February 26, 2008
Students using Gizmos sparks interest of newspaper in Polk County, FL
New excitement in the local learning community was captured by a reporter for the Polk County, FL News Chief. Gizmos were recently profiled in Kelly Mitchell's article on February 16, 2008. An extract from the article is below:
Online simulation program helps students with math, science
By Kelly Mitchell
Polk County News Chief
February 16, 2008
EAGLE LAKE - High school math and science students across the district are looking forward to having a new study aid next year.
This year, the Polk County School District conducted a pilot program on Gizmos, an online simulation program. The district made the interactive program available to 80 high school math teachers and 80 high school science teachers.
Gizmos is Web-based and visually illustrates math and science lessons. It is particularly designed to show more abstract problems.
"It allows for teachers to show and students to see a picture," said John Miller, mathematics senior coordinator for the school district. "It really allows students to see and teachers to manipulate something that can't be drawn."
Whereas math has not changed, research has shown that children need to be engaged to learn, instead of using a lecture format, Miller said.
"Math is still math," Miller said. "But it has to be presented in a way that will engage students to think about it."
"I use it a lot," said Kimberly Crandall, a high school math teacher at Lake Region High School." It has made my life easier."
Crandall teaches ninth-grade honors geometry and algebra. She said she has seen a major difference in her geometry students. When Crandall stands at her smart board, an interactive board, and uses the Gizmos program, she touches a shape with her finder and can change the shape to illustrate different angles and triangles.
"This is the nice part about Gizmos. I would be drawing like 1,000 different triangles," Crandall said during the lesson.
Crandall was able to illustrate angle measurement and show why the inner angles of a triangle equal 180 degrees and the outside angles of a polygon equal 360 degrees. She could change the shapes to better illustrate the points she was making.
After each section of the lesson, Crandall and her class answered a group of multiple choice questions, which Gizmos graded.
Ashley Schunemann, 14, is in Crandall's class and said that the lessons are a lot easier with Gizmos. Laura Abonza, 14, said that if Crandall makes a mistake, she can correct it right away, so its quicker. Abonza cannot use the program at home though, because she does not have access to a computer.
The 160 teachers began training for the program in late September. It took a month and a half to get everyone trained and all the teachers in the pilot program have been using Gizmos since Thanksgiving.
"We've gotten a lot of positive feedback," Miller said.
The district has received usage reports each month since December.
"We've found the usage report to be a very good indicator that teachers are using it," Miller said.
The district has made a concerted effort to get the technology necessary to use Gizmos. The teachers must have a computer, a computer projector, the ability to access the Web site and a smart board or a symposium.
"We really want technology to be out there," Miller said. "That is a big change for some of our teachers."
The district's plan is to expand this program to include all high school math and science teachers next year. This would include at least 240 math teachers.
Students need to be engaged in the subject, so teachers need to find a way to present the information so that they can understand math, Miller said. "We're trying to support teachers by giving them the tool," she added.
To view a sample of Gizmos lessons, go to www.explorelearning.com.
To view the original article, go to http://polkonline.com/stories/021608/communitynews_online.shtml
February 25, 2008
Gizmos a Finalist for Two CODiE Awards
ExploreLearning Gizmos have been named a finalist in two categories in the 23rd annual CODiE awards. For the third straight year, we are a finalist in the Best Science Instruction Solution and for the second year, we are a finalist in the Best Math Instruction Solution. ExploreLearning is honored to be part of the finalist group in both categories, further validating our leadership in improving Math and Science education.
The CODiE Awards are given each year by the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), utilizing both journalist and peer-company reviews to identify the leaders and innovators in 75 categories across the software, digital content and education technology industries. Recipients of the 2008 CODiE Awards will be announced in San Francisco, CA on May 20th, 2008.
See the full list of finalists at: http://www.siia.net/codies/2008/finalists.asp
February 12, 2008
Position Available: Training Consultant (Canada)
Please share this good news with colleagues. With the support of the Ministry of Education in Alberta and Ontario, ExploreLearning's award-winning interactive online simulations are coming to classrooms in Ontario and Alberta. Therefore, ExploreLearning has an exciting opportunity for an experienced science educator who is interested in making a difference in the teaching and learning of mathematics and science as an ExploreLearning Training Consultant. This is a half-time field position (remote/home office) as a contractor or as a member of ExploreLearning’s Professional Development team.
- The Training Consultant’s primary duties (90% of time) include the development and presentation of high quality ExploreLearning Gizmo product training, professional development, and project management across ExploreLearning’s network in Canada.
- The consultant is also responsible for supporting sales efforts (10% of time).
- Experience delivering professional development for teachers, particularly in high school science
- 3+ years of classroom experience as a teacher of high school science
- Willingness to operate as a remote employee (home office)
- Willingness to travel (up to 75%)
- Resident of Ontario
- Professional references (3) attesting to mathematics PD skills and teaching skills
Degree in science education (Masters preferred), undergraduate degree (Major) in a science field, and Canadian province teacher license in science.
Additional information about this career opportunity and the application process are available at our parent company’s “Careers” site: https://sh.webhire.com/servlet/av/jd?ai=732&ji=2159111&sn=I&tf=JobDescriptionB.html
February 06, 2008
Things are heating up
As the outdoor temperature fluctuates in central Virginia this time of year, it could easily be 26 degrees fahrenheit, but today's forecast is closer to 26 degrees celsius! Is it unusually warm where you are? This may be a good time to review why we have seasons, or view seasonal changes in 3D, or maybe even investigate the greenhouse effect.
Math season is underway!
Each year in February, middle schoolers from around the U.S. compete in MATHCOUNTS, a competition promoting middle school math achievement. Winners may advance to their state level and possibly even the national competition held in May. If your school participates, make sure to congratulate those 'mathletes' and wish them the best of luck!