Summer 2021 Free Virtual Conference: PoLS-T Exchange: 'Building a Global Network of High School Physics Teachers'


Wed - Thu, Jun 23 to Jul 1, 1:00pm - 4:00pm


Zoom Meeting

Summer 2021 Virtual Conference: 'PoLS-T Exchange: Building a Global Network of High School Physics Teachers'

Dates: Asynchronous from June 23 and Live June 29 to July 1, 1:00pm - 4:00pm EDT

On June 29-July 1, 2021 Harvard University will host the second annual Physics of Living Systems Teacher Network (PoLS-T) free virtual conference. The 2021 title is ‘PoLS-T Exchange: Building a Global Network of High School Physics Teachers’ in support of high school physics education in the US and around the world. Each conference day will be made up of 2-hour sessions and feature a plenary speaker for 30 minutes followed by 30 minutes of moderated LIVE discussion. The 2nd hour of each day will be a LIVE discussion featuring a panel of speakers of shorter talks that will be shared via Peruasall pre-conference.

The PoLS-T Network has identified 3 areas of focus to be addressed during three free & virtual LIVE sessions from 1pm – 3pm EDT each day; Live networking time from 3pm - 4pm daily is planned. 

  • Why Physics?
  • Everyone is a Physicist!
  • Best Teaching Practices

June 23, Kicking off the Perusall asynchronous viewing & discussion of 15-minute talks. LIVE NOW

These talks will be part of discussions during the second hour of each live day. If you are not already familiar with Perusall, watching talks on Perusall allows engagement in asynchronous interaction with others as you watch.
Videos available now! Set up a free Perusall account and join the PoLS-T Exchange!

June 29, 1-3pm EDT: Why Physics?

Physics is all around us! Physics is a way of thinking about the physical world that can reveal a sense of wonder. This session is about framing physics in everyday experiences that are generally less emphasized in the physics classroom. From cooking, fitness, to the way life is made possible at the molecular level, physics is a way to deepen our connection and appreciation of the physical world.

C Bailey
Plenary Speaker: Crystal Bailey, Head of Career Programs, American Physical Society

Title: Physics for Tomorrow - Empowering Physics Students to Change the World
Synopsis: The term "physicist" can mean many things to many different people. To the public, this word invokes a seeker of deep, fundamental scientific truth; to employers, it means a highly trained and experienced technical problem solver. But what many don't realize is that many of the technologies that have had a major positive impact on human life have originated in the minds of physicists - and that a physics discipline that intentionally centers the science students are learning on ways to impact the world for the better can attract more - and more diverse - physics majors, as well as provide critical professional support for physics graduates. In this talk, I will explore the potential that physics has for creating solutions to major human challenges, and also provide ideas for incorporating professionally relevant concepts that support human-centric design into the physics curriculum.

Speaker Bio:
Dr. Crystal Bailey is the Head of Career Programs at the American Physical Society (APS) in College Park, MD. Crystal works on several projects which are geared towards marketing physics and physics career information to high school students, undergraduates, graduate students and physics professionals. Some of her principal projects include the career events and workshops at APS annual and division meetings, the APS Job Board and Job Fairs, the APS Careers Website, and the recently launched Success in Industry Careers Webinar series. As the principal investigator for the APS PIPELINE project, she also devotes significant amounts of time to integrating meaningful workforce development into undergraduate physics education.

Before coming to the APS, Dr. Bailey did research in nuclear physics at Indiana University, Bloomington in the area of few-body systems. In 2008 she received the Konopinski Award for Outstanding Graduate Teaching from the IU Physics Department. She graduated with her PhD from IU in 2009.

Watch Crystal Bailey's PoLS-T Exchange Talk and Live Discussion on YouTube


June 30, 1-3pm EDT: Everyone is a Physicist!

We are all born physicists. An early exploration and understanding of the world is necessary for our survival. This session is about highlighting who has access to quality formal physics education and exploring how early curiosity about the physical world can be maintained throughout formal education. In addition, this session aims to address the lack of representation in physics and solutions about how to make physics more inclusive.

Plenary Speaker: Latasha Gillespie, Amazon Studios
Talk Title: Everyone is a Physicist!
Synopsis: If everyone is born a physicist, then what are the cultural, societal and systemic barriers that become the gatekeepers that only allow a select few to make it? I want to explore how we begin to examine our own biases and put mechanisms in place to disrupt our thinking so that we can see the physicist in everyone.

Speaker Bio: 
Latasha Gillespie is the Executive Head of Global Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Amazon Studios, Prime Video, and IMDb. In her role, Latasha builds mechanisms to improve diverse representation of talent (in front of and behind the camera, above and below the line); dismantles longstanding barriers to success in the entertainment industry; and tells inclusive stories that are accessible and marketed to a globally diverse audience. Latasha previously led the Global Diversity and Inclusion Organization across Amazon Corporate where she worked with Jeff Bezos and the Board of Directors on Amazon’s DEI Strategies and progress.

Prior to Amazon, Latasha spent 20 years living and working all over the globe in Finance and Human Resources positions with Caterpillar Inc. Latasha was featured in Forbes in 2020; Black Enterprise Magazine named her one of the 2019 Most Powerful Women in Corporate Diversity and she is a 2018 Ebony Magazine Power 100 Honoree. Regularly speaking on stages around the world, Latasha has spoken at Stanford University, the Hollywood Commission, the Recording Academy, the Television Academy, the NFL, the American Black Film Festival (ABFF), and others.

July 1, 1-3pm EDT: Best Teaching Practices

Often, educators teach the way they were taught, in a passive manner that assumes information is simply transferred from the teacher to the students. However, learning requires students to be active when constructing new knowledge. In this session we aim to leverage insights from the learning sciences and research on how students learn to promote best teaching practices!

J Bergmann
Plenary Speaker: Jon Bergmann, Flipped Class Movement Pioneer!
Title: Rethinking Physics Education - How Flipped and Mastery Learning Can Help us Post-Pandemic?
Synopsis: We have all just completed arguably the hardest year in education. We are all exhausted, overwhelmed, and in need of some new ideas. When (and if) we return to face-to-face teaching, how can we rethink how we teach physics to help our students truly learn and to love the beauty, complexity, and workings of the natural world. Join Flipped Learning pioneer and High School Physics teacher, Jon Bergmann as he shares his journey to active learning complete with his mistakes, triumphs, and foibles.

Speaker Bio:
Jon Bergmann is one of the pioneers of the Flipped Classroom Movement and is leading the worldwide adoption of Flipped Learning. Jon is the author of ten books, including the bestselling book: Flip Your Classroom which has been translated into 13 languages. 

Jon has been an educator for 34 years, with 26 years as a classroom teacher. In 2002, Jon received the Presidential Award for Excellence for Math and Science Teaching; and in 2010, he was named Semi-Finalist for Colorado Teacher of the Year. He serves on the advisory board for TED-EducationJon is currently teaching science and leading staff development at Houston Christian High School. You can learn more about him at

Watch the Talks:
The final plenary talks with live discussions, the panel discussions and the shorter talks are all available for viewing via the PoLS-T Network YouTube Channel, link below. The shorter talks can still be watched and shared via Perusall as well. Watching the talks on Perusall allows engagement in asynchronous interaction with others as you watch. Either way, please watch and share these talks freely with colleagues!

PoLS-T Exchange Videos on Two Platforms