I co-facilitated a physics teacher professional development week here at Hamline a few weeks ago. It was really great talking and working with so many physics teachers! One of the things that came up was the need to help identify weird/old/crazy lab equipment that the teachers tended to inherit when they started new jobs. I thought of how my friend Rhett Allain had a few posts asking people to identify such objects and I realized that we could make a web site where anyone could upload a picture and rough description and hope that others could help them out.
Well, tonight, I have that web page working! I realized that the Physics Problem Database that a few of us connected with the Global Physics Department are building had exactly the infrastructure we needed:
- Ability to upload pictures – check
- Ability to add descriptions – check
- Ability to seek comments/questions – check
- Ability for others to provide solutions – check
So even though the web site was originally designed (and works!) to let teachers share and collaborate on physics problem sets that they can give their students, it also works quite well for this problem.
I hope people find it useful. Unfortunately I don’t have any pics in there yet, but, hopefully, it’ll take off. I ran out of time tonight to add an rss feed for it, but I’ll get that done in the next week or so.
Enjoy! And please let me know if you think of a way to improve it.
Some minor details: You can view that page without logging in. However, to provide comments or solutions, you’ll need to log in. Anyone is welcome and you’re logged in as soon as you fill out the form (no waiting for approval). One of the details we haven’t fixed yet is to redirect you back to the page you were looking for. Instead, after logging in (or registering), you’re taken to the home page. To find the equipment page again, just reload the link above, or hit the “equipment” icon in the left navigation bar.
P.S. Here’s a link to a video of the physics teachers tossing bowling balls in slow motion.