October 18, 2012
Florida Teacher Links High Science Scores to Gizmos
Teacher Michelle Yarish just moved from a high school to a middle school magnet school in Hillsborough County Public Schools in Florida. She says her 7th graders are excited to use Gizmos like Growing Plants this year, but she also wanted to share her experiences with Gizmos with her high school students last year.
She writes that "I do feel confident in saying that my use of Gizmos (specifically Water Pollution, Greenhouse Effect, Distance-Time and Velocity-Time Graphs, Measuring Motion, Free Fall Tower, Fan Cart Physics and Doppler Shift Advanced) was integral to Steinbrenner having the highest Physical Science second semester exam scores in Hillsborough County. I especially think the students benefit by working at their own pace. I often observed students helping their peers which we know shows the highest level of learning. As a teacher I appreciate being able to adjust the handouts and the data obtained from the quizzes."
We look forward to hearing a similar science success story with her 7th Graders this year!
February 21, 2012
Gizmos: Best preparation for the Common Core State Standards
The District Mathematics Chair from El Dorado Public Schools in Arkansas wrote to us about his perspective on preparing for the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics.
He noted, "For the past several years we have used ExploreLearning’s Gizmos in our math and science classes. Based on a preliminary release of the assessment piece for Common Core State Standards, we feel this platform may be the best preparation for our students to be successful on the forthcoming online assessments."
He continues: "Not only do the Gizmos work well with our SMART Board presentation system, the biggest impact for students comes when teachers have them conduct explorations at individual computer work stations. A key addition to their product is the quarterly usage report. Using data generated by teacher and student usage, we have been able to spend our funds more wisely as well as identify training needs for our teachers. Overall, we have been extremely satisfied with the quality and value of this product."
We are thrilled to get this kind of support, as we have been working very diligently to ensure Gizmos not only correlate to the Common Core, but actively help educators prepare for its implementation. The emphasis on conceptual understanding combined with their interactive, online nature, make Gizmos a superb preparation for the rigorous Common Core standards and for the associated PARCC and SBAC assessments.
December 01, 2011
Gizmos contributed to a jump in standardized scores
The Atlanta Journal and Constitution recently published an article about the importance of science education in preparing children to enter the 21st-century workforce.
The article emphasizes how students are at risk of dropping out of school if they lack confidence in their ability to handle academic challenges. It then goes on to talk about how Gizmos, with their emphasis on deep conceptual understanding, help students succeed:
Kelly Stewart, a former science teacher at Ridgeview Charter Middle School, saw her eighth-grade students' science CRCT scores jump 8 to 13 percent in two years after she received a grant from SSEF to put Gizmos in her classroom.
“Gizmos gave my students online labs and simulations that we couldn’t have done in middle school,” said Stewart, now school data analyst for Fulton County Schools. The program is visual, interactive and allows her students to grasp concepts and make connections they wouldn’t otherwise.
To learn more about the effectiveness of Gizmos in improving student achievement, read about the research behind Gizmos.
October 04, 2011
Great Gizmos training experiences
We get a lot of great feedback about our top-notch Professional Development staff. As an example, recently we got a note from an inclusion teacher in Massachusetts' Falmouth Public Schools who said this after attending a training with PD Regional Manager Betty Korte:
"Betty was just terrific and adeptly read the 'pulse' of our staff as tech-savvy and tailored an afternoon which was just perfect for my staff. She was totally knowledgeable about all aspects of the program, kept the training moving at a good pace for the audience, she was wonderfully pleasant and kept to the agenda in a timely manner."
Betty is just one of many superb trainers ready to help you improve teaching and learning in your classrooms. Our PD team brings a wide variety of training offerings to schools, from Initial Gizmo Training which helps teachers start off right with Gizmos, to targeted offerings helping teachers utilize best practices in math and science to customized support programs to sustain broad use of Gizmos over time.
September 19, 2011
Gizmos provide a rich experience for students
We recently heard from Paul Therrien, Vice Principal at I.V. Macklin Public School in Alberta, and we wanted to share what he had to say about Gizmos in his school:
“Our school has been using Gizmos and our teachers and students love them! Gizmos allow our students and teachers access to science and math demonstrations and labs within seconds. Students are able to easily manipulate variables and conduct experiments that they would not be able to do in class. They also allow students to do experiments outside of the regular classroom and get caught up if they are away from school.
“The Gizmos are easy to use and provide a rich experience for students learning science and math. Gizmos also provide teachers with the ability to differentiate for students with other needs.
“The Circuits Gizmo gives students the flexibly to create electrical circuits virtually and provides students with instant feedback on whether they were successful or not, without having to worry about equipment malfunction.”
Thanks, Paul, and keep up the good work!
July 20, 2011
Using Gizmos to teach teachers
Gizmos are popular with Education professors as a means to demonstrate inquiry-based learning. We often hear that they are also used to help pre-service teachers to improve their own understanding of math and science concepts. (You're never too old to learn from a Gizmo!)
