May 31, 2005
Concept Maps Go to School
There was an interesting article this week about concept maps which can be used to assess student knowledge, encourage thinking and problem solving instead of rote learning, organize information for writing projects and help teachers write new curricula.
There is now software that allows schools to share concept maps on the web, and a project called Get Connected is trying to connect 1000 schools over the next five years.
Software can be downloaded that enables rapid and easy construction of concepts maps.
"Having a tool that allows the scientist to express that (knowledge) is no different than trying to figure out what little Johnny knows about volcanoes in the fifth grade."
May 27, 2005
U.S. Students Turning to India for Tutoring
Even tutoring is being outsourced these days. From an article in USA Today:
Career Launcher is one of just five Indian firms currently tutoring U.S. students. Some contract with American e-tutoring providers, and some work directly with schools and students. Mr. Phadke estimates that Indian tutors are now working with some 20,000 American students, but he hopes the market will increase as technology improves and demand from NCLB rises.
We are certainly living in a global marketplace. For me, personally, though, I don't think I'd want to be tutored over the phone whether the tutor was in New Delhi or just on the other side of town. But for kids today who seem permanently attached to their cell phones probably would be right at home in this environment.
May 25, 2005
To boldly go where no probe has gone before.
Eleven years after the first episode of Star Trek, the Voyager probes were launched. Twenty eight years later Voyager 1 has gone beyond the termination shock and is flirting with deep space where the solar winds are around two million km/h. More than 10,000 days of travelling through our solar system. Wow. I'll bet the Earth looks very small from way out there.
May 24, 2005
Math Question No Touchdown for Football Fans
From the Boston Globe, now here's a case of "math in the real world" not working out quite as expected:
On an end-of-grade test this month, seventh-graders had to calculate the average gain for a team on the game's first six plays. But the team did not gain 10 yards on the first four plays and would have lost possession before a fifth and sixth play.
The team opened with a 6-yard loss, a 3-yard gain and a 2-yard loss, which would have made it fourth down with 15 yards to go for a first down. The team's fourth play was just a 7-yard gain, yet it maintained possession for a 12-yard gain and a 4-yard gain on two additional plays.
So do the creators of math problems have an expectation to be grounded in reality or is the football example above just a variation on the old "imagine a spherical cow" or "the frictionless ice" or "the chicken and a half can lay an egg and a half every day and a half" types of fiction for the sake of example that comes with the territory in math and science problems?
May 23, 2005
Ann Arbor goes GIZMO
On May 10 and 11 the Ann Arbor middle and high school science teachers took time off to get familiar with Gizmos and Explorelearning. The two days were pack with lessons on how to use Gizmos, aligning them to daily lessons and making the best of the new technology that the teachers now have.
Some of the more interesting topics covered included: The relationship between rabbit populations to snake; What’s the lowest hill that will crack an egg in a zero friction environmen?; and, of course, viewing a whole moon cycle in a little under 2 minutes. By the end of each day the teachers were ready to go back into their building and start putting Gizmo to use with their students.
A special thanks to Linda Ann Prieskorn for making sure all the logistics were taken care of before each day. And thanks to the Ann Arbor teachers for bringing Explorelearning and Gizmos into their district!
May 19, 2005
Should you wear red when taking an exam?
Scientists from the University of Durham in England found that, for the competitions in the Athens Olympic Games, the athlete wearing red won 55 percent of the time.
Does red really make a difference in competition? Some mathemticians feel that since this is a small sample, it is nothing unusual from a statistical point of view.
I wonder if students wearing red perform better on exams. If anyone has any data, feel free to send it in!
I know that my favorite hockey team does pretty well wearning red, and even have red in their name: the Detroit Redwings. It is also well known that Tiger Woods always wears red on the final day of a golf tournament, and he has done rather well. Hmm...
Here are several links to news sites with the story:
- NPR: Study: Red Is the Color of Olympic Victory
- CNN: Researchers: To win in sports, wear red
- BBC: Reds have a sporting advantage
May 12, 2005
National Sales Manager Joins ExploreLearning
We are pleased to announce that Rick Roegiers (pronounced "Rogers") joins ExploreLearning as its new (and first ever) National Sales Manager. Since its February 2005 acquisition by ProQuest Information and Learning Company, ExploreLearning has been working to expand significantly its sales and marketing workforce. "Mr. Roegiers," as he is affectionately referred to in the office, will lead the effort to build our inside and field sales capabilities.
With ProQuest since 2000, Rick leaves a position as Delray Beach FL-based Southeastern Regional Sales Manager for ProQuest Information & Learning where he managed sales professionals and trainers in a 17 state region and achieved the greatest new business revenue for the company in 2004. Rick began his sales career in 1993 as Florida regional sales rep with SIRS which was subsequently acquired by ProQuest.
Rick and his wife Susan have two daughters - Ashley, 4 and Jamee, 19 months. Rick enjoys traveling, running and reading a good book (when he has the time!)
If you would like to talk with Rick about how ExploreLearning Gizmos can be a part of your everyday classroom experience, either on an individual teacher, classroom -wide, or district-wide basis, drop us a line at email@example.com.
Welcome to the ExploreLearning neighborhood, Mr Roegiers!
May 09, 2005
"You're the upper bound in the chains of my heart
Your my axiom of choice you know it's true …"
It's a total riot. (Note: Requires Windows Media Player to view the video.)
May 03, 2005
Boston Public Goes for Gizmos
Last week ExploreLearning visited with our friends in the Boston Public Schools to demonstrate successful teaching strategies for integrating Gizmos with Boston's SELECT Math website. SELECT Math (Supporting Engaged Learning by Enhancing Curriculum with Technology) is part of an ongoing project funded partially by a state No Child Left Behind grant.
The Boston Public Schools Office of Instructional Technology and the secondary math department also work with the Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC) to align technology to the math curriculum and to provide professional development to teachers. To date Boston has created over 200 alignments to district math lessons; many of the lessons include ExploreLearning Gizmos.
ExploreLearning looks forward to working with Boston Public Schools and EDC in the coming year.
(Photo Caption: Several BPS teachers pose with ExploreLearning founder Dave Shuster and SELECT Math project coordinator Sailaja Suresh [bottom right]. Click image for larger view.)
Apple OSX 10.4
Apple recently released OSX 104 (aka "Tiger"). We have done initial testing of the ExploreLearning Site and have not found any problems. If you are using this new operating system, and find a problem, please drop us a line to let us know about it. Thanks.
National Teacher Day 2005
A special thanks from all of us at ExploreLearning to all the teachers out there that help students learn every day. You helped us learn a lot of math and science so we can make our Gizmos.
Happy National Teacher Day!
Warm wishes to Dr. Chartier and Mrs. White from Perry High School. You got me so interested in science that I ended up with my PhD in physics. (Spock the Vulcan also inspired me).