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UW-River Falls receives NSF Grant to make physics more accessible through short videos

October 3, 2013

UW-River Falls has received a $199,813 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

The program funded by the grant, Video Bridge: Using short direct-measurement videos to bridge the gap between abstracted physics concepts and their applications, seeks to make compelling short videos of real-life situations that illustrate physics concepts such as velocity, acceleration, conservation of momentum and angular momentum.

The program is under the direction of Matthew Vonk, physics professor at UWRF; Ellen Iverson, director of evaluation at the Carleton College Science Education Resource Center; and Peter Bohacek, physics teacher at Henry Sibley High School in Mendota Heights, Minn.

“Video technology has the power to change how young people see and understand the world around them,” Vonk said. “Physics videos are much more engaging to students than traditional written physics problems and allow students to actively investigate situations and scenarios that are simply not practical in most educational settings. We feel strongly that educators should harness the tremendous power of video for pedagogical ends.”

UWRF has a historically strong program in physics. Compared with 261 other public comprehensive institutions nationally from 1976 to 2006, UWRF ranks ninth in sending students on to receive a Ph.D. in physics.

Examples of the types of videos this grant will fund the production of are available at http://serc.carleton.edu/sp/library/direct_measurement_video/video_library.html.
“This grant will allow UWRF to be a national leader in developing creative content that harnesses the new power of technology in the classroom,” Vonk said.
For more information, contact Vonk at 715-425-3235 or matthew.vonk@uwrf.edu.