One of these university-level instructors, Sue Glascoe, has recently subscribed to Gizmos and written a review of Gizmos in her Teaching Math with Technology blog. She concludes:
"I will have my pre-service students evaluating and choosing their favorite Gizmos for different areas of Elementary mathematics this Fall semester. I can’t wait to see their reactions to these amazing math and science simulations!"
We're looking forward to hearing more from Sue and anyone using Gizmos in the post-secondary environment.
June 30, 2011
A New York elementary school's plan for summer enrichment: Reflex!
Teachers, schools, and even entire districts are starting to adopt Reflex to help their students excel in mathematics.
At the recent ISTE conference, an educator from Richard P Conner Elementary School stopped by to show us their school's Reflex website for parents. The school sent login info home with report cards, giving students the chance to benefit from Reflex throughout the summer.
After a whole summer with Reflex, these kids are going to be lightning fast in math facts!
January 13, 2011
Gizmos promote active learning
One of the most rewarding parts about being an educator is the moment when your teaching helps unlock new concepts in students' minds. What can be even more rewarding is when students then challenge themselves to learn even more. As teacher Amy Barrieau has discovered, Gizmos encourage students to take their understanding to this next level:
"I've had much success with Gizmos thus far and some great feedback from students and parents alike...Gizmos encourage cognitive ﬂexibilty in the way [they] require students to question, explore, test and discover in multiple ways. The simulations are accurately based on real life tests and students challenge themselves to ﬁnd new combinations of variables to accomplish a goal."
New Brunswick School District 16, Canada
While other products are "sit and receive", passive tools, Gizmos promote active learning. Students can experience phenomena virtually and connect classroom learning with the real world.
January 05, 2011
Gizmos have the "pin drop" effect!
Let's admit it. Kids today know far more about technology than we ever did at their age. The infusion of technology into virtually every aspect of our lives is something they fully appreciate and understand. So, it only makes sense to induct technology into classrooms and transform the way kids learn. What may seem like a daunting learning task can easily be accomplished with Gizmos! Science teacher Cami Field knows just what a wonderful effect Gizmos has in her classroom:
"My students love doing Gizmos. Any activity that uses technology immediately grabs their attention. They are so involved in the activity that you could hear a pin drop!"
Earth Science Teacher
Portsmouth Public School District, VA
Check out the Research Behind Gizmos and discover some of the reasons why Gizmos are such powerful tools for improving student learning!
December 15, 2010
Add Gizmos to your holiday wish list!
When shopping for the hottest items this season, don't forget to accessorize your classroom too! Gizmos provide powerful interactive visualizations of concepts, helping students develop deep and lasting understanding. Chemistry teacher Towana Baldwin loves what they have done to enhance her science lessons:
"Finally! An effective resource that science teachers can use to make science come to life! Gizmos are awesome! They go beyond scientific visualization, and incorporate independent learning...This semester I introduced students to Gizmos in reviewing Balancing Chemical Equations. After working with Gizmos, many understood that balancing equations involves actual molecules and atoms. It amazed me that after all of my instruction my students still needed to SEE science to UNDERSTAND it. That’s why I love, love, love Gizmos! It’s a must have for teachers."
Tamona J. Baldwin
Portsmouth Public School District, VA
Bring the “Ah-Hah!” moment to your classroom with Gizmos. Your students will reap benefits the whole year through!
October 08, 2010
Gizmo users see results!
Gizmos help get students excited about learning and thinking critically about math and science concepts, but do they really yield results? Teachers and administrators from all over are telling us: "yes!" Teacher Caryn Murray in Kansas can personally attest to the success of using Gizmos. Caryn shares with us:
"Our 7th grade students made a 98.6% on the Kansas State Science Assessment! Explorelearning.com is one of our favorite resources. It really helps teach concepts that are otherwise difficult to explain!!!"
Frontenac Unified School District 249, KS
This is great news Caryn! We hope that Gizmos will continue to impact your students and increase their scores.
Educators are all a-Twitter over Gizmos
We asked our followers on Twitter to tell us what they love about Gizmos, and the response has been remarkable! Here are just a few of the great things we've heard:
Amy Gilbert: "I love @ExploreLearning Gizmos because they are actual inquiry-based activities that require students to think!"
MaryJac Reed: "I love @ExploreLearning Gizmos because they capture my students' imagination and get them thinking outside the box! True inquiry science!"
Lynn Jeffs: "I love @ExploreLearning Gizmos because gizmos are fun, engaging for students and the teacher can assess understanding easily."
Jared Stavinoha: "I love @ExploreLearning Gizmos because it gives my students tools to interact with, so they develop and reason through problems."
Lorenzo Arredondo: "I love @ExploreLearning Gizmos because it lets me track student data as they answer questions from interactive lessons that are fun!"
Joseph Blizzard: "I love @ExploreLearning Gizmos because it lets my students do "real labwork" that I just can't get done in the time and space that I have."
Brian Gordon: "I love @ExploreLearning because it allows my students to have visually stimulating and hands-on technology for math and science concepts."
