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: 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: Educational research provides information on specific ways in which conceptual changes occur when students learn geometrical optics. Students’ ideas may be represented as clusters of ‘facets‐of‐knowledge’, each cluster specific to an optical setting. When students’ ideas undergo conceptual change these facets of knowledge are transformed. The resulting ‘hybrid knowledge’ incorporates ideas from classroom instruction as well as some beliefs students held prior to instruction. It appears that relevant pre‐instructional knowledge could be described within ‘holistic conceptualization’, while hybrid post‐instructional knowledge may be described in the framework of ‘image projection conceptualization’ (IPC) contrasting with the scientific view elaborated in ‘point to point flux mapping’, conceptualization. The transition from holistic conceptualization to IPC, neither of which is correct, is related to students’ incorrect interpretation of the light‐ray concept. Specific activities are suggested to encourage an accurate approach. Intriguingly, the conceptual change which students undergo appears to be similar to the historical development of optics.
    International Journal of Science Education 01/1996; 18(7):847-868. · 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. · 0.78 Impact Factor