In the last few years the Research Unit in physics education of Udine University worked at national and international level for cooperation research programmes on the following main topics: informal education for the connection from the daily knowledge (of common sense) to the scolastic one; the basis education for science; didactic innovation in scientific teaching; contribution of new technologies; fundation of physics in the last century; formative orientation in the scientific ambit and the related inservice teachers’ training. The national cooperation programmes involve three main referents:

  1. the research units of the Physics Departments in the Italian Universities (FE, MI, MO, NA, PA, PD, PV, RM, TO ) of the MURST40% and of the CNR research programmes in physics education (Fisiss and TIDIFI),
  2. the Centres of the National Conference of the University Centers of Educational and Didactic Research (CONCURED),
  3. the Italian Association for Physics Teaching (AIF). The international cooperations are inserted in the Group International de Recherche sur l’Einsegnement de la Physique (GIREP), in the European Physics Education Network (EUPEN)and in the Forum Europeen de l’Orientation Accademique (FEDORA).

In this context researches carried out in our Unit produced educational proposals for the teaching of the condensed matter (1-6), suggesting the problem of the introduction of quantum physics in secondary school physics teaching (7-11) and the problem of the teachers training (12-15). Curricular units for the conceptual change in mechanics were in particular studied (15-16). A research experimentation on the updating curriculum employing new technologies were carried out (13-17) in this field.
The Centre Laboratory for Physics Education (CLDF) is the place in which these studies are carried out, and where a multipolar analysis of teachers formative needs are performed: researchers carried out by Udine research Unit find there the cooperation and the validation of the school world (14b, 14c). On CLDF is also relayed the CNR research on teachers’ training in telematic net (TIDIFI) for the use of new technologies in physics education, and the research made in the ambit of the Studying and Undersatnding in Physics (SeCiF), which has been object of the MURST cofinancing during the year 1999.
The use of new technologies for experimental work and the modelling in physics were the methodological referents of original educational proposals (18-24) and of the national coordinated research project on the inservice teacher training, now under development (IMOFI).
The experimental activity using low-cost materials, even if realized with new technologies as computer on-line sensors, inspirated also some educational guidance activities for science (25-29).
The realisation of a exhibit with 120 simple experiments to build a bridge between every day experience, produced 4 research lines: a) cognitive, b) curricular, c) planning and realisation of experimental prototypes, d) model for teachers’ training, and promoted the realisation of a multimedia interactive system in telematic net for the study of thermical states and processes (36-37), a small simulation software as a support for didactics (38).
The international research underlines in fact the need of new educational strategies for the conceptual change, capable to realize the transition from common sense to the scientific view of the phenomena (39-40). In particular, there are relevant conditions for learning, facilitated by new technologies (41-42): the immaginative reduction produced by the real time plotting of significant parameters in a phenomenon, the personal involvement in making hypothesis and evaluation of interpretative models, the peer discussion of ideas. The use of new technologies in education involves a deep change of the role of the teacher, of their competencies and of the personal interaction inside the class (43-44).
The central problem is the individuation of teachers’ education models, integrating disciplinar and methodological aspects, in situated way.
Recent studies underline in fact the role of the personal involvement during the professional activity in the activation of the fall up of the process of training in the classroom work (45). The study of these processes is urgent in scientific field, to produce materials able to activate scientific conceptual change (45). New technologies give a great contribute on this plane, offering new learning objectives for the school work (46).
A multimedial learning ambient in a more developped telematic net (47-48) is the referring product for a far-away teachers’ training and in a presence aimed to the didactic innovation in scientific teaching.
Studies done in the last two years were able to produce several types of models for teacher education and for class- work, too (49-53). They have been used in national research sperimentations in the schools (54-57) and underlined the need of integrated modalities for the teachers’ in-service training (56-57) and the different plannings for the laboratory of didactic innovation (58).
A large-scale study (59) underlined the training need of Italian teachers, while a research on the practic of didactic (60) opened new paths of in-service teachers’ training through research. A parallel study on conceptual changement in an informal education ambient (61) was able to focus some important points about basis scientific education. Studies on university didactic valutation (62-63), on superior didactic innovation (64) and on university orientation (65-66) introduce the general problems about university teachers’ training.
Specific disciplinar proposals (67-69) based on sperimental activity and on a multimedial use of computers propose themselves in this context as materials on which it is possible to realize resonace with learning paths.
In the new-born University Course for the Primary Formation and the Specializing School for the Secondary-School Teachers, the results of the researches above are the basis in order to face problems linked to materials and forms of first formation, with a particular regard to the ambits which are not yet explored, such as the basis scientific education and the introduction of modern physics and quantum mechanical in particular. About these subjects we have been able and we are still aknoledging competences for cultural founded proposals, coherent to the formation of the physics teacher.