Lenses, pinholes, screens, and the eye

The Physics Teacher 01/1991; 29(4):221-224. DOI: 10.1119/1.2343285
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    ABSTRACT: Graphic representations are the main and sometimes the only effective way of communication in the domain of Geometrical Optics. Many of the conceptual difficulties students have in this domain are related to the interpretation of these representations. RAY is an open graphic interface that was designed to address these problems, serving as a teaching aid in class and as a learning environment for students. The program enables the user to create and to control various optical components such as mirrors, lenses and prisms, to produce simulated ray diagrams and to analyze them with a set of graphic tools. Since any optical setup can be easily created and explored, extensive qualitative analysis can be performed during the study, dealing with many examples of ray diagrams. Program design enables the implementation of various approaches to learning and teaching, including the ability to combine the theory and its formal representations with real demonstrations and experiments.
    Computers & Education 06/1993; 20(4):299–309. · 2.63 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This study explored high school and teacher-training college students' knowledge of light, vision and related topics before and after commonly practised instruction. This knowledge was analysed and interpreted in the light of premises for the construction of alternative knowledge by learners of optics. A hierarchical structure was suggested to represent the collective conceptual knowledge of students in terms of facets and schemes of knowledge. ‘Abundance’ and ‘gain’ coefficients permitted quantitative description of the spread and alteration of the facets and schemes. In place of confronting misconceptions individually, schemes provide a basis for the design of more effective methods of instruction to challenge the fundamental patterns of alternative knowledge. Student misconceptions identified in other studies were included for comparison. On the basis of the study, suggestions are made for modifications in curricula to improve optics instruction.
    International Journal of Science Education 01/2000; 22(1):57-88. · 1.23 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Results from an investigation of student understanding of physical optics indicate that university students who have studied this topic at the introductory level and beyond often cannot account for the pattern produced on a screen when light is incident on a single or double slit. Many do not know whether to apply geometrical or physical optics to a given situation and may inappropriately combine elements of both. Some specific difficulties that were identified for single and double slits proved to be sufficiently serious to preclude students from acquiring even a qualitative understanding of the wave model for light. In addition, we found that students in advanced courses often had mistaken beliefs about photons, which they incorporated into their interpretation of the wave model for matter. A major objective of this investigation was to build a research base for the design of a curriculum to help students develop a functional understanding of introductory optics.
    American Journal of Physics 02/1999; 67(2):146-155. · 0.80 Impact Factor