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Department of Physics

Dr. Katie Hinko
Michigan State University
Katie Hinko
Characterizing the Impact on Participants in Informal Physics Learning Environments

102 Cardwell Hall
April 23, 2018
4:15 p.m. 

Informal physics programs, often known in the physics community as "outreach", are educational efforts where physicists interact with public audiences outside of the physics classroom. These activities have a long history in the physics community and in many university departments. Goals for learners can be content-related, such as demonstrating conceptual understanding and practical skills, as well as affective and identity-related, such as promoting enthusiasm for physics and the development of physics identity. My research addresses questions about the impact of informal physics programs on three main groups of participants: university facilitators (physicists and physics students), public audiences (youth and adults), and partner institutions (universities, departments, community groups, and schools). In this talk, I will describe several ongoing research projects including: 1) the characterization of pedagogical practices of university student educators in informal settings, and 2) shifts to attitudes and identities of university educators from their participation in informal physics programs. Outcomes from these projects can inform university support for and design of both formal and informal physics environments as well as have broad implications for other discipline-specific STEM programming.