September 30, 2013
ExploreLearning Gizmos win second EDDIE AwardWe are pleased to announce that The ComputED Gazette has awarded ExploreLearning Gizmos an EDDIE Award (or Education Software Review Award) in the Multi-level category for the second year in a row, a great recognition of how Gizmos work well with students from elementary school to high school.
ExploreLearning Reflex also won a second EDDIE this year in the Upper Elementary School category.
The ComputED Gazette 18th Annual Education Software Review Awards "target innovative and content-rich programs (including apps for iPad and Android) and websites that augment the classroom curriculum and improve teacher productivity, providing parents and teachers with the technology to foster educational excellence. Some selection criteria are academic content, potential for broad classroom use, technical merit, subject approach, and management system."
Read the full press release on our parent company's website.
Growing Geometry Gizmo Lesson Materials
Geometry is the branch of mathematics concerned with points, lines, angles, shapes, and solids. Without a true understanding of the properties and relationships of these figures, students are likely to struggle as they progress toward higher math courses. Gizmos are such a great fit when building students' understanding of geometry because they provide an interactive, inquiry-based experience that reinforces the conceptual understanding students need.
The ExploreLearning team is constantly working to keep your Gizmo resources updated, and we are pleased to share these math Gizmos have all new Lesson Materials.
As always, our goal is real student understanding, beyond just formulas or memorization. For example, in the new Student Exploration Sheets with the Rotations, Reflections, and Translations Gizmo, we work to help students see that each type of transformation is really just a specific rule – a function, essentially – which can be applied to any figure, point by point, to create the transformed figure. In the Mathematical Background, found in the Teacher Guide, we expand on this “transformations as functions” idea, to help support teachers in how they might want to present this topic.
Reminder: Our updated Lesson Materials have 4 documents (Student Exploration Sheet, Answer Key, Teacher Guide, and Vocabulary Sheet), each available as a .doc or .pdf. (You'll need to be logged in to see all four documents.)
Biology students love Gizmos
"My experiences using Gizmos have surpassed any other learning methods I use. Gizmos provide environments and conditions that are impossible to provide for our students in the actual world. Gizmos are a great resource. We love them."
-- Biology Teacher, Shelby County Schools, Tennessee
New Gizmos PD: Expanding the Gizmos Experience
ExploreLearning excited to announce a new PD workshop for Gizmos. Expanding the Gizmo Experience helps teachers develop a deeper understanding of how to integrate Gizmos into their curriculum. The course is designed for math and science teachers in grades 3-12 that have completed the Initial Training and would like additional training to on how to use Gizmos to support instructional best practices.To learn more about this workshop, read the full description or schedule a training today.
September 26, 2013
Gizmos now aligned to Next Generation Science Standards
The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) have been developed through a collaborative, state-led initiative to provide science standards that are rich in content and practice. These standards are organized across disciplines and grades to provide all students an internationally benchmarked science education.
Based on the National Research Council's (NRC) Framework for K-12 Science Education, the NGSS combines three dimensions to form each standard: Practices, Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCI), and Crosscutting Concepts. The DCIs help focus curriculum, instruction, and assessment on the most important aspects of science.
ExploreLearning is pleased to share that the science Gizmos library is now correlated to the NGSS DCIs. Gizmos are such a great fit for the NGSS because they allow students to engage in inquiry-driven investigations that fulfill the goals described in the NRC framework.
September 24, 2013
"The possibilities are limitless" with Gizmos
Dr. McDowell is the Secondary Science Coordinator for Frisco ISD in Texas. After trying out various simulation products, his district chose ExploreLearning Gizmos because it's easy to support and has great content, especially in Biology and Chemistry.
He explains, “It was easy to decide to fully adopt the Gizmos for all our core content areas. We have always preferred Gizmos because they allow students to ‘do’ science. They allow students to change variables and see what happens. Many of the other products are mostly animations or interactive tasks that all have a common end. With Gizmos, it seems the possibilities are limitless. Each student gets the experience they want/need in the learning process.”
In addition, “administration of the accounts is much easier. With other products, I had to collect all the student and teacher names to supply for upload. With Gizmos, students can enroll themselves, so I don’t have to maintain any type of mass roster for the district.”
Thank you Frisco ISD for choosing Gizmos to support student learning!
September 20, 2013
Latasha Lawrence: Gizmo Educator of the Month
A ten-year teaching veteran, Latasha Lawrence is a science teacher at James Weldon Johnson College Prep Middle School, a magnet school in Jacksonville, Florida. She has a Master’s Degree in Health Science from the University of Central Florida and a Bachelor’s of Science in Gerontology from Bethune-Cookman University. She is an active member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., which provides community service and scholarships. She continues to expand her science knowledge through participation in professional development opportunities including the Summer Space Camp and the Institute for Food Safety Summer Research Program. She has been using Gizmos for six years.