Elisa Heinricher: "I love @ExploreLearning Gizmos because the kids get so excited about learning and stay focused for such a long time!"
...and that's just a few of them!
We're re-tweeting these from our own Twitter profile, so you can see more just by checking us out there. Follow us from your Twitter account, and you'll also get great breaking news from the worlds of math and science: many of these are stories and ideas you can use in your classroom.
September 30, 2010
"...Limitless opportunities for conceptual and extended learning"
It's always wonderful to hear how much teachers love Gizmos. And it's great to know that the people who support teachers appreciate Gizmos as well.
Leslie Accardo is the Model Schools Coordinator at the Lower Hudson Regional Information Center in New York. She says:
“I have been advocating and supporting the Gizmos in this region to different degrees for quite a number of years. In my experiences in reviewing all genres of instructional products, there are few that I would recommend with such personal excitement, and the Gizmos are one of them. High interest, easily accessible; low learning curve, and multiple entry points for teaching and learning. One Gizmo in the hand of a math/science teacher can provide almost limitless opportunities for conceptual and extended learning.”
That's exactly what we have in mind when we're working on Gizmos, Leslie!
September 07, 2010
Gizmo videos on YouTube
Fourth grade students at Woodside Elementary School in Maine have been posting videos about Gizmos on YouTube. Check out some of the fun content they have made public:
- Cole, clearly a spokesperson-in-training, gives a video demonstration of the Factor Trees Gizmo.
- Josh demonstrates the concept of volume using the Balancing Blocks Gizmo.
- Junie shows number line estimation using the ever-popular Cannonball Clowns Gizmo.
- And, Josh and Junie collaborate on an overview video about Gizmos.
We love seeing Gizmos being used, explored and explained by students, and we would be delighted to see even more! If you make a good video that helps people discover and learn more about Gizmos, consider posting it for others to see on YouTube. Be sure to tag it with #ExploreLearning to make it easy to find. If you drop us a line as well, you may see a mention right here in the EL News.
September 02, 2010
Start the school year with Gizmos!
Once again, it's that special time of the year: Back to school! The classrooms are spotless, the notebooks are full of crisp paper and the pencils are freshly sharpened. But, the one thing that will get students interested in learning isn't the allure of colorful book covers, it's technology. Follow the lead of middle school teacher Lindsey Blevins and integrate Gizmos in your classroom to keep students engaged the whole year through:
"I found that with the added use of technology, using Gizmos, I reached even a greater percentage of my students because of the varied level of instruction each Gizmo provides. I was able to direct students with specialized learning needs, from basic to advanced...Even those students who may not be technology oriented had an interest in the Gizmos because they were manipulating the learning situation and it became an individualized challenge for them to succeed....ExploreLearning and Gizmos has provided a wonderful technology tool that provides strong differentiated, supplemental instruction."
Middle School Science Teacher
Mountain Home School District 9, AR
There are Gizmos for all learners. Browse our library of over 450 Gizmos by math or science topic, state/provincial standard, or textbook correlation to find the right ones for your classroom!
August 20, 2010
Survey of PA 8th graders reveals stellar results
Anthony Jackowski, Assistant Principal of Springton Lake Middle School, PA, conducted a survery among 8th grade students to see how they were responding to Gizmos. He graciously shared their responses with us, and the comments speak for themselves:
"I like Gizmos because..."
•"...I was able to use an interactive website which gave feedback."
•"...They are very convenient. Doing them from home is nice."
•"...I am a visual learner and they were well illustrated."
•"...They are very easy to use. They are fast and simple with hardly any flaws."
•"...We don’t have to waste real materials: we can use [Gizmos] on a computer."
Rating based on a 1-10 scale (10 being the highest):
•"I would rate Gizmos a 10 on how much they help understand the science concepts. You don’t always know if you understand a concept until you are tested on it and Gizmos help to reinforce what I learned."
•" I’d give [Gizmos] a 10 because you can move around objects to get your answer, which may be easier than doing it mentally."
•"I would give Gizmos a 9. It helps me because I actually get to see and experiment on what we’re learning."
We are always thrilled to hear directly from our student audience. Happy students learning more with Gizmos is what ExploreLearning is all about!
June 04, 2010
Gizmo Recommendations contest winner!
Thank you to the many ExploreLearning subscribers who participated in our recent Gizmo Recommendations contest. We received hundreds of new (and terrific) recommendations for Gizmos up and down the curriculum! Today, we randomly chose the winner for our iPod contest, for subscribers submitting at least 5 new recommendations. The winner is Cathy Hammell from Polk County, FL. Cathy teaches middle school science and had this to say earlier today:"Wow! I am very excited and got a big smile when I read the congratulations email. I love Gizmos. They provide my students with the added visual to what I teach in the classroom. They also provide my students with a clear picture of concepts and fill in the gaps of anything I missed."
Take a look at a couple of the science Gizmos that Cathy recommended: Mystery Powder Analysis and Element Builder. Or, try one of these math Gizmos also recently recommended: Order of Operations and Adding and Subtracting Integers.
