May 21, 2012

Webinar: Common Core Math Fact Fluency Assessments

The Common Core State Standards for Mathematics emphasize math fact fluency as critical to student success. Both PARCC and SBAC are developing assessments that directly evaluate math fact fluency using timed, computer-based assessment instruments.

Throughout May, ExploreLearning is conducting webinars which delve into this major change in student assessment.

Attend one of our 45-minute webinars to learn more about the Common Core, math fact fluency assessments, and how you can prepare for them.

Posted by ExploreLearning at 01:43 PM in Web/Tech | Permalink

November 29, 2010

Join us on Facebook!

Our social media presence keeps expanding! First we set up our Twitter feed, where you can access an ongoing stream of useful information about math and science. Then we turned on our YouTube channel, where you can find videos of teachers and students using Gizmos. Now we've launched a Facebook page that's just about Gizmos.

We are just getting started with Facebook-- this is a great opportunity for you to write on our wall, comment on other posts, and tell your colleagues to visit as well. We want to hear your stories about Gizmos: how you use them, what your students get out of them…whatever you want to share. Visit the ExploreLearning Gizmos page and click on the "Like" button at the top of the page so you can be a part of our growing community.

Posted by Ed Pastore at 03:12 PM in Site Announcements, Web/Tech | Permalink

September 30, 2010

Tweet for a Chance to Win Gizmos

ExploreLearning on TwitterExploreLearning is now on Twitter! To celebrate, we're giving away prizes, including three goodie bags full of great Gizmo merchandise (pictured below), and one grand prize: a one-year Teacher-plus-Students subscription to Gizmos.

If you are a teacher or school administrator, just follow these simple steps to be eligible to win:

  1. Follow @ExploreLearning on Twitter, if you haven't already.
  2. Post a tweet which starts with "I love @ExploreLearning Gizmos because" (don't forget the @ sign) followed by up to 101 characters of whatever you appreciate most about Gizmos.
  3. Don't delete that tweet. It has to stay up there for us to find it and enter you in the contest.
  4. Only teachers, school administrators, and home educators are eligible to win.

PrizesOn October 8, we will collect all the eligible tweets and select winners at random. We will direct message the winners for follow-up details.

Even if you don't win, following us will give you access to real-time updates on Gizmos, the world of Math and Science, and even what's happening here in our Charlottesville, VA headquarters office. And whenever you tweet something about Gizmos, we're likely to re-tweet your message to our growing list of followers.

Posted by Ed Pastore at 08:49 PM in Web/Tech | Permalink

August 03, 2007

Director at MAX 2007

Our Gizmos are created using Macromedia Director (now Adobe Director) and a new version of the program will be released around the end of this year. Adobe has just announced that there will be a few sessions at the upcoming MAX 2007 conference in Chicago this fall. I'm hoping to attend the conference so I get a chance to speak with the engineers behind the magic of Director and learn about some new programs along the way.

The new version of Shockwave will let our Gizmos run natively on the modern MacIntel's so we are really looking forward to that. We know some schools are now using the most recent Macs and want to make it as easy as possible for the tech gurus at schools to get Gizmos running everywhere.

Posted by Raman at 02:21 PM in Web/Tech | Permalink

December 07, 2005

Visual Complexity

Have you ever played the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon game where you try to connect Kevin Bacon to any other actor by naming movies that connect them? Have you ever thought about a map showing where your friends live, and where their friends live, and so on?

These are both examples of taking data and visualizing it in a specific way. Although I often don't think about it, my connectedness to the rest of the world is unbelievably complex, and I stumbled across a site that is beautiful in design with an amazing amount of data laying beneath it.

Be sure to drop by the VisualComplexity web site when you get a chance. It will brighten your day.

Posted by Raman at 08:49 AM in Web/Tech | Permalink

September 27, 2005

Mouse of the Future?

I never actually thought about it before, but in the real world your two hands work on tasks at all time. Making coffee, eating a sandwich, and walking a dog are all examples where both hands are working on specific individual tasks.

However, when using a mouse you primarily just sit there moving one hand around to manipulate objects on the screen. A company called Tactiva is currently trying to market a product where a sensor detects the activity of both hands and places "virtual hands" on the screen so you can control two things simultaneously.

The demo movie looks pretty cool. I love technology.

I never thought about this when designing a Gizmo. I only think about moving one slider at a time, or clicking on one checkbox. In ten or twenty years I wonder what our Gizmos will look like. I can't wait to see :)

Posted by Raman at 09:23 AM in Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (2)

June 28, 2005

Internet Transforms Life

CNN has an interesting article about how the internet has changed daily life. When I saw the picture of the Mosaic startup image it brought back a lot of memories. I was first introduced to the web as a physics graduate student in 1994. It enabled easy "browsing" to a wealth of educational resources for physicists. One year later I made my first Gizmo.

It is truly amazing how the web has changed the educational experience over the years, and it is hard to think back to the days before the web.

I am still amazed by the web every day I'm browsing. Simply amazing.

Additional links:
Wikipedia: History of the Internet
Computer History Museum

Posted by Raman at 09:14 AM in Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

May 31, 2005

Concept Maps Go to School

There was an interesting article this week about concept maps which can be used to assess student knowledge, encourage thinking and problem solving instead of rote learning, organize information for writing projects and help teachers write new curricula.

There is now software that allows schools to share concept maps on the web, and a project called Get Connected is trying to connect 1000 schools over the next five years.

