Written in April 2020 by Fabio Di Salvo (@FabPhysics), founder of ChatPhysics.
As the only Physics specialist in my school at the time I started ChatPhysics, I missed the subject specific conversations with colleagues that other teachers were regularly having in larger departments. If I had a question about Physics I had nobody easily available to ask. I discovered that this is a common issue in the UK. A report by the Sutton Trust in 2017 suggested that while some schools have several Physics teachers in their science departments, up to 500 secondary schools have no specialist Physics teachers at all.
For me Twitter has been a huge influence in my career as a teacher. I was finally able to easily meet and speak to other Physics teachers around the world. In February 2019 I put a tweet out to ask if teachers would like a weekly Twitter chat for Physics teachers where we could come together for an hour and share ideas and opinions, and the response to this proposal was incredibly positive. ChatPhysics was born.
After a year of online chats, a ChatPhysics Live conference in London was due to take place in June 2020, for teachers of Physics to give talks, get together, share ideas and best practice, and to meet others in the field. This one day event in London was hopefully going to be the start of many more such events. However due to COVID-19, the conference was cancelled.
While the conference did not go ahead, many of the scheduled speakers kindly offered to record their talk instead. This lead to the birth of the ChatPhysics website that you are reading now, and with it a new stage in the ChatPhysics project.
The ChatPhysics website was launched in April 2020 and is an international collaboration between teachers of Physics. It’s a platform for teachers of Physics to come and share ideas, advice, resources, news and opinions. Contributors are from all over the world and all have different styles and backgrounds, but what is common is that they all have something to share with the Physics teaching community.
Of course this could not have been done without a team of incredibly supportive and positive people from the very beginning, and I cannot thank these people enough. There have also been dozens of voluntary hosts to the weekly Twitter chats and many people who were going to speak at the conference in London for free, and of course my thanks go out to them as well.
This is a very exciting time for ChatPhysics, and I’m very much looking forward to seeing where it goes next.
Fabio Di Salvo, April 2020