Investigating Thai Freshmen Students’ Understanding in Five Basic Essential Properties of Laser Beam

By Jintawat Tanamatayarat, Kwan Arayathanitkul, Narumon Emarat and Ratchapak Chitaree.

Published by The International Journal of Science, Mathematics and Technology Learning

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Lasers play an important role in everyday life due to special properties of their emitted light. Students are familiar with lasers not only from lectures or textbooks, but also in real life. The evaluation of students’ knowledge in basic properties of laser beam is essential to understand students’ background. This can be useful in preparing the course and improving student understanding. An assessment instrument consisting of 12 items was developed to investigate 606 freshmen students’ knowledge in five basic properties of laser beam: directionality, beam divergence, intensity, speed, and monochromaticity. The reliability of the test was 0.5 measured by KR-20. The samples consisted of medical science students, science students, and agriculture and law students who participated in general physics courses. The average score from all students was 40%. The highest score was in the “directionality”, while the lowest score was in the “speed of laser light”. Additionally, the science students got the highest scores of 42%, which is still low. These results indicated that even though students were familiar with lasers, they still needed to improve their knowledge.

Keywords: Properties of Laser Beam, Laser, Students’ Background Knowledge

The International Journal of Science, Mathematics and Technology Learning, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp.143-161. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 872.771KB).

Jintawat Tanamatayarat

Lecturer, Department of Industrial Physics and Medical Instrumentation, Faculty of Applied Science, King Mongkut’s University of Technology North Bangkok, Bangsue, Thailand

Jintawat Tanamatayarat, Ph.D. in Physics, Mahidol University, is a lecturer at the Department of Industrial Physics and Medical Instrumentation, Faculty of Applied Science, King Mongkut’s University of Technology North Bangkok, Thailand. He is interested in physics education, laser applications, and forensic science. He is a member of the Physics Education Network of Thailand (PENThai) research group. His current research areas focus on improving students’ understanding on properties of lasers, force and motions, electricity, and magnetism by applying invented demonstration sets through hands-on activity and an interactive lecture demonstration approach.

Asst. Prof. Kwan Arayathanitkul

Lecturer, Department of Physics, Faculty of Science, Mahidol University, Rajathewee, Thailand

Kwan Arayathanitkul, Ph.D. in Physics, the University of Pennsylvania, is an assistant professor at the Department of Physics, Faculty of Science, Mahidol University, Thailand. His major fields of research are laser applications and physics education.

Asst. Prof. Narumon Emarat

Lecturer, Department of Physics, Faculty of Science, Mahidol University, Rajathewee, Thailand

Narumon Emarat, Ph.D. in Applied Physics, the University of Edinburgh, is an assistant professor at the Department of Physics, Faculty of Science, Mahidol University, Thailand. Her major fields of research are applied physics in fluid dynamics and physics education.

Asst. Prof. Ratchapak Chitaree

Lecturer, Department of Physics, Faculty of Science, Mahidol University, Rajathevee, Thailand

Ratchapak Chitaree, Ph.D. in physics, City University, is an assistant professor in the Faculty of Science, Mahidol University, Thailand. His major fields of research are measurement and instrumentation, and physics education.