June 19, 2009
ExploreLearning on Capitol Hill
ExploreLearning participated in two Capitol Hill events this week, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education & Labor’s “Future of Learning” Hearing and a Capitol Hill Technology Showcase “Bringing the Future of Learning to Schools Today.” These events examined and demonstrated the role of educational technology on the future of teaching and learning. Attendees were treated to some of the best and most innovative educational approaches that are transforming and improving education in America.
Members of Congress, including the Chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, George Miller (CA), experienced firsthand the some of the best educational technologies and tools on the market today, including ExploreLearning Gizmos. We showed Gizmos to many U.S. Representatives and enthusiastic staff members!
A big goal of the day’s events was to demonstrate that federal leadership in educational technology funding is important to improving student achievement and technology literacy. Key federal investment in Enhancing Education Through Technology (EETT) the eRate, and other programs helps educators meet the needs of 21st century students and ultimately help increase our nation’s future competitiveness.
A link to the press release issued by SETDA and SIIA, hosts of the Technology Showcase, can be found here: Capitol Hill Showcase
Five new sets of enhanced curriculum
As part of our ongoing curriculum enhancement project, five more Gizmos are now outfitted with Teacher Guides, Student Exploration Sheets, Answer Keys, and Vocabulary Sheets. They are
All new materials are available in Word and pdf formats and can be edited to suit your individual preferences. Enjoy!
June 12, 2009
Attend an "Introduction to ExploreLearning Gizmos" Webinar
If you are new to ExploreLearning, or are taking a free trial, learn more about the power of Gizmos by attending a one-hour webinar.
We have two sessions left in June, and then we will be starting it up again at the start of the new school year.
You can sign up for a forthcoming webinar by clicking on one of the links below:
For more information on our webinars, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted by ExploreLearning at 11:28 AM | Permalink
June 08, 2009
Miami Students using Gizmos say: “Now I get it!”
Heather Hodson, a science coach in Miami Central High School, wrote us to comment on the great improvements her science students are making using Gizmos, and to thank ExploreLearning Project Manager Mario Junco for all his hard work. This is what Heather had to say about Mario and Gizmos:
Mario's Gizmo demonstration of the Pond Ecosystem and its application of independent and dependent variables, brought rigor and showed the effective educational flexibility of a Gizmo. It was extremely gratifying to work with this and other Gizmos, and hear the students say, "Now I get it!"
We hope to continue working with you in future years, as we feel that our collaboration will continue to help boost the Science FCAT scores at our school..."
Thank you Heather - It is wonderful to know that Gizmos with Mario’s Project Management leadership are making such a difference at your school.
For more information on ExploreLearning Professional Development opportunities, including Project Management, please visit our PD information page.
June 05, 2009
Case Study: An Interview with Charlene Cooper
Charlene teaches 6th grade Physical Science at Rusheon Middle School in Bossier City, Louisiana. She is a National Board Certified teacher in Early Adolescent Science, and is currently in her 9th year of teaching middle school science.
We are very grateful that Charlene could spare some time to talk to us about Gizmos!
Let's learn more about how Charlene uses Gizmos in her teaching by asking her a few questions:
How did you first hear about ExploreLearning?
A math teacher in my school was investigating virtual manipulatives when he came across ExploreLearning. He was very excited to share the site with me!
What were your first impressions of the site and Gizmos when you got access to ExploreLearning.com? What keeps you using Gizmos?
At first, I was very impressed at how user friendly the site was. As I started to explore the Gizmos more, I was impressed with the content and how applicable it was to our current curriculum. I was also excited with what the site could offer my students in terms of manipulating variables in a way that could allow them to easily test and retest their hypothesis.
How do you use Gizmos in class? (For example, do students work individually on computers? In pairs? Do you use Gizmos as a demo for the whole class? Do you assign Gizmos as homework?)
I am able to use Gizmos in a variety of ways for my students. I can use Gizmos to help introduce a new concept, reinforce what we are currently studying, or as an enrichment. My favorite way to use Gizmos is in conjunction with a hands on activity! I can use the Gizmo before or after a hands on activity to enrich what we are studying - this helps my students to really develop their science process skills!
If you've used other technology and/or teaching methods to cover some of the same math concepts, how do you find that Gizmos help you cover the topic more quickly/easily/more effectively?
Gizmos allow my students to become actively involved in their learning - they are able to manipulate variables, and collect data as they investigate key concepts in physical science. My students have had much more success in making connections to key concepts and real life.
How do your students respond to Gizmos?
We work on Gizmos on a weekly basis – our day to use the computer lab is on a Wednesday. My students always tell me that they can't wait to go to the lab! I've also had positive comments from parents...they tell me that their child has shared the Gizmos with them at home. What I really love to hear is that the students are teaching their parents by going through the Gizmos with them at home!!
Describe the technology setup in which you use Gizmos. (e.g., Networked classroom? How many computers? Laptops and/or Carts? Projector? Interactive whiteboard?)
We are fortunate in our school that we have a computer lab dedicated to science. In our lab we have 35 computers, and a Promethean ActivBoard. My students visit the lab every Wednesday for ExploreLearning.
What Gizmo did you have the most success (and/or fun and/or satisfaction) teaching with?
What was it about these Gizmos that made the lessons successful?
In the Circuit Builder Gizmo, students were challenged to create a circuit that would make a light bulb light up. After they investigated and practiced this with their Gizmos, they were given the same real components and they applied what they learned to make a real light bulb light. The students enjoyed the Mineral Identification Gizmo because as they went through each mineral, they found that they were improving how they took their data and then identified the mineral based on the data. I like this Gizmo because it reinforced density and important science process skills. The Growing Plants Gizmo helped reinforce the importance of proper experimental design. As they progressed through this Gizmo, students were able to understand why they should only change one variable at a time.
Have you any evidence that you’d like to share on the impact of Gizmos on student learning in your classes?
I have seen an increase in student interest level in science. My students this year are more inclined to look for more information on their science topics. For example, we completed the Measuring Motion Gizmo where students measure the speed of different animals. This Gizmo sparked so much curiosity that my students started investigating these animals to find out more information on how fast (or slow) they were in real life. Although I was not planning it, this became an opportunity for students to share their findings and then compare their research with what they learned from the Gizmo.
Do you have any other comments or statements that you’d like to make about Gizmos?
As a middle school science teacher, I strive to build science confidence in my students. I don't want for any of my students to feel that they are "not good at science." Gizmos have helped students to develop their understanding of science. Students are able to see that if they don't understand something in science, they can design an experiment in a way to help make sense of their questions. As one young lady sat at her computer working on the Mineral Identification Gizmo, I noticed that she was really strengthening her science process skills and understanding how to identify the mineral based on her data. I commented that she had correctly identified her last 6 minerals and she said to me, ”Mrs. Cooper, I finally found something that I am good at!” I have a deep appreciation for the way that Gizmos have helped me build confident science students!