May 09, 2013
Expert Corner: PD Options for Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards
After receiving her M.Ed. in Science Education and teaching science in middle and high school classrooms for nine years, Pam Larson began working for ExploreLearning in 2007. As a Regional Manager of Professional Development, Ms. Larson has been instrumental in designing curriculum for science and math professional development sessions, and she manages trainers working directly with teachers using ExploreLearning products.
Many schools are using their summer professional development time to address the Common Core Standards for Math (CCSS-M) and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Gizmos are a great tool that teachers can use to develop the knowledge and the habits of mind of strong math and science students. The PD department atExploreLearning is offering higher-level training workshops aimed at preparing teachers for the CCSS-M and the NGSS.
Using Gizmos with the CCSS will help participants develop a deeper understanding of both the content standards and the Standards for Mathematical Practice. The Common Core – the Balance between Skills and Understanding workshop allows participants to work collaboratively and identify mathematical tasks that develop students’ capacity to meet the Standards of Mathematical Practice.
Districts can also choose from a variety of Troublesome Topics in Math workshops. Each of these is designed for a different grade band around math concepts that are difficult for students to grasp and have moved down in grade level in the new standards. The elementary workshop focuses on fractions, while the middle grades workshop explores ratios and proportions, and the high school workshop examines functions. Teachers leave with a better mastery of the content they are teaching and with specific strategies for leading students to conceptual understanding of their focus topic.
Like the Common Core workshops, using Gizmos with the NGSS is designed to help teachers make the pedagogical leaps dictated in the new science standards. The NGSS encourages teachers to teach fewer content topics, but to take students to a much deeper level of understanding than in the past. The three Troublesome Topics in Science workshops focus on refining teachers’ understanding of science content in three disciplines across all grade levels; Life Science, Earth/Space Science, and Physical Science. If teachers themselves have a strong knowledge of science topics, they will be better prepared to help students develop a deeper conceptual understanding.
As the summer and fall go on, the PD department will be developing additional higher-level offerings to support these new standards.
To learn more about bringing any of these workshops to your school or district, please contact your Account Executive.
June 26, 2012
Two math Gizmos highlighted in NCTM article
A recent article in the NCTM magazine Teaching Children Mathematics describes an activity, designed by two professors, that aims to help teachers select clear, effective technology for their classrooms. The article lists five criteria for selecting technology (National Research Council, 2001):
- Transparency: How easily can the idea be seen through the representation?
- Efficiency: Does the representation support efficient communication and use?
- Generality: Does the representation apply to broad classes of objects?
- Clarity: Is the representation unambiguous and easy to use?
- Precision: How close is the representation to the exact value?
The Rounding Numbers (Number Line) Gizmo is noted for its use of "hills" on the number line to help illustrate rounding. In this Gizmo, points can be dragged onto a dynamic number line. When in "hill" mode, the points will slide to the nearest valley (the nearest 10 or 100), helping students to visualize rounding. (By the way, interesting things happen when points are exactly halfway between two valleys – like, for example, 35 when rounding to the nearest 10, or 350 when rounding to the nearest 100. Why don’t these points slide to a valley right away? Thought-provoking discussions about the "round up" convention can ensue!)
Also, the teachers chose Number Line Frog Hop (Addition and Subtraction) Gizmo, in which Fred the Frog hops along a number line to try to catch flies. If Fred hops more than 10 units, he can jump as a "single jump," "tens then ones," or "ones then tens." The latter two modes highlight the "parts" of a number (place value, essentially). In addition, as a teacher points out in the article, you can show repeated addition in this Gizmo as a bridge to multiplication.
January 04, 2012
Video -- Teaching with Gizmos: Whole Class Instruction
Recently we published a new video on our Gizmos YouTube channel: a 4-minute video demonstrating whole class instruction with Gizmos!
Take a peek into a 5th grade classroom where students are investigating the Mineral Identification Gizmo.
Watch the video above or see it on the YouTube site.
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.
