July 26, 2005
Update: Demo Movie Load Time Improvement
We've added a nifty preloader to all of our demo movies that drastically increases the speed in which the movies will begin to play on your computer. For example, users with a fast connection (T1, DSL, cable) will see the movie begin to play after only a couple of seconds. Users on slower, dial-up modem connection will also experience a much improved load time.
If you haven't already checked out the demo movies or you tried to but gave up after waiting too long for the movie to start playing, now is the time to give the demo movies a try.
July 22, 2005
Thermometers and the hot summer
While recently in Missouri to learn more about the PRISM Project (a future posting will talk about the fun Dan and I had), a teacher pointed out a problem in a very, very, very old Gizmo - the Min/Max Thermometer. Since the summer is so warm across much of the northern hemisphere I managed to cool myself off long enough to fix the Gizmo.
Thanks for letting us know!
July 13, 2005
Arizona High School Goes All-Wireless, All-Laptop
The 350 student Vail High School in Arizona will join an elite group of public schools in the USA as it becomes an all-electronic school in the fall. The students at the school will not have traditional textbooks. Instead, they will use electronic and online articles as part of more traditional teacher lesson plans.
Calvin Baker, superintendent of Vail Unified School District, said the move to electronic materials gets teachers away from the habit of simply marching through a textbook each year.
He noted that the AIMS test now makes the state standards the curriculum, not textbooks. Arizona students will soon need to pass Arizona's Instrument to Measure Standards to graduate from high school (MyWayNews).
Other schools have broken ground with giving all students laptops, but this is the first school I'm aware of that is dropping textbooks entirely. This will be an interesting test case to watch.
July 07, 2005
Going to Hollywood? Learn Math!
Do you plan to head to Hollywood to become a screenwriter for shows such as the Simpsons or MadTV? If so, you had better learn a bit of math, since they actually have chic math clubs where writers get together to discuss math on television.
This NPR story had a humorous and humiliating take on the Hollywood Math Club.
July 06, 2005
GIZMOS in Tuba City
ExploreLearning moves under the wide-open skies of Arizona with its adoption in Tuba City. This June we had a great training and PD day there as the teachers started looking into using GIZMOS with their students and integrating them into their curricula. The teachers were excited to see how easy the GIZMOS were to use and found many ways to incorporate the GIZMOS across curriculum areas.
Have fun using GIZMOS Tuba City…we look forward to hearing beautiful music from your area!
July 05, 2005
83,431 Places and Counting
The folks at the Guinness Book of Records are in the process of verifying the following:
Japanese psychiatric counselor has recited pi to 83,431 decimal places from memory, breaking his own personal best of 54,000 digits and setting an unofficial world record, a media report said Saturday (MSNBC).
A most amazing feat. But you've got to wonder if he takes any grief when his memory fails him. I picture his wife, for instance … "Oh, sure, you can recite pi to 83,431 places but you can't remember our wedding anniversary?"
July 04, 2005
GIZMOS in Greenville
June 28 the Professional Development department at ExploreLearning took a little trip down to Greenville, South Carolina. A good day was spent setting up ExploreLearning accounts, and working with middle and high school math and science teachers. Greenville is a large district on the northwest side of the state and they are all very excited to start using GIZMOS in the classroom at the start of the school year. Many of the teachers were going to take some time over the summer and work with their colleagues on multidisciplinary lessons utilizing GIZMOS and curriculum that they were already familiar with.
The Greenville math department already has a head start on this project, as one of their very own, Valerie Muller, has been an ExploreLearning advocate for some time. Valerie has taken the Greenville middle school mathematics scope and sequence chart and aligned the appropriate GIZMOS to each lesson!
ExploreLearning will be back in Greenville in August to work with the rest of the district math and science teachers and we’re excited for the upcoming Greenville school year. See you in a few weeks Greenville!
July 03, 2005
Fireworks in Space
For those that are enjoying the Fourth of July weekend, be sure to keep an eye on the Deep Impact Mission. A 327 kg 'bullet' will be colliding with a comet late in the evening. What will happen? No one is positive, but hopefully a lot of data will be obtained so we can have a better idea of what comets are made of.
July 01, 2005
Taking "Real World" Science a Bit Too Far
Generally we applaud cases where teachers make their lessons in science and math analogous to real life situations, but this is taking the science behind combustion and oxidation a wee bit too far …
HOUSTON - A chemistry teacher who was months behind on her car payments gave passing grades to two failing students after asking them to steal her Chevrolet Malibu and burn it so she could collect on its insurance, authorities alleged (Dallas News).
I guess it's time for us to get busy making a combustion Gizmo.