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November 26, 2007

Conan inspires Gizmo

The 1982 cult movie Conan the Barbarian is not known as an intellectual triumph, and it is unlikely that many teachers have used it to illustrate scientific principles. One scene in this movie did provide the inspiration for our latest simple machines Gizmo, however.

Loosely based on the "Wheel of Pain" from the movie, the Wheel and Axle Gizmo features a large wheel that can be turned by barbarians. By adjusting the radius of the wheel or axle, students will see how mechanical advantage can be maximized.

Check it out!

Posted by krosenkrantz at 04:28 PM in Site Announcements | Permalink

November 21, 2007

Back to the basics

Weight and mass are some of the most basic principles in physical science, but these terms are often confused by students and teachers alike. It's no wonder--in our everyday lives we use the terms interchangeably. We in the development team at EL can testify to several occasions when a mysterious Gizmo error was traced to a failure to convert a mass to a weight or vice versa.

The Weight and Mass Gizmo was designed to address the basic distinction between mass and weight. Students measure mass and weight in a variety of locations (Earth, the Moon, Mars, and Jupiter) to discover that while the mass of an object is constant, its weight will fluctuate depending on the strength of gravity.


Posted by krosenkrantz at 08:46 AM in Site Announcements | Permalink

Thanksgiving Holiday -- Office Closed November 22nd and 23rd

ExploreLearning's offices will be closed Thursday, November 22nd and Friday, November 23rd in observance of Thanksgiving Day (US).

We will respond to customer service and technical support calls on Monday, November 26th.

We sincerely appreciate your business and apologize for any inconvenience during this time.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

Posted by ExploreLearning at 08:33 AM | Permalink

November 19, 2007

New Color Gizmo

Colors are all around us, but why do we see the colors we see?

This question is addressed in the new Color Absorption Gizmo.

Your students will see that white light is actually a mixture of three primary colors of light: red, green, and blue. They will produce a wide variety of colors (orange, purple, teal) by placing pieces of red, green, and blue glass into a light box.


Posted by krosenkrantz at 11:01 AM in Site Announcements | Permalink

November 16, 2007

Update on Shockwave for Intel-based Macs

Several of the developers here at ExploreLearning attended the recent Adobe Max conference in October. One of the reasons we went was to learn more about the status of the Shockwave plug-in on Vista and Intel-based Macs (or MacIntels).

Currently MacIntel users have to run their browser in Rosetta-mode (as I do at home). Our site will automatically let you know how to do that if you try to use a Gizmo on a MacIntel. This is not a long-term solution for viewing the Gizmos, and Adobe is working feverishly on getting a new version of the plug-in released.

At the conference we (the EL developers) met with several of the developers from Adobe that are working on the new version of the plug-in, and we got to see an early version of the new plug-in being used. Development continues and they let us know that they are trying to get the new plug-in released by the end of this year.

We know Adobe is hard at work on getting the plug-in updated, and we certainly hope it arrives in the very near. Thanks for your patience.

Go Gizmos!

Posted by Raman at 04:28 PM in Help (User Support) | Permalink

November 15, 2007

On the Road Again…

This fall, ExploreLearning has taken to the highways and byways to reach math, science and educational technology conference every week! We've visited with educators at regional math and science conferences in Richmond, VA, Bellevue, WA, Kansas City, Detroit, Denver, plus a remarkable number of state level conferences in CA, AZ, TX, FL, SC, GA, IL, OH, and NY.

In fact, this week, we have representatives ready to talk to you at these events:

  • Conference for the Advancement of Science Teaching, Austin, Texas: Visit our booth # 217
  • School Science and Math Association conference, Indianapolis:  Stop by our sponsor's table or enjoy yourself at our Friday afternoon reception for attendees.
  • Ga Educational Technology Conference, Atlanta, GA: Come by our booth # 126 for an educator-led demo of Gizmos on a Promethean Activboard or our on-program presentation Friday, November 16th located in Kenyan 1&2 from 8:30 to 9:30 AM.

Look for news to come on opportunities to meet ExploreLearning in Houston and Birmingham after Thanksgiving.

Posted by ExploreLearning at 10:32 AM | Permalink

November 13, 2007

Science concepts in a fraction of the time.

Pam from Nebraska let us know how she is using Gizmos in her classroom. She writes,

I teach earth Science to 8th graders and I use gizmos with each unit. I can teach concepts to kids in a fraction of the time with better results than traditional labs. Since it is truly an interactive website, students get to control it and repeat the activity until they feel they have mastery. This is a wonderful inquiry based website. One component I also use is the assessment piece. There are short quizzes after each activity to check the student understands. I can go in & check on the scores any time. What a time saver and it's good for my students too!

— Pam Petersen, 8th Grade Science, York Middle School

Thanks Pam. Here's an interesting fact about Nebraska. Did you know that Nebraska became one of the first states to provide the entire state with educational television in 1963? Wow, from educational television to educational technology, the cornhusker state is on a roll!

Posted by Raman at 02:09 PM in Testimonials | Permalink

Gizmo state standards correlations updated!

Good news - our correlations pages (correlating Gizmos with existing state standards of learning) have been updated!  The correlations for the following states now include our new elementary science Gizmos.

Updated states (click on any state):

Alabama (AL)
Arizona (AZ)
Colorado (CO)
District of Columbia (DC)
Illinois (IL)
Indiana (IN)
Massachusetts (MA)
Michigan (MI)
Nevada (NV)
New Mexico (NM)
Ohio (OH)
Oklahoma (OK)
Oregon (OR)
Pennsylvania (PA)
Rhode Island (RI)
Washington (WA)
Wisconsin (WI)

We will continue to update state correlations in the coming months as we roll out new Elementary Gizmos.

Posted by ExploreLearning at 10:48 AM in Using Gizmos | Permalink

Run, Runners!


A photo of several of us from ExploreLearning near mile 19 of the Richmond Marathon.

Posted by Raman at 10:00 AM in Fun/Humor | Permalink

November 12, 2007

EL'er Run Through Richmond

Several people from ExploreLearning took part in the Richmond Marathon this past Saturday. For two of us it was our first marathon. All of us finished and we are already looking forward to next year!


Posted by Raman at 11:16 AM in Fun/Humor | Permalink