PROMOTING THE PHYSICS LABORATORY WITH LAB2GO
Sapienza Università di Roma & INFN-Sez. di Roma (ITALY)
About this paper:
Conference name: 9th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 3-5 July, 2017
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Abstract:We observed that many secondary schools have some kind of physics laboratory, but its is often not used both because lack of experience, lack of knowledge, instruments unavailability and/or not working devices.
We then promoted an activity aiming at building a deeper knowledge of the techniques and the instruments available in such laboratories, foreseeing the possibility that existing instruments and experiences in a given school can be transferred, even temporarily, to another in the same region. Moreover, the experience gained during the first phase of the project will stimulate teachers to use their laboratories in schools.
The project, named LAB2GO, consists of three phases: in a first phase 18 schools were selected to provide an inventory of the devices found in their laboratory. The inventory is done by about 15 students per school coordinated by one or more teachers with the help of a physics student or post-doc. The details of the instruments found in the laboratory is inserted into shared spreadsheet.
Few times per year students meet at our University to realise web pages containing an accurate enough description of the instruments found in their laboratory. The idea is to have a short general description of a given object accompanied, if needed, by more detailed information about the usage of the particular device found in each school. In this way, each teacher in each school knows what is available, which is the purpose for each device and how to operate it exactly (e.g. what to connect to what, which voltage range can be used with a given electrical instrument, how to mount the experiment, and so on). This operation is done on a dedicated web server and information provided is open to everyone.
The second phase consists in testing and documenting specific experiments made with the devices listed in the system. Again, the documentation is usually sufficiently general, but it is possible to add specific practical guides about how to reproduce the experiment in a particular school, using the devices available there. The documentation of the experiments is provided again by the students of that schools, supervised by their teachers.
In the third phase we will design a tool that can be used by teachers in a school to request the loan of a given device from another school, keeping track of each step in the process.
The project is still in the first phase, but it already seems quite successful: the laboratory practice has been increased in the involved schools, students are more passionated with physics and they are learning new technologies such that databases and the usage of online tools. The involved students could act as technicians or helpers during the execution of experiments and new skills can be easily transferred to other teachers.
Keywords: Physics laboratory, sharing, documenting.