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Gizmos

By Charles G. Doe - Posted May 1, 2017
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Company: ExploreLearning, 110 Avon Street, Suite 300, Charlottesville, VA 22902; 866-882-4141; explorelearning.com. For email, use forms on the website.

Price: ExploreLearning offers many different Gizmos packages for schools and districts. Call 866-882-4141 for a customized pricing proposal.

Those who want to use Gizmos at home can purchase a 12-month subscription for $149. The subscription allows single access to the entire library of more than 400 Gizmos.

Audience: Gizmos was developed for third through 12h grade students.

Format: This is a large library of interactive online simulations for math and science education offered as an online subscription service.

System Requirements: The website has a System Details link and another link to evaluate computers over the internet to see if they will operate Gizmos. Adobe Flash 5 is required as well as internet access. Gizmos will also work with iPads with internet access.

Description: Think of Gizmos as interactive digital gadgets or interactive online simulations, programs intended to teach students science and math concepts by explaining, illustrating, and giving practice. The 400-plus Gizmos are aligned to the latest standards and are useful in nearly any educational setting, especially as textbook supplements.

REPORT CARD
Overall Rating:5 Stars
Installation:A

Content/

Features:

A
Ease of Use:A
Product Support: A

 

Reviewer Comments:

Installation: Installation is a matter of checking to see if computers using it are adequate, subscribing and enrolling classes, and adding the students who will use specific Gizmos. Installation Rating: A

Content/Features: Schools that are shifting toward blended learning, personalized learning, and technology-driven instruction will find Gizmos extremely useful. Students can more permanently learn content that incorporates computer simulations, game-based learning, and problem-solving through inquiry and exploration.

Gizmos are research-based, flexible math and science tools that can be used in small group work, individual exploration, and whole-class instruction using an LCD projector or interactive whiteboard. They are designed to supplement existing curriculum and are correlated to state curriculum standards and more than 200 textbooks, making them easy to integrate into instructional programs.

Gizmos users enter and manipulate different variables within a simulation, experiment, visualization, or formula with interactive controls. Sliders allow users to modify ranges without typing.

Draggable objects are moveable items, including points, lines, and shapes. Selectable objects are interactive items that do not move but are selected by clicking them. Gizmos contain Play, Pause, and Reset buttons that activate actions. Checkboxes and buttons allow certain parameters in the Gizmo to be changed.

Other tools include screenshots for taking screen captures of part or all of a Gizmo. Arrows are draggable objects that can be placed on a Gizmo to highlight something. Help is a draggable object that offers contextual help when moved over a Gizmo feature. Sound allows users to turn the sound of a Gizmo off and on without muting speakers. Finally, many Gizmos generate data that is accessible on a second tab found at the top of the Gizmo, typically labeled Data.

Each Gizmo offers instructional materials that can be used as is, in a PDF, or in a customized Word document. These include a teacher guide, student exploration sheet, vocabulary sheet, and more. All lesson materials can be viewed, printed, or downloaded. Online multiple-choice assessments and reports of results are available as well. Content/Features Rating: A

Ease of Use: The Gizmo library is diverse, but controls are more uniform. Once users are familiar with basic controls and functions, most Gizmos are easy to use, especially by the computer-literate. Ease of Use Rating: A

Product Support: Support includes an online knowledgebase, a learning center for teachers, personalized support, and more. Training and professional development services are also offered. Product Support Rating: A

Recommendation: Gizmos is an outstanding collection of resources for reinforcing math and science learning and incorporating technology into 3–12 grade classrooms. I highly recommend it! Highly Recommended

Reviewer: Charles Doe is a longtime teacher who spent 10 years as an elementary media specialist in Hastings Area Schools in Michigan. He has written articles and reviews for Internet@Schools for more than 20 years. His email address is charliegd@sbcglobal.net.


 
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