ICT Literacy in Physics

Compiled by Dr. Lesley Farmer, California State University Long Beach


Association of College & Research Libraries. (2006). Information literacy standards for Science/Engineering/Technology: 

The following wiki is useful for physics information literacy: 

Common Core State Standards, Next Generation Science Standards, and state content standards also refer to K-12 ICT competencies (sometimes listed as information literacy, digital literacy, media literacy, or research skills).


  • Key terms: physics, specific topics within physics, physics in related fields (e.g., geology, astronomy), materials science
  • Science and Technology/ Physics
  • Academic Support Services/ ICT literacy
  • Academic Support Services/Library and Information Services


  • Georgetown University guide to physics resources, including background information, articles and databases, data sets and statistics, physical properties and spectra, websites, and citation help
  • Lincoln University guide to physics research, including how to locate, read and cite scientific articles; how to create a literature review; how to give scientific presentations
  • Ohio Wesleyan University guide to scholarly communication in physics; includes societies, journals, databases, citation style, the literature of physics, and how physicists use libraries
  • Cedarville University general information about physics articles, reference sources, biographies and history, images, philosophy, careers and applied physics, and research/writing tips 




  • Ask students to create a timeline of technical advances in physics. 
  • Ask students to create a timeline about a physics controversy (e.g., big bang theory, nature of gravity).
  •  Ask students to research ethical issues relative to physics. Ask students to locate and summarize legislation and regulations that impact physics (e.g., OSHA, accessibility, intellectual property). Then ask them whether this is the way the law ought to be or whether it should be changed and why. 
  • Ask students to create an infographic to help communicate a physics concept or issue. 
  • Ask students to create a timeline of physics advances. 
  • Ask students to flowchart a physics experiment. 
  • Ask students to take photos of a physics concept, and annotate them in terms of locale, evidence of the concept, and implications (see
  • Ask students to locate and analyze photos where the image contradicts or defies physical principles (e.g.,, and explain what principles are involved. 
  • Ask students to critique movies (especially science fiction) or video games in terms of the accuracy of physics principles. 
  • Ask students to critique TV shows that show physics (e.g., Nova, Cosmos, Big Bang Theory) in terms of their accuracy and depth. 
  • Ask students to critique one Star Trek episode, and identify aspects that current physics principles, and which aspects might one day be possible physically. 
  • Ask students to locate articles on a physics topic in two different database aggregators (e.g., American Physical Society Journals, IOPScience, Compendex), and compare processes and results. 
  • Ask students to conduct a citation analysis of a current physics research study to identify scholarly influences. 
  • Ask them to present it as a concept map showing the relationships among articles/papers. 
  • Ask students to create a sociogram that shows the influence of physicists on each other. 
  • Ask students to interview personnel in the workplace who had a physics major to ascertain their use of ICT literacy.
  •  Ask students to find a physics-related article or news item in a popular magazine or newspaper. Then ask them to find and cite the original research paper on which the article is based. 
  • Ask students to find a breaking physics-related news story from any source. Have them determine if there are statements or ideas in the story that need to be clarified or questioned. Have them prepare a list of issues raised in the story that them feel are in need of critical analysis. For each issue, have them formulate a question they feel should be answered. Have them use online resources to answer their questions.   Have them provide a list of the resources and information that lead to their conclusions. Have them rate the reliability of each resource they use. Have them provide a list of unreliable information sources, and explain why they found them to be unreliable. Have them present their research as a digital document. 
  • Ask students to produce a podcast about an aspect of physics (such as an amazing physics fact). 
  • Ask students to locate and use a simulation program to demonstrate and explain a physics principle. 
  • Ask students to maintain a blog about their everyday experiences with physics principles; alternatively, ask them to journal one day’s experiences that illustrate physics principles. 
  • Ask students to use a drawing application to show the physics of an appliance.