Software can be downloaded that enables rapid and easy construction of concepts maps.

"Having a tool that allows the scientist to express that (knowledge) is no different than trying to figure out what little Johnny knows about volcanoes in the fifth grade."

Related Links:
Concept Maps article
CMaps Home Page

Posted by Raman at 01:01 PM in Web/Tech | Permalink

April 19, 2005

Languages and Gizmos

Turkish Gizmo Snapshot

I recently got a chance to translate some Gizmos into Turkish. I don't know much Turkish, but I have learned a few words in the process, such as Fotosentez (photosynthesis). I was able to do the translation for carbon dioxide relatively easily, it is CO2!

Posted by Raman at 09:53 AM in Web/Tech | Permalink

April 05, 2005

Gizmos Featured in Macromedia "Edge" Newsletter

The software giant Macromedia has featured ExploreLearning in the April 2005 issue of their Edge newsletter. (As you probably know, Shockwave, the technology that powers the Gizmo interactivity, is a Macromedia plugin, and the Gizmos themselves are created using Macromedia's Director software.)

Posted by ExploreLearning at 04:11 PM in Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

March 07, 2005

ExploreLearning Hosts Students for annual "Tech Tour"


"Gizmos rock !" That was the reaction of students from Orange and Madison County (Virginia) High Schools who visited ExploreLearning's offices as part of the annual Virginia Piedmont Technology Council ) Tech Tour last week. The VPTC Tech Tour enables approximately 150 high school students from the Central Virginia area to visit local technology companies. Students have the opportunity to talk to and interact with technology professionals and learn about the knowledge, skills and abilities needed for a career in technology.

We at ExploreLearning were really impressed with the students' knowledge of math and science, especially their knowledge of moon phases and the relationship between the moon and the tides. Obviously math and science teachers in Central VA are doing a great job!

Many thanks to the efforts of so many fantastic, willing volunteers from the VPTC who organized this fantastic event for high school students and to my own colleagues here at ExploreLearning who volunteered their valuable time to share advice and their experiences working in the technology arena.

For more information about the VPTC, visit their website at

Eve Solomon ExploreLearning's Education Specialist

Posted by Michael Latsko at 06:09 PM in Web/Tech | Permalink

June 29, 2004

ExploreLearning Job Opening

We seek to hire an experienced Teacher Training and Professional Development professional to develop, manage and coordinate a program that ensures broad and enthusiastic usage of ExploreLearning Gizmos(tm) by teachers and their students in customer school districts. More information, including application requirements, can be found here at our Employment page.

This position is an important one to our organization as it will involve developing a program to ensure the retention of existing customers as well as growth in their schools/districts and expansion into other districts.

If you believe that ExploreLearning Gizmos™ rule, or someone you know shares that belief or otherwise fits the bill, please contact us pursuant to the instructions on the web page above or pass this information to the interested party.

Posted by Michael Latsko at 02:41 PM in Edu/Tech, Site Announcements, Using Gizmos, Web/Tech | Permalink

May 12, 2004

Pac Manhattan

I'm sure some of you remember the old Pac Man game from the early days of video games. NYU's Interactive Telecommunications graduate program offers a class on the future of gaming. A recent project resulted in the PacManhattan game, where people get to run through the streets of Manhattan as Inky, Blinky, and Clyde. I saw this on CNN the other night and it really looked like fun.

One of the really nifty things about this game is that the computer side of the game was created with Macromedia Director in just two days. We use Director to make our Gizmos, so always enjoy hearing about some other fun things you can do with it. If you can read German you can read more about the game in this article.

Posted by Raman at 11:52 AM in Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

February 11, 2004

The Software Behind the Gizmos

Image of Director MX 2004 As I've mentioned before, all of our Gizmos are built with Macromedia's Director software. Director MX 2004 was released today with a wealth of new features. Without Director it would be hard to create our high quality Gizmos, so thanks to all the people that helped out with the development of this new version of Director!

We'll start investigating the new features, and look for ways to improve our current Gizmos. We'll also think about other nifty things we can develop in the future ;)

If you (our great readers!) ever have an idea for a useful/educational Gizmo, feel free to drop us a line and we'll see what we can do.

Posted by Raman at 11:31 PM in Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (3)

January 06, 2004

The Software Behind The Gizmos

We love making GizmosTM. Every year our Gizmos get better, and one reason for that is the software we use to create the Gizmos continues to improve. Macromedia Director is the primary tool used to create our Gizmos, and Macromedia just announced that a new version will be released in February.

Director MX 2004 will include several new features that will help with development of our Gizmos. Most notable (for our web-based delivery) in this release are the named sprites and channels, improvements with Flash sprite handling, Flash components, JavaScript coding, and improvements to the authoring environment.

Every time Macromedia releases a new version of Director I get rather excited and can't wait to use the product to create great Gizmos. For our site we will not make use of the new features immediately, but will begin investigating exactly what can be done with the various features. Once the new Shockwave Plug-in has been out for a reasonable amount of time, our Gizmos will start using some of the new goodies, but we will be sure to let you know well ahead of time so there won't be any surprises waiting for you one morning.

I've presented many Director workshops at national or regional AAPT meetings, and will be sure to show off all the new features at my next workshop! For those that are interested, keep reading the Buzz and I'll be sure to let you know when/where the next workshop will be (most likely in the fall/winter).

Thanks to all those at Macromedia that worked long hours to get this new version of Director released!

Posted by Raman at 08:48 AM in Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)