March 09, 2011
Expert's Corner: The Next Level of Professional Development
Laura Chervenak has been ExploreLearning Director of Professional Development for the past year. She has taught high school science, and is the founder and former director of GOAL Digital Academy. Laura is National Board Certified in Science/Adolescence and Young Adulthood, with a B.A. in Zoology and an M.S. in Anthropology.
In the Professional Development department at ExploreLearning, our initial focus is to help teachers get the most out of Gizmos. We then want to extend those lessons and help teachers improve their overall teaching and learning in math and science.
Effective professional development is a continuing process that includes workshops for learning information, regular coaching for the acquisition of skills, and on-demand information for just-in-time training. At ExploreLearning, we offer Initial Gizmo Training to get teachers started, a variety of classroom coaching services to build teachers' confidence in using Gizmos in their classroom, and a broad array of Help Center videos to address teachers' specific questions about Gizmos and the ExploreLearning.com website.
Now we are extending our offerings beyond those great resources. We are very excited to announce the launch of three new higher-level workshops, which focus on helping teachers develop and enhance teaching methodologies in math and science.
In “Teaching for Understanding in Math,” teachers learn to use a program of discourse and writing to help students reason mathematically and develop a deeper understanding of concepts.
“Teaching with the 5E Model in Science” shows teachers how to combine hands-on activities with Gizmos within the 5E instructional model to enhance student understanding.
Inquiry instruction is the focus of “Teaching Scientific Inquiry with Gizmos,” where teachers help students manipulate independent variables and collect and analyze data around authentic scientific questions.
|Some of the expert trainers on the ExploreLearning Professional Development Team.|
We also know that professional development focused on technology integration is most successful when communities of practice are established, administrative support is provided and relevance to the curriculum is demonstrated. We can address these needs by establishing a Gizmo Mentor program within a school or district, working with science and math supervisors and coaches to provide targeted support, and aligning local curriculum pacing guides with appropriate Gizmos.
Gizmos are a tremendously versatile and powerful technology tool to add to a teacher's toolkit of instructional options. We want to work with you to develop a customized program of professional development designed to harness the power of Gizmos in your classrooms. An effective program ranges from Initial Gizmo Training all the way through higher-level workshops on teaching methodologies proven to improve student learning.
January 10, 2011
A Great Year for Gizmos
Last year our dedicated Professional Development staff trained almost 14,000 teachers. They either took part in one of our recommended initial training sessions or helped build their ability to integrate Gizmos into their curriculum. These customized programs of support now include onsite consultations, curriculum alignment assistance, and project management services. Visit our Training page for more information.
Gizmos are now helping to improve instruction in classrooms all over the world. We are in all 50 U.S. states and more than thirty other countries. We hope 2011 will be even better!
June 03, 2010
Gizmo demo movies are live!
Who says that all the blockbuster summertime movie action is only taking place on the big screen?
We're happy to announce that all 80 Gizmos with the "purple bar on the left side" appearance have a demo movie!
These Gizmo demo movies are quick (~3 minute) how-to movies that show you what each Gizmo can do, and how you can interact with it. The movies don't teach the lesson (see the Lesson Materials or Exploration Guide for that), but they should help get you comfortable with that Gizmo.
Demo movies come with voice-over narration, so be sure you have your sound turned on. (We recommend using headphones if in a lab setting.)
Movies are appropriate for teachers or students.
To access the demo movie, click on the "Demo" button in the purple bar, at the lower left corner of the Gizmo.
July 10, 2009
The Online Course...Lots of Energy, Passion and Commitment!
Stephen Hurley is a teacher and an educational technology enthusiast, working at Cardinal Newman Catholic School in Ontario. He has just participated in the ExploreLearning Gizmos online course, and we are delighted that Stephen contacted us with his thoughts....
In addition, the fact that participants came from a variety of different teaching backgrounds was very helpful. I was introduced to Gizmos that I didn't know existed, and am already planning ways to integrate these into my own work.
I think that there was a sense in the course that everyone was learning. The instructors presented themselves as "open learners," eager to learn from the participants. This opened up a different type of dynamic in the course. Lots of energy, passion and commitment!"
