.  It was decided that Sahm should approach Tiberghien to determine the status of the French version.

Black reported on the Higher Education Learning Project.  A study in the UK in the 1970s produced 4 books (now long out of print and out of copyright): on small group teaching in undergraduate science, laboratory teaching in undergraduate science, on individual study, and on student reactions to undergraduate science (a research study).  Although the titles say “science” all the examples are drawn from physics.  These books are full of practical ideas and are still valuable.  All 4 are now on the web at http://nova.ed.uidaho.edu/library/archives.asp.

Tibell reported on another IOP project, 4 little booklets entitle “Shaping the Future.”

A small book on classroom assessment by Paul Black and Dylan William, “Inside the Black Box”, has been digitized by Jossem and should be put up on our website.

Black has an idea for a new ICPE book as a follow on to the existing book: one consisting of sample lessons illustrating “best practice”, annotated and illustrated to the cognitive and educational principles discussed in the book.

Vicentini suggested an ICPE book on helping to guide research in physics education.  Jossem elaborated with a suggestion that encouraging international ICPE sponsored conferences focused on PER, might be extremely valuable.

6.        Associate Members 2001-2003

The terms of the associate members are staggered from those of the full members by one year and the new commission has the opportunity of recommending names of associate members to the appointing IUPAP committee.

Nominations included Siegbert Raither (UNESCO), Vivien Talisayon (AASPEN), and Guillieno Denardo (Secretary of C13).  The commission approved these nominations by email within the last few months and IUPAP has agreed to appoint them. 

7.        Next ICPE Meeting

The options are the Korea or the Philippines meetings.  The timing of the Philippines meeting is too late for presenting decisions to the IUPAP council in October.  The council agreed to meet in Korea on August 11-12, 2001.

8.        Links to Scientific Bodies

8.1.    IUPAP (Sahm and Black reporting)

The IUPAP Council will meet in Beijing in October.  The Philippines conference has already been approved.

The Council will consider revision of statutes and bylaws of IUPAP.  The nomination and election time scale may change.  The council will elect the new commissions when the general assembly meets every three years.   The next will be in Berlin in October 2002.  (Our own Juergen Sahm will be in charge of organizing this meeting.  Good luck Juergen!)  We can nominate prospective members for the next commission.  We can decide this at the next ICPE meeting in Korea.

At its meeting next year, the Council of IUPAP will look at lists of nominations of each commission.  They will then propose a slate of exactly the number needed to the General Assembly.  Names come to them from two sources: from the liaison committees of the individual countries, and from the commissions.  There are often political appointees who have not attended the meetings.  Therefore, it is very important that we put in a well-balanced and strong list — and that we try to assure those people get nominated by their liaison committees.  In the General Assembly itself, there are nominations from the floor (by heads of liaison committees, commission chairs, or members of the council.  A second is required.) and political considerations may come into effect.

8.2.    ICS (formerly ICSU) (Sahm and Black reporting)

We have been trying to get IUPAP to re-animate an interaction among chairs of the educational commissions from different scientific unions.  This was eliminated a few years ago in exchange for the Commission in Capacity Building (CCB).  Their grandiose plans have collapsed for inability to raise funds.  There was some partial agreement to recreate a meeting group that would meet together when CCB met.  CCB would continue to focus on primary science.  The Union Commissions would focus on post-primary education.  Paul Black was nominated but has not heard that he has been appointed.  There will be a meeting in Beijing in November.

Paul got a good reaction from the representatives of education commissions in other sciences.  Perhaps we should take independent action.  Sahm will discuss the issue with Richter in early October.

8.3.    EPS (Tibell reporting)

The European Physical Society (EPS) in 1993 established a Forum on Education to link university physicists and schools.  a lot of interest. Their first public efforts were a session at the Sevilla EPS conference, Trends in physics; participation in the jury for a European competition concerned with pre-university physics textbooks; and teacher exchanges. Details about the EPS eductional programs may be obtained from their web site: http://www.nikhef.nl/~ed/EDUCATION/.

