I just finished reading an article published in the October 2009 issue of Physics Today by Prather, Rudolph, and Brissenden titled Teaching and
learning astronomy in the 21st century.
As a high school astronomy teacher I have benefited from the techniques mentioned in the article over the past 2 years as I try to figure out how best to get students involved in their own learning.
Essentially what Prather, Rudolph, and Brissenden have been able to show is that when instructors use the right tools an astronomy course can cover difficult and meaningful material even with non-science majors and produce a measurable gain in student knowledge about the topics in question.
Look-Back Time Lecture-Tutorial Question
The lecture-tutorials, concept questions with peer-instruction, along with the general attitude that students should be engaged in the learning process has helped me to have some very fun and productive astronomy classes so far.
I have used the Astronomy Diagnostic Test in class with some success but I haven’t used the newer Light and Spectroscopy Concept Inventory although I will at the start of the Spring semester. Since I’ve never had any professional development or training with these materials I sometimes struggle to use them ...