Thanks for your comments, Stephen. We are always excited to hear feedback from our online course, and we are pleased that it helped you understand more about the power of ExploreLearning Gizmos.
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."
April 16, 2009
Gizmo demo movies - elementary science - done!
It's been a long time coming, but at long last, every elementary science Gizmo has a demo movie! (That's 40 of them, if you're keeping score at home.)
The "movies" are short (about 2 minutes each) and have a simple "how-to" approach. They show how to use the basic features in the Gizmo. If students are brand-new to a Gizmo, the demo movie would be a nice brief introduction to it.
The movies feature a voice-over, so be sure audio is turned on before watching. (In a lab setting, you probably either want to project it for the whole class to watch and listen to, or have students use headphones.)
To see a demo movie, click on the "demo" icon at the bottom left corner of the Gizmo, in the purple bar, as shown below.
(Note: Demo movies will only appear in elementary-level Gizmos - the ones with the purple bar on the left side.)
Tip: To find the 40 elementary science Gizmos, either click "Browse Gizmos" and browse through the grade 3-5 science offerings, or just type "elementary science" (without the quotes) in the search field.
Enjoy! We hope these are useful for both teachers and students.
By the way, the elementary math Gizmo demo movies will now slowly start appearing also! We hope to have all 40 of them complete by the end of 2009.
September 25, 2008
New from ExploreLearning: Online Gizmo Training!
Are you interested in increasing your knowledge and skill using ExploreLearning Gizmos? Do you want to learn to use Gizmos in your own environment, with an affordable individual cost? Sign up for one of our new three-week online initial training courses. Anyone with an active subscription to ExploreLearning.com can purchase a seat in this new course, which will feature both guided and independent learning opportunities. The first session begins on October 6th and the second begins on November 3rd. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to sign up.
September 09, 2008
Attend an "Introduction to ExploreLearning Gizmos" Webinar This Fall
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.
This fall we have a number of sessions, running until the end of the year. You can sign up for the forthcoming webinars by clicking on one of the links below:
Monday, September 15, 2008, 3:00-4:00 pm Eastern time:
Monday, September 29, 2008, 7.00-8.00pm Eastern time:
For more information on our webinars, please contact email@example.com.
August 22, 2008
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 offered informative, introductory webinars throughout the summer for current and future customers, and our last summer session is this coming Monday! If you cannot make this webinar, be on the lookout for our fall sessions, which will be starting soon. To register for this Monday's session, click on the link below:
Monday, August 25, 2008, 3:00-4:00 pm Eastern time:
For more information on our webinars, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
July 08, 2008
Attend an "Introduction to ExploreLearning Gizmos" webinar this summer
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 are offering informative, introductory webinars throughout the summer for current and future customers. To register for one of these free sessions, click on the link below for a session that is convenient:
Monday, July 14, 2008, 3:00-4:00 pm Eastern time:
Monday, July 28, 2008, 3:00-4:00 pm Eastern time:
Monday, August 11, 2008, 3:00-4:00 pm Eastern time:
Monday, August 25, 2008, 3:00-4:00 pm Eastern time:
For more information on our webinars, please contact email@example.com
February 12, 2008
Position Available: Training Consultant (Canada)
Please share this good news with colleagues. With the support of the Ministry of Education in Alberta and Ontario, ExploreLearning's award-winning interactive online simulations are coming to classrooms in Ontario and Alberta. Therefore, ExploreLearning has an exciting opportunity for an experienced science educator who is interested in making a difference in the teaching and learning of mathematics and science as an ExploreLearning Training Consultant. This is a half-time field position (remote/home office) as a contractor or as a member of ExploreLearning’s Professional Development team.
- The Training Consultant’s primary duties (90% of time) include the development and presentation of high quality ExploreLearning Gizmo product training, professional development, and project management across ExploreLearning’s network in Canada.
- The consultant is also responsible for supporting sales efforts (10% of time).
