January 14, 2010
ExploreLearning at FETCIf you are at FETC in Orlando, stop by our booth #945 to meet our Florida team and take part in a Gizmo demo, today through Saturday. Also plan on attending an on-program presentation featuring Gizmos on Friday at 3:10pm, called "Understanding and Using Technology in Science and Math Classrooms” (Session ID 274). Mention this announcement and take home a FREE Gizmos water bottle, or other Gizmo goodie!
July 09, 2009
It was standing room only for ExploreLearning at the NECC Conference...
The place to be at the National Educational Computing Conference (NECC) was the ExploreLearning booth, which was buzzing with activity during the ongoing Gizmos demonstrations. These demos were so popular that there were more attendees than chairs and the crowd spilled out into the hallway!
Visitors to the ExploreLearning booth were looking forward to taking the knowledge, creativity and excitement generated by the Gizmos demonstrations back to their districts and classrooms.
NECC is the largest educational technology exhibit in the nation and was held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC, June 29 - July 1. http://center.uoregon.edu/ISTE/NECC2009/
May 26, 2009
ExploreLearning Gives A Red Apple
For the past 11 years the Charlottesville Business Innovation Council has presented awards to local innovators, and one is the Red Apple Award. This award honors the K-12 educator who clearly and consistently is able to do the most to inspire and prepare students for the limitless possibilities that technology offers.
ExploreLearning co-sponsored the Technology in Education Grant that is presented to the winning teacher. The winner this year is Matt Shields, a physics teacher at Charlottesville High School.
Matt Shields is always exploring and implementing the latest technology in his classroom. He uses his background in mechanical and aerospace engineering to lead innovative class projects, such as his "Super Space Adventure," for which students designed, constructed, and launched a weather balloon.
I talked with Matt later that evening and found out he uses Gizmos regularly in his classroom, and loves how they have brought physics concepts to life for his students. He already knows that he'll be using the grant for a new weather balloon.
Raman and Dan get all dressed up.
Matt Shields (on the right) wins the Red Apple Award.
September 26, 2007
Developers Head To Adobe MAX 2007
Several of us developers here at EL (Chris, Paul, and I) will be heading out to Adobe MAX 2007 in Chicago. It starts up this weekend and runs through Wednesday. The conference will let us learn about a lot of the new technologies that are out there, and improve our skills with the current technologies. Many of the things we take away from the conference will allow us to make further improvements and enhancements to our EL site.
Mmm...pizza in Chicago :)
June 04, 2007
Going to NECC? Join us!
We are so excited for the National Educational Computing Conference on June 25-27, 2007. If you're going to be in Atlanta, be sure to find us on the exhibit floor in booth 1446. We will be featuring a preview of the new Elementary Science Gizmos. Come learn about the latest innovations for improving student achievement. Hope to see you there!
April 11, 2007
eLearning Guild 2007 Meeting
I'm sitting here in the Richmond Airport using the free wifi connection. Technology continues to amaze me. My flight to Boston will be leaving shortly. I'll be attending the eLearning Guild 2007 Annual Gathering and giving a talk about using Director for eLearning with Gizmos.
If you are at the conference be sure to catch my talk on Thursday afternoon (session 706 DEV).
March 29, 2007
ExploreLearning in Anaheim and Atlanta
Thanks to all who visited with us at both ASCD or NCTM!
Hope to see you in
September 21, 2006
Visit ExploreLearning in Phoenix!
Show Me the Mathematics—Learning through Representation is the theme for the NCTM Western Regional Conference in Phoenix, October 5-7. Visit ExploreLearning Booth 118 and see how ExploreLearning can show you the mathematics through our highly interactive and visual representations called Gizmos.
In addition to seeing the power of Gizmos at our booth, make time in your schedule for Dr. Cheryl Malm and Dr. Patricia Lucido's session, Using Computer-Based Simulations to Promote Inquiry in Mathematics and Science on Thursday, October 5 from 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. in room 105A (Phoenix Convention Center).
Both Malm and Lucido are part of the PRISM Project, an acronym for Promoting Reason and Inquiry in Science and Math – a professional development project currently underway at Northwestern Missouri State University.
