One of the goals of APlusPhysics.com is to provide students with the resources they need to be successful. As I'm sure you can all imagine, as educators we struggle with finding ways to set our kids up for success. And today's students face a wide variety of challenges that hamper their ability to learn through traditional means. Students who aren't in attendance, for reasons that may range from illness to family issues to special needs, are immediately at a disadvantage in technical classes in which content continues to build throughout the year on an ever-expanding foundation. Throw in the challenges of large class sizes (I'm outnumbered by students close to 100:1), and regardless of how much time I'd like to devote to each of my kids, there's no way to meet everyone's needs all the time.
Toward this end, APlusPhysics is designed to provide a "home base," of sorts, for all students to begin to learn to teach themselves. The forums provide an opportunity for discourse and an online student-supported "help desk," of sorts. Plus, any time you can get a student writing about what they know, they're solidifying their understanding and building critical thinking skills. If you can get them to teach others while they're at it, you've really built something special.
"The best way to learn is to teach." -- Frank Oppenheimer
The blog portion of the website is a great way to get students to develop their metacognition, writing about what they do and don't understand, creating an ongoing journal of their learning. It's also a great way to get them to really think about the essential questions in physics, organizing their thoughts to develop "big picture" conceptual understanding of what they're learning, and why.
The main website, under continuous development, houses key material central to each of the supported physics courses. I started my work with the NY Regents Physics Curriculum, first, because I teach multiple sections of that course each year, and the material I develop is directly useful to the majority of my students, and secondly, it's the simplest of the physics courses I teach, which provides a terrific sandbox for me to grow my web development skills, hopefully limiting my struggles to the technical side of web building. Currently, efforts are focused on creating video tutorials for the Regents curriculum, as well as building out the web tutorials and video sections of the Honors Physics course.
I also see APlusPhysics as a great resource for the upcoming introduction of the AP-1 and AP-2 courses, being expanded out of the current AP-B curriculum. Currently it appears many of us AP physics teachers are holding in a quasi-limbo state waiting to understand exactly what will be included in each course, to what level, and how we can best integrate it into our school's offerings to provide the best possible learning experiences that will most benefit our students. But the College Board has been slow to disseminate information, updates promised in the fall have not been received, and the teachers continue to wait, as patiently as we can. My goal is to build up the AP-1 and AP-2 sections of the website so that when final announcements are made, we all have a resource we can turn to and utilize as we re-tool our physics programs.
Finally, I want APlusPhysics to be a repository of materials for educators to share the best of our ideas, activities, challenges and successes. The Forum already has an Educators Only section, but I also want to populate the website with activities we can use to bring physics to life for our students, encompassing everything from projects and challenges to mini-programs such as the Semiconductor Technology Enrichment Program (STEP), providing students an introduction into the world of semiconductors, a discipline quite regularly neglected in high school educational communities despite its profound influence on our daily lives.
So with that, allow me to welcome you to APlusPhysics!
APlusPhysics.com is the creation of Dan Fullerton, in much-appreciated collaboration and conjunction with educators and contributors from a variety of backgrounds. Fullerton holds both bachelor of science and master of science degrees in microelectronic engineering from the Rochester Institute of Technology. He has also completed the Imaging Science Career Development Program at Eastman Kodak Company, a 600-hour corporate graduate program in imaging science, as well as secondary physics education certification from Drexel University.
Fullerton began his professional career as a research scientist in Eastman Kodak's Research Labs, focusing on plasma processing and thin film optics, before migrating to mass production in starting up Samsung Austin Semiconductor's Fab 1 in Austin, Texas. Following several years at Samsung, Fullerton returned to Eastman Kodak as a diffusion and LPCVD engineer, completing his master's degree and the Kodak two-year Image Science Career Development (ISCD) program before assuming management responsibilities as head of the Thin Films Engineering Group in Kodak's Image Sensor Solutions. In 2003, Fullerton joined the faculty of RIT's Microelectronic Engineering department, teaching the undergraduate course "Microelectronics Processing III" and the graduate course "Thin Film Processing" as an adjunct professor, including both online and on-campus sections. Following several years in Thin Films at Kodak, Fullerton transferred to head of the Packaging Engineering Group at Kodak for a change of pace. By this time, however, the teaching bug had sunk in, and in 2008 Fullerton accepted a full-time position as a physics teacher at Irondequoit High School in Rochester, NY.
Educational interests include teaching for transfer and understanding, integrating technology with education, and bringing semiconductor education into the high school lexicon. APlusPhysics.com is a tool aimed at furthering all of these interests. His journey into the world of high school physics teaching is chronicled on the blog Physics In Flux. Personal interests include volleyball, piano, guitar, writing, and, of course, his family. Follow Fullerton on Twitter: @aplusphysics.
Fullerton, Daniel B., "Process Development of a Novel Pseudo Two-Phase CCD Pixel Using Transparent Conducting Oxide Electrodes." Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology, 2003. Print.
Fullerton, Daniel B. (Penfield, NY, US), Summa, Joseph R. (Hilton, NY, US), 2004, Method for Creating a Double Transparent Electrode Pseudo Two-Phase CCD, United States, Eastman Kodak Company, 20040092058.
Fullerton, Daniel B., 2004, Microelectronics III (0305-703-90), RIT.
Kurinec, Santosh; Ewbank, Dale; and Fullerton, Daniel; et. al., "Online Master of Engineering Program in Microelectronics Manufacturing Engineering: A Valuable Resource for Engineers in Semiconductor Industry," 9th International Conference on Engineering Education, San Juan, Puerto Rico, July 2006, TIA1-5.
Jackson, Michael A.; Lewis, Elaine; Fullerton, Daniel; et. al., "Integrating Semiconductor and Nanotechnology Fundamentals into a High School Science Curriculum Module," 40th ASEE/IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference, Washington, D.C., October 2010, Session T2E.
Noschese, Frank; and Fullerton, Dan, "Trolling the Physics Teaching Blogs," The Physics Teacher, Feb. 2011, Volume 49, Issue 2, pp. 127.
Fullerton, Dan. APlusPhysics: Your Guide to Regents Physics Essentials. Webster: Silly Beagle Productions, 2011. Print.
Fullerton, Dan; and Bonner, David, "Additional Crime Scenes for Projectile Motion Unit," The Physics Teacher, Dec. 2011, Volume 49, Issue 9, pp. 554-556.
Fullerton, Dan. Honors Physics Essentials: An APlusPhysics Guide. Webster: Silly Beagle Productions, 2011. Print.
Fullerton, Dan. Physics: Fundamental and Problem Solving. Webster: Silly Beagle Productions, 2012. iBookStore.
Fullerton, Dan. The Ultimate Regents Physics Question and Answer Book. Webster: Silly Beagle Productions, 2013. Print.
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