Look for another Gizmo-related contest over the summer. Details will be coming in a newsletter soon!
May 27, 2010
Gizmos get A+ grade from Arkansas students
For Cheryl Prock, a middle school teacher in Pottsville School District, Arkansas, the enjoyment her students get from using Gizmos in her classroom has not gone unnoticed. She asked that some of her most enthusiatic students write us a letter to tell us just how much they like Gizmos. Cheryl also tells us about her experience with Gizmos as a teacher:
“As you will read, these students really enjoy using the Gizmos. They really have fun exploring the different Gizmos available. As a teacher, it is so nice to have online manipulatives to extend the students' learning. They make it pretty obvious that they do not consider it to be more work, yet they feel like they are ‘playing’.”
The letter from three of her 6th grade students adds:
“Gizmos are fantastic, excellent, and superb! The one we like to play the most is Quilting Bee (Symmetry) because we like to draw unknown, weird, and spectacular images.”
Thank you Cheryl for encouraging your students to write to us. ExploreLearning is dedicated to deepening conceptual knowledge in math and science, and allowing students to have fun while learning. It is great to know that these goals are being reached one student at a time!
May 20, 2010
Can you grow the tallest plant?
During a training workshop for Nassau BOCES in New York we enticed some participating educators to get into the spirit of interactive learning. We challenged them to compete against each other to grow the tallest plant, using our Growing Plants Gizmo. Nicole Blumberg (see above photo) was the proud winner of an ExploreLearning t-shirt, but her students, who are experiencing the power of Gizmos, are the real winners.
Here is what Nicole had to say about Gizmos:
"Gizmos are truly exciting and exceptional tools that are motivating and engaging for all students through an interactive learning experience."
K-5 Science Teacher
Solomon Schechter Day School, NY
Congratulations Nicole on your victory. Enjoy your cool t-shirt, and Gizmos too!
May 17, 2010
Arkansas teacher declares: "I love using Gizmos."
With funding from a Title IID grant (EETT), middle school teachers and students across Arkansas are experiencing Gizmos! After just a few short months of implementation, one teacher wrote to us about how integrating Gizmos has transformed her classroom and lesson planning:
“…I love using Gizmos. It is so user friendly that I feel comfortable enough to explore a lesson in front of my class. My students totally enjoy the lessons. We have done them as a whole class, in the computer lab with partners, and as individuals. They talk math and science when we are using Gizmos.
I teach middle school math and science and I find the lessons to be valuable experiences for supporting the content...They are fabulous for giving students an understanding of controlling and manipulating variables. They are probably one of the most helpful tools that I have received in many years. I spend hours in lesson preparation, and yet Gizmos only requires a few minutes to find a lesson, comprehend it, and plug it into the curriculum.
Thank you for designing a program that does not require a doctorate in computer language and operation. Thank you for lessons that have beautiful, appealing, captivating presentations and applicable content. This is so wonderful!!”
Street Middle School
North Little Rock School District, AR
We love to hear that Gizmos are making a difference in Arkansas schools! Thank you Catherine for sharing!
May 03, 2010
NYC Science teacher uses Gizmos to convey abstract ideas
Jeanne Lotito, New York City High School Science teacher and ExploreLearning subscriber since 2008, describes what she loves about Gizmos:
"As a science teacher I sometimes find it difficult to convey abstract ideas. The ExploreLearning Gizmos are an excellent tool for bringing these ideas to life; allowing students to visualize these concepts and solidify their understanding. In addition, as students are interacting with the Gizmos, I have the freedom to be more mobile throughout the classroom and provide more individualized instruction. I am confident that any other teacher who chooses to try ExploreLearning Gizmos will be equally satisfied."
We are so happy to hear about the continued success Jean is having with Gizmos in her classroom. Thank you Jean for your strong recommendation!
High School for Arts and Business
Community School District 24, NYC
August 11, 2009
Gizmos Make A Difference to Science Results...
Wayne Worthley is a teacher at Redland Middle school - which is part of Dade County School District in Florida. Wayne has contacted us with comments regarding the outstanding results he has seen in his students using Gizmos in preparation for their science FCAT (Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test). The results speak for themselves:
"There were around 350 8th grade students in the school and I taught about 75 of them. Of those 75, 67% passed with a 3 or better. Of the other approximately 275 8th grade students, only 10% of them passed with a 3 or better...
GIZMOS make a difference and are a valuable instructional tool for me."
Wayne, we are delighted that Gizmos are making such a difference to the students you teach, and thank you for your support of Gizmos!
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 04, 2009
Online Gizmo Training - a great success in Dekalb County, GA...
Victoria Barbour, a teacher in Dekalb County, GA, wrote to us expressing her thanks for a great online training session with Gizmos:
We are delighted that Victoria has had a great experience with the online Gizmo training in Dekalb, and this has been replicated throughout Dekalb, with great results, as Dr. Trinna McKay, who is an ExploreLearning Certified Trainer explains....
