David R. Sokoloff

A person wearing a hat and smiling at the camera

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Department of Physics

1371 E 13th Avenue

Eugene, OR 97403-1274

541-221-6543       sokoloff@uoregon.edu


In 2020, David R. Sokoloff was awarded the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) Hans Christian Oersted Medal for his "outstanding, widespread, and lasting impact on the teaching of physics," (Oersted Lecture) and the GIREP Medal (Medal of the Groupe International de Recherche sur l’Enseignement de la Physique). He also received the 2007 AAPT Robert A. Millikan award. He was elected President of the American Association of Physics Teachers in 2008, and completed the four-year leadership cycle, serving as President in 2011. He was awarded the 2010 Excellence in Physics Education Award by the American Physical Society (with Priscilla Laws, Ronald Thornton and the Activity Based Physics Group.) In 2011, he and the Active Learning in Optics and Photonics workshop team were awarded the SPIE Educator Award. In 2011, he was also a Fulbright Specialist in Argentina, and was awarded the Latin American Physics Education Network (LAPEN) Medal. He was a Fulbright Specialist in Japan in 2018.


He is Professor of Physics, Emeritus at the University of Oregon. He began his studies of physics at Queens College of the City University of New York, and went on to earn his Ph.D. in AMO physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1972 under Ali Javan. Prior to his current position, he was a faculty member at Western Illinois University and University of Michigan, Dearborn. He has held visiting positions at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, Tufts University, Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia, and Universidad Nacional de San Luis, San Luis, Argentina, and spent a year as Science Director of WISTEC, the hands-on science center in Eugene, Oregon.


His physics curriculum development work and extensive dissemination efforts are nationally and internationally recognized. For over two decades, he has conducted research into students' understandings of physics, and used the results of this research to develop active learning approaches to enhance student understanding in introductory physics courses. These new curricula, which were developed with longtime colleagues Ronald Thornton and Priscilla Laws, include the four modules of RealTime Physics: Active Learning Laboratories (RTP) and Interactive Lecture Demonstrations (ILDs), both of which are published by John Wiley and Sons. (RTP is now in its Third Edition.) These curricula make heavy use of computer-based laboratory tools for data collection and analysis, were developed with support from the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Education, and are used extensively at the university, college and high school levels. More recent curricula make research-validated use of video analysis and of personal response systems (“clickers”). He has also developed—with NSF funding—active learning lab activities for distance learning using the IOLab device. He has conducted numerous national and local institutes and workshops to disseminate these active learning approaches to college-level and secondary teachers, with support from the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and local sources. During the pandemic, he developed a set of 26 Home-Adapted ILDs—based on the in-class versions—for use by students working virtually at home.


Since 1999, he has been part of a UNESCO team presenting active learning workshops in developing countries. Since 2004, 37 Active Learning in Optics and Photonics (ALOP) workshops have been presented with over 1100 teachers from over 30 countries participating. Among the countries where ALOPs have been held are in Ghana, Tunisia, Morocco, India, Tanzania, Brazil, Mexico, Zambia, Cameroon, Colombia, Nepal, Chile, Algeria, The Philippines, Rwanda, Armenia, Thailand, Ethiopia, Georgia, Indonesia, Mauritius, South Africa, Pakistan, Bolivia, Panama, Peru and Ecuador. He is the editor of Active Learning in Optics and Photonics, the training manual published by UNESCO for use in these workshops. Besides selected activities from RTP and ILDs, his contributions to this manual include a series of optics magic tricks that he has used to teach optics concepts at the college level, to the public, to his sonճ fourth grade class and to first and fourth graders in Australia. He has also presented active learning workshops on optics and other topics in physics in Chile, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, The Philippines, Argentina, Canada, France, Italy, Japan, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Vietnam, Korea, China, Sri Lanka and throughout the U.S.





Selected Publications:


David R. Sokoloff, “Active Learning of Introductory Light and Optics,” Phys. Teach. 54: 1, 18 (2016). VIEW


Erik Bodegom, Erik Jensen and David Sokoloff, “Adapting RealTime Physics for Distance Learning with the IOLab,” Phys. Teach. 57: 9, 382 (2019). VIEW


David R. Sokoloff, “Exploring Multimedia to Adapt Interactive Lecture Demonstrations (ILDs) for Home Use,” To be published 2022 in Physics Teacher Education - What Matters? Proceedings of the GIREP Malta Webinar, November 2020. VIEW


David R. Sokoloff, Ronald K. Thornton and Priscilla W. Laws, RealTime Physics Module 1: Mechanics, Module 2: Heat and Thermodynamics, Module 3: Electricity and Magnetism, and Module 4: Light and Optics, 3rd Edition (Hoboken, NJ, John Wiley and Sons, 2012). VIEW


David R. Sokoloff, Ronald K. Thornton and Priscilla W. Laws, “RealTime Physics: Active Learning Labs Transforming the Introductory Laboratory,” Eur. J. of Phys., 28 (2007), S83-S94. VIEW


Active Learning in Optics and Photonics Training Manual, David R. Sokoloff, ed., (Paris, UNESCO, 2006; Second Printing, 2016). (Version Française, 2008.) VIEW


David R. Sokoloff and Ronald K. Thornton, Interactive Lecture Demonstrations (Hoboken, NJ, John Wiley and Sons, 2004). VIEW


Ronald K. Thornton and David R. Sokoloff, "Assessing Student Learning of Newton's Laws: The Force and Motion Conceptual Evaluation and the Evaluation of Active Learning Laboratory and Lecture Curricula," American Journal of Physics 66, 338-352 (1998). VIEW


David R. Sokoloff and Ronald K. Thornton, "Using Interactive Lecture Demonstrations to Create an Active Learning Environment," Phys. Teach. 35: 6, 340 (1997). VIEW