• Schuyler Colquitt

Teacherpreneur physics program presents at Harvard, NSF sponsored conference

The Innovation Hub is excited to share that Teacherpreneur alumna, Marcie Williams, will be collaborating with Harvard University and the National Science Foundation (NSF) this Tuesday, July 14 at 11:15 a.m. as she presents her work from her Teacherpreneur program, Physics EDU, at their national conference of physics teachers. The conference, Building a Network to Support and Improve High-School Physics Education, focuses on bringing together high school physics teachers, administrators, and methodology experts in order to highlight best practices in physics education and to support recruitment and retention of high school physics teachers so that capacity can be increased. “The goals of this workshop are critically aligned with my goals in starting Physics EDU, and I am so excited to be participating,” shared Williams. “I hope to bring back many new ideas to my fellow physics teachers. I also hope that I can inspire other physics teachers around the country to develop their own local networks of physics teachers.

Marcie’s journey started six years ago, when she began her new career as a high school physics teacher. Williams quickly discovered that if she was going to become the exceptional physics teacher she strived to be, she was going to need more teacher development and training. Her college classes provided excellent preparation for the physics content, but they did not prepare her with methods for teaching that content to high school students. “I was so blessed to receive a grant from Public Education Foundation (PEF) and Fund for Teachers that enabled me to attend a three-week, eight-hour per day course at Arizona State University aimed at training physics teachers,” shared Williams. “This course truly transformed how I teach physics. I feel very strongly that other teachers deserve an opportunity to attend high quality professional development that targets teaching methods in their subject area specifically. In Tennessee, there was no such program available.

In addition to Marcie’s opportunity with Fund for Teachers, the support of a grant and infrastructural support from PEF’s Teacherpreneur gave her the ability to begin her venture into innovative teacher leadership and bring her program, Physics EDU, to fruition during the 2019-2020 school year. This free program is offered to public and private school physics teachers throughout Southeast Tennessee and Northwest Georgia. Physics EDU focuses on providing low tech solutions that educators can implement immediately in their classroom, without needing to buy expensive lab equipment. “We were able to hold two workshops during the 2019-2020 school year and reach over 18 different physics teachers from seven counties and four private schools,” said Williams. She conducted a follow-up survey, and 80% of the teachers who attended Physics EDU indicated schools and districts did not offer professional development aimed specifically at physics teachers. After she led the training, teachers indicated they were going to use more group discussions, focus on inquiry vs. lecture, and increase the rigor in their courses.

To learn more about the Harvard University and NSF sponsored physics conference this week, including watching the livestream of Marcie’s July 14 event, please visit http://wp.me/P3qDa4-ID.

Marcie will also be hosting an upcoming virtual version of Physics EDU on August 8, 2020. Please contact her at williams_marcie@hcde.org if you are a physics teacher who would like to attend. The focus of the program will be on virtual methods for teaching physics.

*If you are a Hamilton County Schools educator, media specialist, coach or counselor who has an innovative idea, like Marcie, that you'd like to implement in your school, apply for Teacherpreneur 7.0 by July 22, 2020!

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