After teachers began using Gizmos, there were increases in Biology & Physical Science EOCT (end of course test) results, and in general, Dekalb science scores have been above or near the state average in each high school. The success of Gizmos as a product and its alignment to the state performance standards made it an easy product to use for all teachers."
Gizmos has been the best for interactive concepts…
We have received some great feedback from Kristi Schmitter. Kristi is a teacher in Page Unified School District in Arizona, and has been using Gizmos regularly with great success:
"Gizmos has been the best for interactive concepts geared to mathematics…Gizmos is a true virtual manipulative for mathematics with assessment results…Gizmos are researched based.
Thanks for your wonderful comments, Kristi!
May 07, 2009
Gulfport MS video shows Gizmos in action for "New Skool" learning
At Gulfport High School in Mississippi, teachers and students are so excited about learning in an effective, "New Skool" way that they made a video to share their enthusiasm. The five-minute video, which features ExploreLearning Gizmos, can be found on ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) Vision. Currently, Old Skool vs. New Skool is ISTE's most popular video, with over 2,700 views!
Here's Gulfport's introduction to their film:
"Wow, school has changed over the past two decades. From posters and models to gadgets and Gizmos. Our video depicts how technologies have changed what we do in school and how we do it. Learning is fun, interactive, and engaging. Content is richer, deeper, and conceptually based. Using terms common in high school now (e.g. "old skool/new skool"), this video will demonstrate how both teachers and students at Gulfport High School share the learning process."
Two ExploreLearning Gizmos are featured in the video. RNA and Protein Synthesis and Modeling Linear Systems Activity B. Students experiment with these Gizmos and model conceptual understanding in a whole group learning environment, using interactive whiteboards from Promethean. They also use Promethean's student response systems when answering our Assessment Questions.
Share your "journey of successes, lessons learned, and celebrations of educational technology making a difference for our kids" at ISTE Vision. If you share a Gizmo story, drop us a line at Customer Support and we'll help you spread the word!
April 06, 2009
New Science Curriculum Materials - Just What We Need!
We've already gotten some great feedback on our new science curriculum materials, and Kay Mcleod, a teacher at North Buncombe High School, in North Carolina, has written to us to share some of her thoughts on the new lesson materials:
Look out for more of the new materials coming throughout the year.
March 18, 2009
Great Comments from the Online Course...
Our online training course is a great way to increase your knowledge and skill using ExploreLearning Gizmos. Many educators have participated in this course, and we have received comments about their experiences, through an electronic survey. Here is great feedback we wanted to share:
Question: What was the most valuable aspect of the online Gizmo training course?
Easy to follow instruction on the website.
I think just taking the Gizmos into my classroom!
The Web Conferences when we networked with the other participants.
The graphics, explanations, movies and feedback from instructors/classmates.
The training course was most valuable to me in learning the different ways to incorporate Gizmos into lessons that I already teach. Also, it was very helpful in learning to navigate the website.
It provided me with lab activities that my students would probably never have experienced.
Thank you to all of you who have participated in our online course, and for sharing your thoughts. For those of you who are interested in the online course, you can contact ExploreLearning sales for more information about the course, or to sign up.
March 13, 2009
The Online Course was a Superb Idea!
Mark Raffler, an Instructional Technology Specialist and Trainer, in Grand Rapids, MI, has shared some great comments with regard to our new online course:
Thank you Mark for your remarks, we are so pleased that the online course has been a great experience for you!
March 11, 2009
Gizmos: a wonderful asset to my lesson plans as a student teacher!
Shannon Dey, a student teacher in Monongalia County, WV, has contacted us to share some of her first experiences with Gizmos:
Thank you Shannon for your feedback, and we are delighted that Gizmos are having such a great impact on your student teaching!!
March 10, 2009
Subscriber Survey - thank you for your comments!
Thank you to all of our subscribers who responded to our recent ExploreLearning.com and Gizmos survey. Your responses are helping us to focus our development efforts on the things that will make the biggest difference for educators.
By the way, here is great feedback from educators who responded to the survey:
I love your site because it simulates hands-on learning with a great depth of learning and critical thinking skills.
I really do love Gizmos. They are a great way for students to explore a concept and see it in a different way. My students have never been more motivated to learn and try an educational program.
Gizmos are an extraordinary teaching tool. Students love it!
Thanks for creating activities that students really enjoy and learn a vast amount of knowledge in the process!
It is the greatest thing I have seen online with regards to interactive math and science labs.
You are the best thing I have found in 28 years of teaching Science. Kudos for a job well done!
If you haven't experienced Gizmos, you haven't explored all possibilities of technology in the classroom!
Thank you for all of your suggestions, and we are thrilled that so many of you love using Gizmos!
February 20, 2009
Keep up the excellent work you are doing for our children
Marjorie Anne Wallace, a science teacher in Newport News, VA, is having great success using Gizmos with her 7th grade life science students. We are delighted that Marjorie contacted us to share her thoughts:
Today's [ExploreLearning] newsletter displayed Human skull measurements [Human Evolution - Skull Analysis]….What an excellent shoe-in for my fossil unit.....Oh, by the way, two years ago I received National Board Certification and used the Mouse Genetics Gizmo as a small group lesson in my portfolio entry. With upper level inquiry questioning I guided them through the activity on a SMART Board, and my students picked up the concepts.... Keep up the excellent work you are doing for our children.
