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DEMONSTRATION EXPERIMENTS SUPPORTED ON VIDEO EXAMPLES AS A USEFUL TOOL IN TEACHING PHYSICS

As it is well known, electricity and magnetism are main subjects in order to obtain physics degrees at every University around the world. In our extensive experience teaching these subjects we have dealt with the usual difficulties, both for students learning the different contents and for educators. Most difficulties arise from the excessive use of mathematical terminology, leading to problems in understanding the underlying physics or to misconceptions.

In this sense, the intrinsic experimental character of physics is worth being considered in order to clarify certain basic concepts and etch them in students’ minds. In addition to usual lab sessions, where students carry out several targeted experiments, demonstrations performed by teachers have proved to be a powerful tool for this purpose. In these sessions the procedure is split in three different steps: firstly, the teacher shows a concrete phenomenon prior to a collaborative discussion among the students, which takes place in order to understand the observed experiment. Finally, the educator explains in detail the involved physical concepts.

Furthermore, the use of certain new technologies has been revealed as a very useful tool for teaching these subjects. As an example, several experiments can be recorded as different video files, and let them available for students on an online platform. Therefore, the students can visualize the experiment and the attached explanations at any moment, which also serves as a remembrance of the demonstration experiments, leading to learning enhancement.

For this purpose our group have prepared a wide group of experiments in different areas such as electrostatics, magnetism and induction phenomena by using simple and, in most cases, easy to acquire materials. These experiments have been carried out in front of students of many diverse levels, such as postgraduate, undergraduate (of different courses), secondary school students, and even secondary school teachers. In addition, these experiments have been recorded by our group in order to give a bigger support to those exhibitions. The results confirm the usefulness of these techniques, showing that the use of a more enjoyable tool leads to a best comprehension of the main physical concepts, and also increases students’ interest in this science, which is in many cases revealed by their wish to obtain the degree. Finally, video recordings of demonstration experiments can be proposed as a collaborative work for students preparing their theses.