In 1999 they held the Malvern conference which had an impact on the national physical society leaders.  The EPS executive committee decided to suggest that education be taken more seriously by the society and the EPS Council agreed to create an Education Division. An associated network, EUPEN, works on the issue of university physics education.  Finally, there is the European Mobility Scheme for Physics Students (EMSPS).  200 European physics departments are exchanging students for from 3-4 to 10 months.  There are no fees for the exchanging students and priority lodgings are found for them.  (Approximately 400 students have participated in this program.)  The president of the new Division of Education is Aart Kleyn, the chair of the pre-university section is Tibell, the university section chairman is Urbaan Titulaer and Ferdinande heads EUPEN.

8.4.    ASPEN (Talisayon and Ryu reporting)

The Asian Physics Education Network (ASPEN) is still very active with support from UNESCO.  The ASPEC UNESCO reform course in Chinese is being tested.  There was an Interactive Physics Environments workshop in Korea last July. 

8.5.    GIREP

The GIREP web site at http://www.girep.org has an address by Manfred Euler that outlines the current situation at GIREP.

9. Reports from the Working Groups

9.1. Group A: Resource Collection (Redish reporting)

The project, started in previous years, to get teachers’ (and pre-service teachers’) responses to ICPE conference papers was continued by Sere.  She had 8 of her students (6 primary and 2 secondary teachers) review the Duisburg proceedings.  About a dozen talks were selected as interesting.  These will be added to the collection from previous meetings.  Redish agreed to get permissions and put the selected talks up on the web.  In the full meeting of the committee, Vicentini, Talisayon, Pak, Sere, and Tibell said they would try to get teachers’ responses to the Guilin proceedings.

The working group discussed the issue of “front end” or “user interface” for the list of papers.  Sere’s teachers felt that given the large number of papers in each conference and the arrangement of the table of contents, that it was quite difficult for them to find papers that were relevant for their interests.  The group decided to begin by writing “one sentence overviews” of the selected papers and then trying to find sets of parameters or characteristics that would help teachers get to the papers they need.  Black suggested that this exercise might lead to guidelines for conference organizers as to ways of presenting tables of contents that would make proceedings more accessible.

The group also discussed the possibility of other resources that might be valuable.  A number were mentioned including PIRA lists of demonstrations in the USA, the BASE collections “Science Teachers Handbooks”, and the NSTA booklets “What research has to say to the science teacher.”  MacFarlane, Ogborn, and Redish agreed to look into the possibilities of obtaining access to these materials respectively.  

9.2. Group B: Help to Developing Countries (Talisayon reporting)

Decided to adopt suggestions on Newsletter.  To generate articles to have national contact persons in charge of making connections to their respective countries. 

The group will try to create an “ICPE course network” distance-learning experiment in Korea, China, Japan, and Philippines using the web.  Common courses will use real-time electronic networking for in-service teachers.  (Tibell commented that there is a Baltic network using these techniques.)  Want to press on freedom to translate in order to increase availability.  A proposed policy is that translation would be allowed under the condition that an ICPE member would check the translation and that it would not be sold. 

The group suggests that at international physics education conferences there be some opportunity to visit local educational facilities.  Also, conferences should put the titles and abstracts of the articles in their proceedings up on their web pages and their should be a link to them from the ICPE website.

9.3. Group C: Topics of Future Conferences and Publications (Tibell reporting)

The group was enthusiastic about an idea for a summer school for research in physics education with the theme: What are the important issues in physics education research?  There is an opportunity to do something like this in Italy on Lake Como where the Varenna summer schools have been held by the Italian Physical Society.  The number of participants is restricted to about 60.  Vicentini commented that there might be some difficulty in getting the IPS to agree.  Ogborn reported that the Science Education summer schools just started from the grass roots even without support.

The question of science literacy was raised as a possibility for a conference and the names of two possible organizers were mentioned.  Tibell will approach them.

The question of physics vs. science teaching was discussed.  For primary teaching, science is more unified and children think more in terms of things rather than fields.  This could be an interesting conference topic.

Further suggestions concerned the rather heterogeneous field of training
school teachers as well as the sometimes controversial issue of in-service
training for university teachers.