Christel jcdl2011 physics_pathway


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Slide set used by Mike Christel in presenting paper at ACM/IEEE Joint Conference on Digital Libraries, Ottawa, Canada, June 15, 2011

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Christel jcdl2011 physics_pathway

  1. 1. Physics Pathway: A Digital Library Filled with Synthetic Interviews Mike Christel, Scott Stevens, and Dean Zollman Entertainment Technology Center Carnegie Mellon University Presented at JCDL 2011, Ottawa, Canada June 15, 2011
  2. 2. Talk Outline• What are Synthetic Interviews?• What is Physics Pathway?• Field use of Physics Pathway• Conclusions
  3. 3. Synthetic Interviews Interface and indexing technology that allows an individual to have a fluent conversation with a figure as if that person were present in real time
  4. 4. Synthetic Interviews (SIs) for Physics Teaching • Initially, one “Master Teacher” used, but recipients wanted broader representation of opinions • Four in corpus: Roberta Lang, Chuck Lang, Paul Hewitt, Leroy Salary
  5. 5. Physics Pathway: Motivation Teachers relatively new to physics teaching find 1-on-1 interactions with a mentor extremely valuable, but mentors have limited time. SIs provide virtual mentoring.
  6. 6. Physics Pathway: SI and Video Library• Left panel: Synthetic • Right panel: Digital video Interview interface library interface (see (focus of this work) for more details)
  7. 7. Synthetic Interview Interface• 450,365 question variants mapping to 6,598 physics subject or physics pedagogy topics, covered by one to four master teachers in 7,600 video answers• SI interface components – a quick walkthrough…. (try it yourself later at
  8. 8. SI: Query InterfaceInterface into library ofsynthetic interviewsemphasizes “Precision at 1”– Top-rated answer to queryis immediately played tokeep up a fluent dialog
  9. 9. SI: Related Question
  10. 10. SI: Change Teacher
  11. 11. SI: Shortcuts Two menus provide “quick starter” shortcuts identified by KSU physics pedagogical experts and American Association of Physics Teacher (AAPT) workshops to topic areas covered by the digital library
  12. 12. SI: Query History
  13. 13. SI: Feedback
  14. 14. Synthetic Interview Interface• 450,365 question variants mapping to 6,598 physics subject or physics pedagogy topics, covered by one to four master teachers in 7,600 video answers• SI: video playback, related links, choose a master teacher, provide feedback, show what is answered, query area (link to ComPADRE), related questions, past query history, quick questions choices
  15. 15. Fall 2010 Trial with Physics Teachers• 19 high school physics teachers, 14-week trial period• Feedback given on individual responses• Survey computed once a week• 588 visits to web site• Excellent coverage of SI data set to teachers’ queries: only two queries received a default “I don’t have an answer to that” video response (both typos)
  16. 16. Lessons Learned - 1 Source of played videos during sessions: Quick question shortcuts used less than expected
  17. 17. Lessons Learned - 2• Response coverage overwhelmingly seen as appropriate• Relevance good: 67% good or ideal, another 29% appropriate but not personally useful
  18. 18. Lessons Learned - 3 Synthetic interviews validated or reinforced physics teachers’ ideas on their course materials and delivery Question % of Teacher-Weeks Built lesson from ideas in Physics Pathway 4.9% Completely changed lesson plan 2.9% Small changes to lesson plan 12.7% No changes, Physics Pathway reinforced plan 34.3% Did not use ideas from Physics Pathway 38.2%
  19. 19. Access via The Physics Front (NSDL)Physics Pathway is aPartner site accessiblefrom The “A free serviceprovided by the AmericanAssociation of PhysicsTeachers in partnershipwith the NSF/NSDL” – of ComPADREDigital Library in NSDL) Example search: momentum looking at “Partner Results” =federate&FedQuery=momentum&AllSearch=1
  20. 20. Take-Home Message from Paper• Synthetic interviews engage physics teachers in a virtual dialog for continuing education that has been well received in AAPT workshops and KSU-directed field tests• The site is available for use at both and via
  21. 21. CreditsMany members of Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and KansasState University (KSU) contributed to this work, including:KSU Physics Education Research Group: Dean Zollman, BrianAdrian, Chris Nakamura, Sytil MurphyCMU Entertainment Technology Center: Scott Stevens, BryanMaher, Andy Korzik, Xiaoxi Liu, Srinavin NairComPADRE/NSDL Integration: Lyle Barbato, Bruce Mason For more information: Library of physics teaching resources accessible via or directly at This work supported by the National Science Foundation Teacher Professional Continuum Program under Grants 0455772 & 0455813. A preliminary version was supported by NSFs NSDL Program under grants 0226219 & 0226157.