Technology in physics class: What is the impact of technology and the implementation of programming to a physics class in secondary school?
Technology has entered the Physics class and it is being used to support gaining conceptual knowledge and skills necessary in today’s highly digital world. In this action research study, I investigate the effects Programming and Technology may have on a secondary school Physics class and implications. The impact can reflect in both student grades and student perception of class work and programming activities. Programming is found in national and international curricula. I identify methods of introducing programming and leveraging it within Physics classes in Secondary School. Technology and Computational Physics will be the main areas of investigation. The paper emphasizes the current use of technology and its impact on teaching (from a teacher’s perspective) and learning (from a student perspective). The practical part is a research study with an initial goal of finding out if introducing Programming in Physics lessons will work or not. During the school year 2018-2019 I changed the way in which I taught “mechanics” topics, to include Programming. The change took place only in one of the two parallel Pre-IB Physics (vg1) classes in my school. The other Pre-IB Physics class attended regular Physics lessons, and although it had the same content, it did not include any Programming. The Programming lessons were both followed by questionnaires, reflecting students’ participation in the lesson. The test at the end of the unit was identical for both groups. Findings show that although the median and the average score for the students that used Programming in their Physics classes is higher, the difference is not statistically significant. If examination scores show no measurable statistically significant difference, surveys reflect positive outcomes, enthusiasm and benefits of using Programming in Physics lessons. The findings are shared with the management of the school and all teachers in the science department. I want to continue and explore ways to teach other topics in Physics with programming as a supportive tool. The impact would not be limited to the teaching of just one topic, but it is limited to a small class.