- Experience delivering professional development for teachers, particularly in high school science
- 3+ years of classroom experience as a teacher of high school science
- Willingness to operate as a remote employee (home office)
- Willingness to travel (up to 75%)
- Resident of Ontario
- Professional references (3) attesting to mathematics PD skills and teaching skills
Degree in science education (Masters preferred), undergraduate degree (Major) in a science field, and Canadian province teacher license in science.
Additional information about this career opportunity and the application process are available at our parent company’s “Careers” site: https://sh.webhire.com/servlet/av/jd?ai=732&ji=2159111&sn=I&tf=JobDescriptionB.html
July 13, 2006
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.
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
October 28, 2005
How do I get the most out of Gizmos?
ExploreLearning Gizmos are great learning tools, but how you get the most out of them? How do you make time spent with a Gizmo effective learning time for your students? These are questions we've heard a lot from teachers, and they are crucial questions. No tool automatically causes students to learn.What approaches seem to work for a lesson using Gizmos?
We've put together three documents that we hope will help answer those questions.
- Part 1, The Purpose of Gizmos
- Part 2, Using the Exploration Guide and Assessment Questions
- Part 3, Using Gizmos in Different Settings
September 22, 2005
Testimonial: "High Quality Trainers"
Here's some excellent praise that came in for our own, Thom O'Brien:
Shoreline [Public Schools in WA] subscribed to Explore Learning for three of our schools this year (2 middle - 1 high) after having done a limited pilot last year. Our teachers are enthusiastic about having this tool. I'm writing, however, to report that this enthusiasm escalated considerably due to Thom O'Brien's wonderful training session today. I've dabbled with EL for over a year and learned more in the first 20 minutes of Thom's presentation than in all that time on my own — and I reckon others felt the same way. Thom combined an easy-going style with solid practical implementation tips and some marvelous ideas on how to integrate Gizmos with other applications we use. I had to literally kick our teachers out of the room at 3:00 to free up the room — else I think they would have stayed well beyond the scheduled time …
I have already spoken to Thom about his possible return for another session with other teachers, and the teachers from today were in favor of the idea.
Thanks for the great product and for having such high quality trainers available to your clients.
Professional Development/Instructional Technology
Shoreline School District
Thanks, Jim, for your kind words. We're glad to hear that the implementation is off to a strong start.
Thom is quite a guy. By the way, if any of you happen to meet Thom when he visits your school as part of ExploreLearning's Professional Development and Teacher Training on Gizmos, be sure to ask him about a very interesting job he had in the past. (Hint: "Three rings. Big Show.")
August 08, 2005
FIRST ANNUAL SUMMERSCHOOL WORKSHOP A SUCCESS
During the last week In July, ExploreLearning hosted its first Summer School Teacher Workshop. Educators from all over the country gathered in beautiful Charlottesville, Virginia for 2 days of hands-on learning, sharing and interacting. About 3 dozen middle and high school teachers (both math and science) braved the summer heat to enjoy thought provoking sessions, delicious meals, and a nighttime visit to President James Monroe's scenic home Ashlawn Highland (just after a terrific thunderstorm which brought welcome relief from the heat). The teachers arrived either as long-time Gizmo fans or novices -- but they all left as BIG FANS of ExploreLearning Gizmos! They also enjoyed the chance to interact with ExploreLearning's product development and professional development teams. The group was especially convivial, and new friendships were formed.
Based on its resounding success, Summer School is sure to be an annual event.
For your enjoyment, we've created a "photo album" of some of the best pictures we took during the two days in Charlottesville.
August 05, 2005
2 Great Days in Dekalb, GA
During our two-day training session held at the High School the teachers got a chance to really unpack Gizmos and begin to weave them into their daily lessons. With the school year about to start, the teachers came away from the training with some Gizmos and lessons that they will be able to use almost within the first week of school.
Our first day was a standard ExploreLearning training day where we walked the teachers through the whole web site and got them familiar with how to log in, find Gizmos, add Gizmos to the teacher classes, and enroll their students. At the end of this first day the teachers were told to bring their curriculum guides, state standards and teachers editions to the next training.