Marjorie Anne Wallace, Huntington Middle School, Newport News Public Schools
Many thanks Marjorie for your kind words and we are thrilled that Gizmos are having such a great impact on your 7th grade life science students!
February 19, 2009
ExploreLearning Gizmos: The Best Math Program That I Have Ever Seen!
Jacob Hesselschwardt, a math teacher in Northwest, LA, has some truly amazing and wonderful news to share in
regards to how ExploreLearning Gizmos have begun to reshape the
entire fabric of how his students view and understand mathematics.
Here is Jacob's story:
My school is one of the oldest in my parish. It is made up of a large cross section of families; however, our students are largely of a lower socio-economic influence. We experience student struggles that some of the other wealthier schools in our community do not, or at least do not to such an extent experience. Some of these struggles include student accountability, attendance, and motivation to learn. These troubles resulted in our school being labeled in the recent past as an "At Risk," "Minimal Growth School."
Through the hard work and persistent dedication of our faculty, though, we slowly started to turn things around. Still, because the performance bar is raised each year by the state department, we continue to be only a one star out of a possible five star school. This year though - through the aid of ExploreLearning - we have risen above our competition, literally. You see I am the MathCounts coach at my school. In fact I am the first MathCounts coach in my school since two decades ago when MathCounts was first organized nationally - after all, why would a school like mine have a need for a math team if we cannot even manage to perform up to the bar on state standardized tests. Well this is where the good news comes in. You see, while we were preparing for a math competition, my students used your program extensively in their preparations. We used several of your Gizmos to gain a more formal, in-depth knowledge of a multitude of concepts that we may not have understood had we simply remained in the classroom and used textbooks and pencils. Because of the very nature of your program, my students were able to receive differentiated instruction with a wide assortment of virtual manipulatives to help enrich their then current knowledge base. And that contest that I mentioned... we took first place!
I would like to praise your program longer, but I must go. You see, tomorrow we are competing again, but this time in the regional competition. And all I have to say is that all of the other teams had better watch out, especially if they don't have ExploreLearning on their side. Thanks for providing the best math program that I have ever seen!
Thank you Jacob for sharing your amazing story, and it is really uplifting to hear how Gizmos are making such a difference to your students learning and achievement!
January 23, 2009
New web page: The Research Behind Gizmos
For many years, research has consistently shown simulations to be powerful tools for improving student learning. ExploreLearning has compiled the best of this research and packaged it for you in an easy-to-read format. Learn more about why Gizmos work by reviewing this compelling evidence.
You can easily find this information by clicking on "What the research says about Gizmos" on the front page of ExploreLearning.com, or by using this direct link: http://www.explorelearning.com/research
If you have any questions or would like more information on any of these studies, please call Support at 866-882-4141 Option 4 or send us an email at email@example.com.
October 22, 2008
Our Customer Service Rated Top-notch
We received this high praise from a technology coordinator in Mississippi this week, who has been working closely with the ExploreLearning Professional Development team:
"I can tell you this...I've worked with a lot of technologies (hardware & software) in the last 15 years; and, I can honestly say that by far, the people with whom I've come in contact at ExploreLearning have been some of the most professional. Not once have I made a request or a contact, whether in person, by phone, or via email, and not received a reply in a timely and favorable manner."
"I'm impressed...and that's not easy to come by."
Director of Technology, Gulfport School District, MS
If you need assistance with Gizmos, our capable and courteous Sales, Professional Development and Customer Support teams are ready to work with you. Contact us today at 866-882-4141 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
October 13, 2008
Elementary Math Gizmos A Hit with Gifted Students
Positive comments have started to come in regarding our newest Gizmos.
Please tell the staff at ExploreLearning how much the kids and I LOVE the Elementary Math Gizmos! I'm using them with my 1st grade gifted kids! AND THEY GET IT!
-Lee Ann Jones
Teacher of the Gifted, Norland Elementary School
Miami-Dade County Public Schools, FL
Elementary Gizmos are designed for students in grades 3-5. As always though, these Gizmos are flexible enough to be used at many levels, as extension opportunities in lower elementary or for reinforcement of important concepts in middle school. Check out the Elementary Math and science library today!
July 11, 2008
Gizmos Help Student Scores on VA State Tests
We received this great feedback on recent state test scores from a veteran middle school science teacher:
"I wanted to pass on to you my Virginia Science SOL (Standards of Learning) results. I credit my fantastic results to Gizmos and to my classroom performance system. I had 73.5% of my special needs kids pass the test!!!!! Not to be outdone I had 44 pass advance and 5 perfect scores out of 117 students testing! You would think I would stop being amazed at how well your programs work but I still get amazed every week when we use Gizmos. I have the computers signed out every week and we do at least one Gizmo a week and they students do not tire of it. They come in and chant, "Gizmo day, Gizmo day!"