Our Western Educational Consultants Ken Turner and Susan Rosch look forward to seeing you in Phoenix October 5-7.
If you let us know you read about this in the Buzz, you will receive a special prize!
September 08, 2006
Catch ExploreLearning in the Windy City
The NCTM Midwestern Regional Conference "Winds of Change" meets in Chicago September 20-22 and ExploreLearning looks forward to being a part of this conference as well as part of a change in mathematics instruction. Over 350 conference presentations address best practices, the latest research in mathematics instruction, and effective strategies and skills for teaching math.
Visit ExploreLearning Booth 617 and get a feel for the ExploreLearning Gizmo experience, what we like to call the "A-ha!" moment. See how Gizmos promote inquiry in the mathematics curriculum.
If Chicago is not on your fall travel itinerary, visit the ExploreLearning booths at the NCTM conferences in Phoenix and Atlantic City.
July 13, 2006
ExploreLearning Visits NECC
Some of our staff here just returned from the National Education Computing Conference in beautiful San Diego, California.
The conference attracted thousands of educators from all over the United States, including technology specialists, math and science department heads and curriculum directors.
ExploreLearning sponsored booth demonstrations of Gizmos, where our audiences learned about effectively integrating technology into middle and high school math and science curriculum.
We also sponsored a successful luncheon where attendees were treated to an entertaining presentation by our founder, Dave Shuster. On the last morning of the conference, we enjoyed hearing about the successful implementation of Gizmos in the Los Angeles Unified School District at a breakfast meeting that we held in their honor.
Thanks to all who stopped by the booth or attended one of our outside events! Catch us again at upcoming math, science and technology conferences. Details will be posted in the Buzz.
ExploreLearning and the "Bridging the Gap" Conference in Everett, WA
ExploreLearning looks forward to visiting Everett, Washington for "Bridging the Gap," a middle grades mathematics conference on July 25-27. Keynote speakers Dr. Lee Stiff, Professor of Mathematics from North Carolina State University and Dr. Glenda Lappan from Michigan State University, will discuss strategies for closing the achievement gap during these critical learning years.
In addition, teachers who attend the conference will have the chance to hear our own Thom O'Brien speak on how ExploreLearning Gizmos provide a powerful enhancement to the way teachers teach and students learn, in the middle school years and beyond.
If you are interested in knowing more about how your school can Bridge the Gap, check out Dr. Stiff’s presentation, "It Ain’t the Kidz" and see what schools can do to take ownership and make student performance in mathematics a priority.
March 29, 2006
Visit ExploreLearning at NSTA
Dr. Dave Shuster, Founder of ExploreLearning, will demonstrate howExploreLearning Gizmos make key science concepts easier to understand and build lasting knowledge through hands-on exploration.
Introduce a colleague to ExploreLearning during one of our 45 minute sessions at the Hilton Anaheim Hotel – Conference Room 3 and win a door prize.
Friday April 7, 2006 - 8am-5pm
Please RSVP: firstname.lastname@example.org
Come see us at NSTA:
Hilton Anaheim Hotel - Conference Room 3
45 minute sessions will begin every hour on the hour.
Continental breakfast at 7:30am and lunch at 12 noon.
March 16, 2006
EL at MEC Conference in Arizona
I spent 4 days in Arizona this past weekend, attending the MEC Conference (Microcomputers in Education) in Tempe, AZ (just east of Phoenix). In addition to two sessions for interested teachers and administrators, I hung out with some of the fine folks at Apple. (As one of Apple's "Complementary Curriculum Products" vendors, we sometimes share booth space with them.)
Despite the crazy, un-Arizona-like weather, plenty of teachers and administrators made their way to the conference. It was fun to meet everyone, and have a chance to show off a few Gizmos. (In fact, I was pleasantly surprised how many elementary school teachers came by, and how many see the potential of Gizmos, even for their young students!)
Of course, you know what they say about all work and no play... I managed to work in two baseball games (a World Baseball Classic game, plus a Giants vs. Padres spring training game), and 9 holes of golf. Not bad for a work trip! I highly recommend Arizona in the spring!
December 01, 2005
Gizmos Take Suburban Houston!
