Saturday, July 21, 2007

ExploreLearning Gizmos, Interactive Displays, Revisited

ExploreLearning recently earned a 2007 Distinguished Achievement Award from the Association of Educational Publishers for Best Science Instruction Website. ExploreLearning offers interactive math and science activities, known as "Gizmos", for students in grades 6-12.

I used some of the sample activities with a few struggling high school students two years ago, using an interactive whiteboard. The students were engaged and seemed to grasp concepts quickly.

Take the time to look at the information on ExploreLearning's blog, including the testimonial section. You can subscribe for a free 30-day trial for use in the classroom or at home. The teacher support materials, in my opinion, are excellent. Each math and science activity aligns with state curriculum guidelines, available on the site.

With new interactive touch-screen technologies, such as the iPhone, the NextWindow Human Touch interactive large-screen display, newer-edition interactive SmartBoards, and Microsoft's Surface, imagine the possibilities for students- once the price of interactive devices and hardware comes down to an affordable level.

I bet most students would not object to playing with science and math Gizmos via a web-browser on their iPhones!


ExploreLearning's award press release.

Why Gizmos Work

The home page of theSmartBoard 2007 Blog, hosted by M.Gavel, a 6th grade teacher, has a list of links to on-line interactive learning websites that work well on the SmartBoard(and other interactive large-screen displays), such as StarFall, an engaging early literacy site.


Please leave me a comment if you know if there is any research about the effectiveness of ExploreLearning. Judging from the testimonials, this would be a great research topic for psychology, education, or educational technology graduate students!

Photo courtesy of ExploreLearning.


Uhrick said...

Hi Lynn, I am with NextWindow and a colleague gave me a link to your site. This is very interesting and I would like very much to speak with you. The education market is just begginning to take off but its growth is dependent on software applications that can take advantage of the unique interface. Gizmos blends technology with interactivity in a unique way offering educators new tools to reach their students.

Lynn Marentette said...

I'd be happy to speak with you!

Anonymous said...

gizmos are not science.

science involves inquiry and discovery and data from the real world, not mathematical equations masquerading as science.

I am saddened by this tripe being mass marketed and fed to our children.

Lynn Marentette said...

Of course, Gizmos are not"real" science, they are interactive learning modules that help students understand underlying scientific principles. They aren't designed to be used in isolation of "real" science activities.

These activities are simulations of science activities, and highlight concepts that are outlined in the static science textbooks that students are required to read.

In the hands of a competent science teacher, working under budget constraints, these "gizmos" might be an effective way of stretching the science lab budget.