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Proceedings Paper • Open Access

Simulation and experimentation supplementing the teaching of basic concepts in optics
Author(s): Lia Maria Zerbino; N. N. Baade; M. E. Lavagna

Paper Abstract

We present a teaching strategy combining computer simulation and laboratories as a way of introducing personalized teaching and considering new communication codes in order to engage students in a dynamic learning process, even in large groups at the university, focusing on a critical approach, adaptability to various kinds of languages and representations, continuous testing of the validity of their hypothesis, their limits and those of the models and solutions suggested, as a way of preparing individuals capable of generating and/or interpreting and applying the science of the third millennium. This is an ambitious idea and, in order to succeed in all that was mentioned above, non-conventional elements, like computers, were incorporated to the teaching process to get the students interested and to motivate them so that they can better interact. The introductory experience involves the design of software about Fresnel Equations and aims to solve conceptual problems that appear when assigning negative values to the amplitudes of electromagnetic waves at an interface. Conceptual implications, like the analysis of changes of phase and amplitude, allow then the understanding of thin film interference phenomena, critical angle, polarization angle... The program is interactive and designed in such a way that the user him/herself has to find out the conditions of the model that is being used, and to interpret and/or predict results on that basis. The experience is complemented with very simple laboratory equipment that allows for hands-on testing of the students' predictions.

Paper Details

Date Published: 16 June 2000
PDF: 6 pages
Proc. SPIE 3831, Sixth International Conference on Education and Training in Optics and Photonics, (16 June 2000); doi: 10.1117/12.388750
Show Author Affiliations
Lia Maria Zerbino, Univ. Nacional de La Plata (Argentina)
N. N. Baade, Univ. Nacional de La Plata (Argentina)
M. E. Lavagna, Univ. Nacional de La Plata (Argentina)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3831:
Sixth International Conference on Education and Training in Optics and Photonics
Jose Javier Sanchez-Mondragon, Editor(s)

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