I presented Gizmos to a group of about 25 algebra teachers in Spring ISD, Texas (just north of Houston), a couple weeks ago. They were a fun and lively group!
We talked Gizmos and how they fit into an inquiry-based classroom. Inquiry is a term that keeps coming up for us. It is gaining more and more attention as an effective and research-proven teaching method, and Gizmos are a perfect tool for students to use to investigate questions raised in an inquiry lesson.
From a teaching perspective, the teachers were fans of our algebra-tiles-based Gizmos such as the Modeling One-Step Equations Gizmo. They liked how zero pairs are represented, and also how the Gizmo illustrates adding one to both sides of an equation.
From a fun/challenge perspective, the Spring teachers got hooked on the 3D and Orthographic Views Gizmo! This Gizmo is a one-of-a-kind, and is terrific practice for students in visualizing three-dimensional figures. The fun and addictive challenge is this: Can you build the given figures in the fewest blocks possible? It's easy at first … until you get 3 or 4 questions in! (Tip: Be sure to read through the Exploration Guide. It contains many tips about how to use the Gizmo that you probably wouldn't figure out on your own.)
Anyway, I had a great time with a fun group in Spring, Texas, and it felt like a well-used staff-development day. Good math teaching is alive and well in Spring… and we hope Gizmos can become a bigger and bigger part of it!
November 04, 2005
Look for EL at Upcoming Conferences
Look for ExploreLearning reps in a booth ready to demo Gizmos at one of the following conferences. Also look for full presentations by teachers who've been using Gizmos in their classrooms. If you're attending one of these conferences, stop by and say hello.
|NY STA||Ellenville||November 6-8|
|Making Connections||Charlottesville||November 7|
|GaETC||Atlanta||November 8-10||Nancy Clark (in the Apple booth)
|NCTM Western Regional||Denver||November 10-12||Jeff Steckroth||Thom O’Brien
|NCTM Midwestern Regional||Chicago||November 10-12||Julie Eglite
|Nashville||December 1-3||PRISM||Rick Roegiers
|VA Ed Tech||Roanoke||December 5-7||Thom O’Brien||Eve Solomon
June 28, 2005
Visit EL at Booth 135, NECC
ExploreLearning's founder and president, Dave Shuster, along with EL's Chief Operating Officer, Michael Latsko, are attending the NECC 2005 event in Philadelphia. They can be found in the ProQuest booth, number 135 in the exhibit hall.
They have an interactive whiteboard in the booth and are demonstrating the general awesomeness of Gizmos.
Hopefully, they'll send some photos that I can post here on the blog.
If you're attending NECC, do stop in and give a shout out to Dave and Michael.
May 03, 2005
Boston Public Goes for Gizmos
Last week ExploreLearning visited with our friends in the Boston Public Schools to demonstrate successful teaching strategies for integrating Gizmos with Boston's SELECT Math website. SELECT Math (Supporting Engaged Learning by Enhancing Curriculum with Technology) is part of an ongoing project funded partially by a state No Child Left Behind grant.
The Boston Public Schools Office of Instructional Technology and the secondary math department also work with the Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC) to align technology to the math curriculum and to provide professional development to teachers. To date Boston has created over 200 alignments to district math lessons; many of the lessons include ExploreLearning Gizmos.
ExploreLearning looks forward to working with Boston Public Schools and EDC in the coming year.
(Photo Caption: Several BPS teachers pose with ExploreLearning founder Dave Shuster and SELECT Math project coordinator Sailaja Suresh [bottom right]. Click image for larger view.)
April 14, 2005
NSTA in Dallas: Science Everywhere
I recently attended the NSTA Annual Convention in Dallas, TX. I got to meet with a lots of teachers while waiting in line to chat with Bill Nye (aka The Science Guy), attending a wealth of interesting sessions, and shuttling around town in those big buses!
It was a great experience, and as often happens during those conventions, I can't stop thinking about science. While eating dinner one evening down in Dallas I snapped this photo, where I 'see' photosynthesis, electrical current passing through a resistive media to create light and heat, reflection from a very large mirror, scattering of light to create a big blue sky, and rapid cooling due to the decreasing sunlight.
