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Proceedings Paper

Theory and practice: How do we teach our students about light?
Author(s): Katherine Creath
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Paper Abstract

As optical scientists and engineers we have an educational paradigm that stresses passing knowledge from teacher to student. We are also taught to use inductive reasoning to solve problems. Yet many of the fundamental questions in optics such as the topic of this conference "What are photons?" require that we use retroductive reasoning to deduce the possible and probable cause of the observations and measurements we make. We can agree that we don't have all the answers for many fundamental questions in optics. The retroductive reasoning process requires a different way of thinking from our traditional classroom setting. Most of us learned to do this through working in a research lab or industry. With the amount of information and new discoveries to consider, it makes it difficult to cover everything in the classroom. This paper looks at transformational learning techniques and how they have been applied in science and engineering. These techniques show promise to prepare our students to learn how to learn and develop skills they can directly apply to research and industry.

Paper Details

Date Published: 31 August 2007
PDF: 7 pages
Proc. SPIE 6664, The Nature of Light: What Are Photons?, 66640Q (31 August 2007); doi: 10.1117/12.741653
Show Author Affiliations
Katherine Creath, Optineering (United States)
College of Optical Sciences, The Univ. of Arizona (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6664:
The Nature of Light: What Are Photons?
Chandrasekhar Roychoudhuri; Al F. Kracklauer; Katherine Creath, Editor(s)

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