Project leaders Ben Zwickl and Kelly Martin were both invited to Atlanta, Georgia to present at the American Association of Physics Teachers 2017 Winter Meeting. This four-day-long meeting brings together high school and higher education faculty that have an interest in teaching physics. It gave AAPT members, colleagues, and future physicists the opportunity to participate in physics workshops, meet other physics educators, network on a national scale, learn the most recent resources and innovation, and share results from their own research.
Martin gave a talk on how teaching basic visual communication concepts can help students better understand and communicate their findings. This involves using very simple principles of design and communicating in very deliberate ways. She had originally covered this information in 2015 at Beyond the First Year Lab Conference in College Park, Maryland and due to the receptive audience, she was invited to speak at the AAPT 2017 Winter Meeting. For this later talk, she was able to present recent evidence, gathered by herself and Dr. Tracy Worrell, that showed how using certain design principles resulted in graphics that viewers found to be more enjoyable and easier to read.
Zwickl’s talk was a general overview of several recent efforts in physics and science education to focus more explicitly on developing students’ communication abilities as a core of science courses. POWER’s workforce-related research on technical and communication skills in workplaces was tied into the talk. He also served on a sub-committee of the AAPT Committee on Laboratories that developed the recommendations and led the sub-sub-committee that wrote on communication skills.