Science is all around us, so be sure to look for things around you every day!
February 07, 2005
The Medium is the Message, and the Gizmo is the Quiz
For those of you who may at some point have thought to yourselves , "Wow, Gizmos are not only great teaching and learning tools, they would make great assessment items too!", you are not alone. At ExploreLearning, we've been thinking the same thing for a number of years, and thanks to the National Science Foundation we are now feverishly working on a functional system of this kind. [Backstory: last summer ExploreLearning was awarded a major grant from the NSF to develop a next-generation online assessment system that uses Gizmo-like interactivities to measure student's conceptual understanding in math and science].
In fact, I was in Phoenix recently for a NSF conference to report on the progress we're making. We had great feedback from other conference attendees, both from people in the educational software field as well as from researchers in other domains whose chief connection to education is that they have kids of their own who are struggling to understand topics like fractions or graphing motion! The buzz at the conference paralleled many of the things we are hearing and reading these days [see some URLs below], which all seem to be pointing to a need for a system that allows educators to probe students' conceptualizations of math and science topics in a more significant way than is practical using paper/pencil multiple-choice tests.
In addition to enabling educators to assess students on objectives that are traditionally difficult to measure (such as scientific reasoning ability), such a system would also generate data that teachers can use to adapt subsequent instruction more effectively -- for example, identifying specific difficulties that individual students or groups are experiencing, and then addressing these in the next lesson before these difficulties become major impediments to mastering more complex concepts/skills down the road.
Within a few months, we're hoping to be at the point where we can release some demos for the ExploreLearning community to play with and give feedback on. If you would like to be notified when we have a demo available, or would like more information on the project, just drop me (Paul Cholmsky) an email at email@example.com
If you'd like to read more about the issues this project is addressing, take a look at:
Ready or Not (District Administration magazine; 08/04)
Includes this quote from Assistant Secretary of Education Susan Sclafani:
"You can do [hands-on testing] with a random selection of students, but you can't do that when you want to test every student. There are just too many kids," Sclafani says. "It's not cost effective to try to set up a performance-based measure. But by using simulation you can simulate those experiences and give students the chance to demonstrate what they know."
Show Me the Numbers: How data drives school and student improvement (District Administration magazine; 09/04)
Describes how data from tests administered during a course of study are being used to manage subsequent instruction and individualize students’ learning paths.
Open-Ended Items Better Reveal Students' Mathematical Thinking (NCTM News Bulletin, 07/04)
Wendy Sanchez and Nicole Ice are the new editors of the Assessment Issues column in NCTM News Bulletin -- several of their recent columns have called attention to issues related to our project, e.g., why open ended assessment items are so useful.
August 23, 2004
Training Trip (The Gizmo Bus is Coming!)
Last Thursday, four of us boarded the Gizmo Bus and headed west from Charlottesville over the picturesque Afton Mountain to do a training session for the math teachers in Harrisonburg City and Rockingham County Virginia Schools.
In addition to being enthusiastic supporters of Gizmos, the teachers gave us plenty of great ideas! In the next few weeks we will try to add several of the suggestions to the ExploreLearning site. In the meantime, however, we are driving the Gizmo Bus to the next training session … Maybe we are coming to see you?
Get over the idea that only children should spend their time in study. Be a student so long as you still have something to learn, and this will mean all your life.
-- Henry L. Doherty
July 01, 2004
NECC in NOLA...a distant memory
ExploreLearning's founder Dave Shuster and I attended ISTE's annual NECC conference in New Orleans early last week. Despite the heat and humidity, we enjoyed seeing a great number of "ELFs" or ExploreLearning Friends and to make some new ELFs. We also got to meet up with Dick Casabonne, one of our Board members, who (it was evident) knew almost everyone attending the conference.
The exhibit hall at the mile-long Ernest N. Morial Convention Center was chock full of the "usual suspects" in educational software, hardware, etc. ExploreLearning Gizmos could be seen in the Apple booth and on SMART Technologies interactive whiteboards. Given that it was less than a year ago that we launched the "new and improved" ExploreLearning.com which offers subscription access to a library of 300+ of our award-winning Gizmos, several new ELFs gave us "two thumbs up."