Kris Campesi, Middle School Science Teacher
Stafford County, VA
June 12, 2008
Gizmos Are Creating a Buzz in Canada too.
We recently received this testimonial from a new Gizmo fan in the Prince Edward School District Board in Ontario, Canada:
"I have just spent a very enjoyable and worthwhile amount of time exploring "Gizmos", which I understand has been recently licensed in Ontario by OSAPAC. I recall seeing your sales rep about this at NCTM in Richmond, VA last October, and in my summary report to management indicating it was one of the only worthwhile applications we should explore further.
I must confess that my positive remarks at that time were understated. After using the simulations and seeing the high-quality videos you have, I am even more convinced that you have an outstanding product. And speaking as our office's resident curmudgeon, I seldom give out that kind of praise.
Thanks for making such a high-quality item."
William S. Lundy
I.T.S. Department, Mathematical Literacy/SMART Board Lead, The Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board
Thanks for this endorsement of Gizmos, Bill!
May 28, 2008
Gizmos: “The best computer program I have ever seen to use in math classrooms”
We just received this praise from a 7th grade Math teacher in Greenwich, CT, who helped evaluate Gizmos for her district’s middle schools.
“I just wanted to follow up about the Gizmo program we've been able to try through ExploreLearning.com. It works great as a classroom tool with the Smartboard, which I've finally got up and running…The students are so excited when they get to use Gizmos, which makes them excited about learning. The correlation to the Connected Math books is amazing. There has been a worthwhile Gizmo for every Investigation since we've had the opportunity to use the program. Using the Exploration Guide for each Gizmo, I have created Activity Packets for the students to complete. These Exploration Guides are very well put together and directly correlate with topics being discussed in class. This is the best computer program I have seen to use in math classrooms. The students get to see real simulations that they read about in the books. It gives real life problem-solving a whole new meaning to them. It is so helpful for students who have a hard time with visualization.
Since I've started using them with the students, I refer to the Gizmos as I'm teaching. I have even had a student mention a Gizmo in extra help, …and she was immediately able to relate it to the problem she was working on. I really feel that it expands critical thinking skills and helps [students] connect and extend their understanding.
The Assessment Questions provided with each Gizmo are excellent. They are often similar to CMT (Connecticut Math Test) multiple-choice questions, which is great practice for the students. I love being able to see how the students did and where they need more instruction. I have only used the assessment questions when I have taken the students to the computer lab, but they can easily be assigned as homework. I have accessed the site from home and it would not be a problem for students to do so. The results that are provided for the teacher are great instant feedback. I honestly would give anything to be able to use this in my classroom next year.
I looked over the Gizmos that correlate with the other books I cover in my classes and my mind is already forming plans to incorporate them in my teaching plans…This is the most passionate and excited I have ever been about a new teaching tool.”
--- Emily Carter, Greenwich, CT
May 15, 2008
Gizmos as part of Classrooms for the Future
The Classrooms for the Future initiative provides funds for schools in Pennsylvania to purchase state-of-the-art resources for teachers to more effectively educate and prepare students to compete in the ever-expanding high-tech global marketplace. Under this initiative, one Pennsylvania high school, in Millcreek Township, is using Gizmos as a great resource for improving student learning in science.
"My AP students found the Bohr Model Gizmos to be really helpful and a very useful tool to visualize the electrons bombarding the nucleus and the energy that is absorbed or emitted. My Applications of Chemistry students found the Element Builder Gizmo fun and a unique visual with moving parts to see the atoms."
Julie DeWoody, High School Science Teacher, Millcreek Township, PA
Julie also participated in a video segment showcasing the success she's had using Gizmos in her AP Chemistry class. Watch this video and see about how Julie has made a difference for her students with Gizmos.
March 17, 2008
More Kudos for the EL Customer Support Team
Yesterday, a subscribing teacher in Maryland emailed our Customer Support Team about a problem he had encountered while trying to log into our website. Our able Customer Service Supervisor, Carmen Edwards, quickly picked up his email and began to troubleshoot the issue. She gave him two easy-to-follow suggestions for resolving the problem. We got this complimentary response from him afterwards:
"Thank you for your quick response. I will try your suggestions. This is the second time I have utilized your customer service and I think it is excellent. It's as good as any company I have dealt with on a school level or as a private citizen."
Jeff Wagner, Anne Arundel County MD Public Schools
Thank you Jeff for the kind words!
If you have a question of any kind about using Gizmos, please feel free to give us a call at 866-882-4141, Option 4 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
December 05, 2007
ExploreLearning Gizmos are a AT&T Blue Web'n 5-Star Resource
ExploreLearning Gizmos have been recognized by AT&T's Blue Web'n site as a 5-star resource for education in Math and Science. Additionally, ExploreLearning.com was recently profiled as the Blue Web'n Hot Site of the week.
Blue Web'n is an online library of outstanding Internet sites for Education, categorized by subject, grade level, and format. Sites are hand-picked and are AT&T's choices of the most useful resources for instruction. The sites in Blue Web'n are chosen by their Education Advocates, who have advanced degrees in education and numerous years of teaching experience.
