As a member of the Physics Education R & D Group, Dr. Beichner's research focuses on increasing our understanding of student learning and the improvement of
physics education. Working from a base of National Science Foundation and computer industry support, he created the popular "video-based lab" approach for
introductory physics laboratories, used in more than 10,000 classrooms. A spinoff from the award-winning VideoGraph project was a study of how human's visual
perception of motion can best be utilized in instructional animations. In a separate project, Dr. Beichner and his students have written a series of tests
aimed at diagnosing students' misconceptions about a variety of introductory physics topics. These tests are used by teachers and researchers in high schools
and colleges around the world. He operates the physics community's "clearinghouse" for his and similar
instruments created by others. His biggest current project is the creation and study of a classroom environment supporting interactive, collaborative learning
called SCALE-UP: Student-Centered Active Learning Environment with Upside-down Pedagogies. The approach has been adopted
at more than 100 schools, including MIT, Minnesota, and Clemson. The SCALE-UP project is part of Dr. Beichner's efforts to reform physics instruction at a
national level. One of his more visible efforts along those lines has been the textbook that he co-authored with Raymond Serway. The 5th edition of
"Physics for Scientists and Engineers" was the top-selling introductory calculus-based physics book in the nation, and was used by more than a third of all
science, math, and engineering majors. Several years ago he created the PER-CENTRAL website, establishing an electronic
"home base" for physics education researchers. He is also the founding editor of the APS journal Physical Review Special Topics:
Physics Education Research. For his education reform efforts he was named the 2009 North Carolina Professor of the Year and the 2010 National Undergraduate
Science Teacher of the Year. In 2011 he was named recipient of the McGraw Prize in
Education. Since 2007 he has been the Director of NC State's STEM Education Initiative, with a mission to study and
improve STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education from "K to Gray" in North Carolina and around the world.
Areas of Interest
Gaffney, J., Housley Gaffney, A., & Beichner, R. (2010).
Do they see it coming? Using expectancy violation to gauge the success of pedagogical reforms, Phys Rev Special Topics-Phys Ed Res, 6, 010102.
Ding, L. and Beichner, R. (2009).
Approaches to data analysis of multiple-choice questions, Phys Rev Special Topics-Phys Ed Res, 5, 020103.
Beichner, R., (2009).
Introduction to Physics Education Research, a peer reviewed chapter of
Getting Started in PER, (Henderson, C. and Harper, K., eds.), College Park, MD: Am Assoc of Physics Teachers.
Kustusch, M. B., Gaffney, J., & Beichner, R. (2009).
The real prize inside: Learning about science and spectra from cereal boxes, Phys. Teacher, 47, 7, 450-453.
Gaffney, J., Richards, E., Kustusch, M. B., Ding, L., & Beichner, R. (2008).
Scaling up education reform, J College Science Teaching, 37, (5), 48-53.
Beichner, R., Saul, J., Abbott, D., Morse, J., Deardorff, D., Allain, R., Bonham, S., Dancy, M., & Risley, J. (2007).
The Student-Centered Activities for Large Enrollment Undergraduate Programs (SCALE-UP)
project, a peer reviewed chapter of Research-Based Reform of University Physics,
(Redish, E., and Cooney, P.., eds.), College Park, MD: Am Assoc of Physics Teachers.
Dancy, M. & Beichner, R. (2006).
Impact of animation on assessment of conceptual understanding in physics, Phys Rev Special Topics-Phys Ed Res, 2, 010104.
Ding, L., Chabay, R., Sherwood, B. & Beichner, R. (2006).
Evaluating an electricity and magnetism assessment tool: Brief electricity and magnetism
assessment, Phys Rev Special Topics-Phys Ed Res, 2, 010105.
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