Oh, and we did manage to enjoy some of NOLA's legendary cuisine, but (alas) not the night life. Dave scheduled too many breakfast meetings! And that's the report from your man on the street … now back to our regularly scheduled programming.
April 22, 2004
NCTM 82nd Annual Meeting
Michael Latsko, President of ExploreLearning, and Dave Shuster, ExploreLearning's Founder, piled into the Mini Cooper and headed off to the NCTM 82nd Annual Meeting yesterday. If you happen to be attending, seek them out and say hello.
Meanwhile, I'm still enjoying the imagery of our pres and founder zooming up 95 to Philly in a Mini. That just seems, I dunno, Gizmoesque somehow.
March 29, 2004
Say Hello in Atlanta
Dave Shuster and I will be heading down to Atlanta for the NSTA national convention. The convention runs from April 1-4 in Atlanta. If you will be there, be sure to stop by the Apple booth, where we will be showing off our Gizmos - live and in person! Hope to see you there!
ExploreLearning is currently featured on the Apple site as a Curriculum Solution.
March 15, 2004
Piedmont Regional Science Fair
Hi from the road! I'm here at the Piedmont Regional Science Fair in Charlottesville (just a few hundred yards from our office). I'm amazed at how sharp the students are, and have enjoyed chatting with several local teachers this morning.
Maybe next year I'll be a judge ;)
March 02, 2004
Meet A Developer In Atlanta
In just about a month the National Science Teachers Association will be holding their 52nd National Convention in Atlanta. Two of us from ExploreLearning will be there for the meeting, so if you would like to say hi we would love to chat with you.
I'll post more detailed information about how to find us in the upcoming weeks. Hope to see you there.
February 13, 2004
Albemarle County (VA) Public Schools pilot program
Paul Cholmsky and I visited Albemarle HS and Monticello HS, both in Albemarle County, VA, (surrounds our fair city of Charlottesville, VA) last week to train math teachers on the use of our site. This served as a kickoff to ExploreLearning pilot programs at middle schools and high schools throughout the county.
Many thanks to the teachers who took time out of their day to stay an extra 90 minutes after school. I think they found it to be a worthwhile hour and a half -- theoretically, they were ready to begin using Gizmos with their students the next day!
Also, thanks especially to Marlene Robinson, Carla Hunt, and Matt Blundin for help in organizing the two training sessions!
We look forward to working with the teachers of Albemarle County. We hope that this will be beneficial to them and their students, as well as to ExploreLearning.
January 13, 2004
If any of you live around Washington D.C. and work with Macromedia products (particularly Director), feel free to drop by the WAMMO meeting this evening. I'll be there to chat with others about the great features in the new version of Director, and maybe learn a few new tricks. Education never ends, it is a lifelong experience.
December 11, 2003
Arlington Public Schools visit
On Tuesday, David Lapides and I met with teachers and Instructional Technology Coordinators who will be using Gizmos in the Arlington Public School system. A great session, lots of energy and excitement. After spending so much of our time in the last few months developing the 'new' ExploreLearning.com, it's been a real thrill for us to get back to doing these workshops more regularly again. There's nothing like face-to-face discussion for brainstorming, exchanging ideas, and learning from each other!
One of the recurring 'hot' discussion points from these events is the use of Gizmos in cross-disciplinary teaching. For example, using science Gizmos as examples of applied mathematics -- in the case of a Gizmo like Mouse Breeding, how to calculate the probability of a mouse having a certain genotype based on its parents' genotypes. Or, using Gizmos from the 'math' side of ExploreLearning.com like Distance-Time Graphs to review essential mathematical concepts and skills before moving on to more advanced topics in physics.
If you have ideas or lesson plans for cross-disciplinary teaching that you'd like to share with other ExploreLearning.com users, please send them on in!
Many thanks to Laurell Wiersma for organizing the Arlington session!
Henrico County and Science
Dave, ExploreLearning's founder, and I went down to Henrico County yesterday afternoon and met with more than forty middle school science teachers who will be using Gizmos in their classrooms. The teachers (as is so often the case) were full of energy and had lots of ideas for new Gizmos.