Our second day was spent going over lessons that the teachers knew they were
going to teach and adding the appropriate Gizmos to those lessons. Once that
was done we started looking at how to deliver this instruction. Since the teachers
were familiar with PowerPoint, we looked at linking Gizmos to their presentations,
the screen capture tools that are built into the Gizmos to make their presentations
more exciting. Once the teachers had created their presentation, we shared their
work and had a great time listening to the ideas, and seeing the unique creativity
that each teacher brought to their subject.
July 06, 2005
GIZMOS in Tuba City
ExploreLearning moves under the wide-open skies of Arizona with its adoption in Tuba City. This June we had a great training and PD day there as the teachers started looking into using GIZMOS with their students and integrating them into their curricula. The teachers were excited to see how easy the GIZMOS were to use and found many ways to incorporate the GIZMOS across curriculum areas.
Have fun using GIZMOS Tuba City…we look forward to hearing beautiful music from your area!
July 04, 2005
GIZMOS in Greenville
June 28 the Professional Development department at ExploreLearning took a little trip down to Greenville, South Carolina. A good day was spent setting up ExploreLearning accounts, and working with middle and high school math and science teachers. Greenville is a large district on the northwest side of the state and they are all very excited to start using GIZMOS in the classroom at the start of the school year. Many of the teachers were going to take some time over the summer and work with their colleagues on multidisciplinary lessons utilizing GIZMOS and curriculum that they were already familiar with.
The Greenville math department already has a head start on this project, as one of their very own, Valerie Muller, has been an ExploreLearning advocate for some time. Valerie has taken the Greenville middle school mathematics scope and sequence chart and aligned the appropriate GIZMOS to each lesson!
ExploreLearning will be back in Greenville in August to work with the rest of the district math and science teachers and we’re excited for the upcoming Greenville school year. See you in a few weeks Greenville!
June 28, 2005
Enroll Now! EL Summer School for Teachers
Join us July 27 and 28 in Charlottesville, Virginia for a hands-on workshop using ExploreLearning Gizmos.
ExploreLearning Summer School offers opportunities for middle and high school teachers to immerse themselves in ExploreLearning Math Gizmos. Learn to integrate Gizmos into your school's curriculum and to differentiate instruction using Gizmos.
The $450 registration fee includes:
- A one-year ExploreLearning Teacher Plus Students Subscription (retail value $799)
- Hands-on workshops led by distinguished educators
- Take-home materials
- Lunch with ExploreLearning developers and content writers
- Dinner and concert at historic Ash Lawn-Highland
- Networking opportunities, and more!
*Registration for teachers with existing ExploreLearning accounts will be discounted. See registration form for tuition discount.
phone (toll free): 866-882-4141 ext 232
Check out our schedule of events and information on accommodations at www.explorelearning.com/summerschool.
June 06, 2005
Now Showing: Gizmo Demo Movies!
ExploreLearning has gone Hollywood! (sort of...) We've added five demonstration movies to our site:
- An Introduction to ExploreLearning.com
- Teaching with Gizmos - Fraction Sense
- Teaching with Gizmos - Exploring Quadratics
- Teaching with Gizmos - Genetics and Mouse Breeding
- Teaching with Gizmos - Force and Motion with Fan Cart, Part 1
The introduction movie is perfect for first-time visitors to ExploreLearning.com. It answers the question, "What is a Gizmo?" and also shows how Gizmos can help improve teaching and learning. (All that in under 8 minutes -- not bad, huh?)
The four Teaching with Gizmos movies show how you might teach a specific lesson using Gizmos. Each of these movies focuses on one Gizmo and highlights what that Gizmo helps you do to enhance student learning. (These movies are about 4-to-6 minutes each.)
We hope these movies are helpful to you. Maybe they can even help you take your teaching with Gizmos to another level. Let us know what you think!
By the way, these movies are large files (anywhere from 2 MB to 6 MB). They take some time to download -- depending on the speed of your internet connection, of course -- so be patient. They're well worth the wait!