Latasha Lawrence, sometimes known as “Coach” because she is the head boys basketball coach, is a respected member of the JWJ Middle School faculty. The school culture promotes academic and athletic excellence by celebrating diversity and positive competition. Ms. Lawrence brings these values to her classroom by focusing on developing her students’ unique talents and strengths. Using Gizmos to differentiate learning is one way she “brings out the best” in her students. With Gizmos she is able to enhance student learning, because they are so versatile. In her 8th grade advanced and honors science classes, Gizmos are used frequently to give students a chance to develop higher order thinking skills and new ideas. The Gizmos allow students to experiment, hypothesize, test scenarios, and draw conclusions. The Student Exploration sheets support the kind of practices that are required of students with the Next Generation Science Standards too. She explains, “I was just amazed with how well Gizmos align with the standards.”
Ms. Lawrence also likes how Gizmos meet the specific needs of her visual learners. When her class was learning about chemical equations and how to balance them, the Chemical Equations Gizmo helped her students understand the concept because as the equation is manipulated, the amount of each element is shown as individual atoms, histograms, as well as numerically. The students liked being able to see what happened when they changed the coefficients of reactants and products.
She continues to strive for excellence in all she does. She is inspired every time she reads a new Gizmo success story. She shared, “I know my usage will double this year because of the excitement that I have about this program.”
Thank you for your dedication Ms. Lawrence!
Posted by Heather Jones at 09:17 AM | Permalink
September 18, 2013
Gizmos meet a variety of learning styles
”Gizmos have a positive impact on our students. Many of our students are below-level readers and Gizmos does a great job of combining the visual and kinesthetic piece together with content-rich reading and analysis tasks."
-- Secondary Science Teacher, Palm Beach Schools, FL
September 16, 2013
Gizmos bring science to life
“When I was introduced to Gizmos I thought, ‘WOW, this will REALLY enhance my instruction.’ Now, when I teach protein synthesis using the RNA and Protein Synthesis Gizmo, students can simulate the process more closely to what happens in their body. The old way of cutting and pasting the nucleotides to a piece of paper was too abstract for some. Students can now see the concept in 'real world models'."
-- Teacher, Richmond Public Schools, VA
September 13, 2013
Flower Mound, TX Students Explore Pollination with Gizmos
Flower Mound High School students in Lewisville ISD are using the Pollination: Flower to Fruit Gizmo to dissect flowers in Pre-AP Biology. Using this Gizmo, students can label a flower anatomy diagram, understand the function of each structure, compare the processes of self-pollination and cross-pollination, and explore how fertilization takes place in a flowering plant. Their teacher comments,
"I love Gizmos! The students can work independently and then apply what they learned in lab or use it in place of lab due to time constrictions. Thanks for such a great product."
Help your students’ learning blossom with Gizmos!
September 11, 2013
Get Inspired with GizmosThe start of a new school year can be an exciting time for teachers and students. Many of the teachers we spoke to over the summer said they were attending some kind of professional development to hone their teaching skills or add a new element to their instructional toolbox. One Duval teacher that attended a Gizmos professional development shared,
“I am excited about using Gizmos this year especially after the training this summer. I learned a lot of new things about this wonderful program. I know my usage will double this year because of the excitement that I have about this program.”
ExploreLearning is pleased to hear how inspired this Jacksonville, Florida teacher was after attending Gizmos professional development. Extend your Gizmo training with our higher-level trainings and get inspired!
Posted by Heather Jones at 01:32 PM | Permalink
September 09, 2013
Gizmos are great for learning abstract concepts
“I love Gizmos to teach topics that are either too miniscule to see with the naked eye or too dangerous or to do in real life. For example, in my anatomy class we use the Cell Division Gizmo. We can't observe living cell division in the equipment that we have at school. I have observed that students have a greater ability to grasp an abstract concept if it can be visualized.”
--Anatomy Teacher, Lewisville, TX
September 05, 2013
Amazing student success with Gizmos
“It is amazing how far we’ve come in math! Gizmos are a wonderful support for all students K-6!"
-- Education Consultant, Lester B. Pearson School Board, Quebec
September 02, 2013
Gizmos engages students and gets them excited about science
“Gizmos have been great to use in the classroom. It is something that kids get excited about and want to use. Students would come to school in the mornings and tell me about what they did at home using Gizmos. It is engaging and really teaches and reinforces the topic in a way the students can understand.
The Solar System Gizmo helped my students out a lot. These are concepts that cannot be seen very well concretely. With Gizmos they were able to see and manipulate what things look like. Students were able to connect topics on quizzes, warm ups, reviews, and tests back to what they saw on the Gizmos. It also helped some of my ESL's with vocabulary by allowing them to see and use the language as they worked through the Gizmos.”
-- Elementary teacher, Cypress-Fairbanks ISD, TX