Hands-on experimental and computer laboratory in optics: The Young double slit experiment

TitleHands-on experimental and computer laboratory in optics: The Young double slit experiment
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsGhalila, H., A. Ammar, Y. Majdi, S. Lahmar, Z. Dhaouadi, M. Zghal, Z. Ben Lakhdara, and V. Lakshminarayanan
Conference NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering; Optics Education and Outreach V 2018
Date Published22 August 2018
KeywordsActive learning, Artificial intelligence, High level languages, Learning systems, Numerical experiments, Numerical methods, Numerical models, Open source Python, Open source software, Open sources, Optics simulations, Peer teaching, Physical optics, Physical optics., Students, Teaching

Teaching optics to small groups of students allows them to share ideas and leads to discussions, which will enable them to understand concepts better. This is a form of peer teaching/evaluation. This group dynamic favors creativity and inhibits obstacles to learning and understanding due to shyness, and other psychological factors. In addition, this paradigm allows the learner to be an active participant in the learning process rather than a passive recipient of knowledge as in the traditional lecture based teaching methodology. The project proposed here is based on both experimental and numerical approaches. Groups of students will be using simple and inexpensive equipment in a hands-on way. Additionally using numerical tools with open source environments such as the Python programming language allows one to perform numerical experiments. These two approaches are perfectly complementary; indeed the experiments favor observations and measurements and on the other hand numerical modeling favors abstraction and familiarization of mathematical formalisms of the optical phenomena. We propose a pedagogical methodology "Active Learning in Simulating Optics" (ALSO), where the active learning method is used not only for hands on experimentation while numerical modeling facilitates development of computer codes wherein students can design their own experiments. Mixing these two approaches, experimentation and simulation, is also very well adapted in working within projects for the elaboration of a new tools for teaching. This ALSO methodology will be presented along with results from workshops utilizing this technique. © 2018 SPIE.