Browse the resources they've chosen at:
Gizmos are listed under the Math, Science and Education content areas, and as lessons, resources and activities. Or, simply search for Gizmos!
Florida's Polk County using Gizmos as part of technology-infused curriculum
Polk County, FL has recently initiated a pilot program to infuse technology into its secondary mathematics and science curriculum. John Miller, Curriculum Coordinator of Secondary Mathematics, explained the sound reasoning behind his county's adoption of Gizmos as part of this initiative like this:
"...the focus of this initiative, and the reason we are providing you with Gizmos and technology support to go with it, is to help students better comprehend mathematics by allowing them to be more engaged in (excited about) the learning process in our math classes and see math in a more visual and connective way."
— John C. Miller, Curriculum Coordinator of Secondary Mathematics, Polk County Public Schools, Florida
The district has purchased projectors, interactive whiteboards, and ExploreLearning Gizmos for 160 of its secondary teachers. Each teacher is receiving training on the new technology, including work with ExploreLearning's Professional Development team. Gizmos have proved to be a wonderful way for teachers to quickly integrate educational technology into their instruction and improve student performance!
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!
August 03, 2007
Algebra in the Real World!
Kim Washington, a high school math teacher in Norfolk, VA praised the real world application that Gizmos gives her Algebra students.
"When we talk about slope and rate of change, they can actually see it in Gizmos. I think that helps them. I struggle to get them to apply Math, to get them to understand that what we're doing, you're going to do every day. You pick the right Gizmo and 'Voila,' the application is there for you!"
Here are just a couple of the real world Gizmos Kim likes to use:
Distance Time Graphs -- creates a graph of a runner's position versus time
Modeling Linear Systems -- a cat and mouse chase modeled with a system of 2 lines.
ExploreLearning.com Browsing is a Big Help to Teachers
Recently, we visited with Kris Campesi, a middle school science teacher in Stafford County, VA. We talked to her about she organizes her science lessons to incorporate Gizmos. She had this to say about the ability to browse and choose appropriate Gizmos using the textbook and state standard correlations on our site:
"I click on my textbook and 'Whoa!'- you tell me what Gizmo goes with what chapter...and if I'm missing something for an SOL, I don't have to look through the Gizmos to see what Gizmo meets that standard, I just click on VA Assessments and you tell me what Gizmo meets that assessment need. You save me a lot of work and have it so well organized that it's not hard for me to integrate it."
Thank you Kris. We think our browsing capability is superior as well. Check it out on the Gizmo Browsing Page.
May 21, 2007
It's True: Techies love Gizmos
Recently, Elsie Rivard, Manager of Professional Development found herself presenting in front of a group of teachers in Madison, Indiana. After a friendly visit to Prince of Peace Catholic School, fourth grade teacher Eve Juarez had this to say about Gizmos.
Coming from a software background, I think they [Gizmos] are some of the best educational software I have seen in a looooooooooonnnng time.
Thanks Eve, we love your enthusiasm! We think Gizmos are great too…In fact, we think they are so great that we are expanding our Gizmo library to include coverage for grades 3 to 5. Take a sneak peek of our new Elementary Science Gizmos (passcode - gizmo), coming this fall.
April 25, 2007
"More Concepts with Real Life Experiences!"
During a recent ExploreLearning Professional Development workshop in Miami, our Miami-Dade project manager, Mario Junco, received this word of praise from Mohanalatha Pamajala, an attending teacher.
Teaching engineering principles and concepts to various levels of students in the same class is made possible by Gizmos. Gizmos are more visual and interactive, and keep students on task to learn efficiently. Once I started using Gizmos in my class, I felt happy that my students were learning more concepts with real life experiences.
Mrs. Mohanalatha Pamajala, Technology Education Department, Miami Sunset Senior High School
Here’s another example of how teachers are using Gizmos to better explain complex scientific principles . Keep up the good work Mohanalatha!
December 13, 2006
ExploreLearning Customer Support Scores an A+
ExploreLearning user Mary Kost recently encountered a problem launching Gizmos. Through careful questioning and step-by-step guidance, our Customer Service Specialist, Charlotte Wilt, was able to detect a technical problem with Shockwave and help her solve it. Afterwards, Charlotte got this rave review:
Dear Charlotte: Everything is working perfectly. I have never had such good help when I have encountered problems with programs. You are a gem and if I were there I would kiss your feet.
If you have a question or if you need help with anything Gizmo-related, please give Charlotte a call!
October 31, 2006
Testimonial: "The outcomes after testing were phenomenal!"
Another teacher let us know how successful her students have been using Gizmos to prepare for Texas state testing.
Deanna Showalter, a teacher in Grapevine Colleyville, Texas writes,
The student feedback was great! The interactions with the programs took them farther, faster than anything else I have worked with... The outcomes after testing were phenomenal!
Thank you for letting us know how well your students are doing with Gizmos, Deanna!