The LivePhoto Physics Group is creating and evaluating the use of a series of "Interactive Video Vignettes" - short single-topic video expositions that incorporate experimental measurement and analysis activities. These web-based vignettes are being developed as exercises to supplement textbook reading and/or serve as pre-lecture or pre-laboratory activities. Each vignette combines narration, a real-world video segment, and video analysis tools to enable students to master concepts while learning how to collect and analyze data. The video analysis methods can range from simply viewing the spacing between lines on a video frame to applying sophisticated data collection and analysis techniques. By providing an interactive experience outside the classroom, students are able to confront common conceptual difficulties and learn how scientific knowledge is constructed through observation and experimentation. Since Interactive Video Vignettes represent a new genre of learning materials, this group is conducting research on the impact of vignette use on student learning and attitudes. One focus is to identify efficient course management techniques that motivate students to use vignettes productively with a minimum of instructor time.
Interactive Video Vignettes are to serve as a model for other STEM web developers as they create interactive materials involving student use of real-world observations in many venues. These include supplements to classroom work, laboratory experiences, on-line courses, and hands-on science museum experiences. In addition, the project is developing new methods for automated collection of data about how students interact with web-based materials. Such data can assist other developers in automating and streamlining their educational research techniques while engaged in formative and summative research on how students can most profitably interact with web-based materials. These techniques provide new tools for research on how different student populations acquire the conceptual, mathematical, and epistemological knowledge that is essential for understanding science.