With all those new ideas I have a feeling I will be kept rather busy!
November 04, 2003
Regional AAPT Meeting
If you are interested in learning a bit about how we make Gizmos, or are just heading to the regional American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) Fall Meeting for the Chesapeake Section, be sure to drop by and say hi or attend the workshop that I'll put putting on. The meeting takes place November 7th and 8th at Tidewater Community College in Virginia Beach, VA.
Information related to the exact location, registration, and lodging can be found at this location.
Web-based physics applets allow students to actively explore concepts in classroom demonstrations or independent study, and can be integrated with online assessment to increase student learning. Creation of the applets (similar to those at ExploreLearning) is possible with many techniques (JAVA, Flash, VRML, etc.). This interactive tutorial will focus on Macromedia Director (for the Mac or PC platform). The tutorial will present the fundamentals of Director, and the Director programming language (Lingo) that enables advanced simulations. Topics will include creation of an interactive applet, importing cast members, developing scripts, and placing completed files on the Web, along with discussion of the Havok Physics Xtra and 3D support that are included with Macromedia Director. While demonstrating the software, we will step through the entire development process for a simple simulation. Each participant will receive a CD with sample files.
October 30, 2003
Two of our ExploreLearning Team Members, Dave Shuster (founder) and Rob Gordon (Dir. of Production) are up in Pennsylvania attending the Digital Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment Showcase. The goings on include,
An opportunity for area educators to examine electronic curriculum materials that propose to meet national and state standards, or manage and assess student progress. … Prominent companies have been invited to demonstrate their curriculum related products during the day.
Sounds like just the place for ExploreLearning reps to be. If any of you will be attending, be sure to catch up to Dave and Rob and say hello.
In With the In Crowd?
Dave Shuster, ExploreLearning's founder, shares this bit from a recent EL road trip:
Ted [EL's CEO] and I attended last week a very cool and exclusive event called "The Nation at Risk: Reflecting on Two Decades of Reform". The event was put on by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the J. Paul Getty Trust, and was attended by 60 people in New York.
In attendance were the current Education Secretary, Rod Paige, former Education Secretary (and former S.C. Governor), Richard Riley, former education secretary, Dr. Lauro Cavazos (served under Reagan and Bush 1) along with many other big deal kind of people like Matt Miller who has been writing some very interesting stuff on public education in the Atlantic Monthly, a couple of other former governors (Albert Quie of Minnesota and Tom Keane of N.J.), most of original ten members of the commission that created the report "A Nation at Risk" back in 1983, and various other public sector luminaries such as Vartan Gregorian, president of the Carnegie corporation and former president of Brown University for 16 years and all around big deal in education. Similarly, Barry Munitz, President and CEO of the J. Paul Getty Trust and former chancellor of the California State University system …
I actually got to talk a bit with several of the former commissioners and Secretaries Cavazos and Riley, among others. It was pretty cool. We had lunch at a nice Hotel in NY and Dinner at Gracie Mansion!
So how did we get invited? Beats me, but we were the only private sector people there. No MS, no Dell, no Apple, no publishers, no anybody like that. Just two folks from our humble, little ExploreLearning company. I'm amazed all over again as I write this.
I love that last bit about the mystery surrounding the invitation. It's a good omen methinks.
October 21, 2003
On Teachers and Type
Yesterday Dave Shuster (EL's founder) and I went to Baltimore County to do hands on user training with our new site and Gizmos in general. As a former teacher myself, I tell you it's always invigorating to reconnect with those of you in the profession and hear your enthusiasm and success stories. (And I'd be lying if I said I don't really miss being in the classroom from time to time. There is a certain magic to the relationship between teacher and student that you just don't find elsewhere.)
Unlike traditional typefaces, which reuse the same forms for multiple letters -- such as b and d, or p and q -- the Read Regular typeface makes each letter significantly unique so that dyslexics can more easily distinguish one character from another. Additionally, Read Regular features simplified forms and extended openings in letters like c and e.
That's great news. And if you have any interest at all in typography and its history, I highly recommend Robert Bringhurst's The Elements of Typographic Style. After reading it, you'll never look at a printed page (or words on a screen) the same way again.