The activity I’m evaluating is Gizmos which offerers interactive online simulations for math and science.  The material is presented in a way that encourages enquiry and exploration of various concepts.

  • S tudents

Simulations are based on Alberta Ed. curriculum and are appropriate for each age group.  Students can access Gizmos on school provided laptops.  They have to set up a password and are assigned to a specific class.  They can access Gizmos from their home computers also.  Simulations don’t work well on cell phones.

  • E ase of use

The simulations are very user friendly.  A question sheet, which requires you to fill out answers based on simulations, takes you through each activity in an easy to follow step by step progression.  It does not take a long period of times to learn how to use a Gizmo simulation.  Additionally there is background information and a vocabulary sheet available.  As well it is meant to help reinforce concepts that have already been covered in class.

  • C osts

The cost is around $3000 for our entire school of 850 students per year.   Cost is a major factor and we are lucky that out administration sees value in this expense.

  • T eaching functions

Learning outcomes are all based on those put forward by Alberta Education.  The content is not particularily difficult and well within the abilityy level of most students.  Students are also able to work in small groups where they can help each other.

  • I nteraction

There is inherent interactivity present in Gizmos . Students are forced to respond to stimuli on the screen and can’t go on to next stage until they have responded.  It helps them move towards a deeper understanding of concepts.

  • O rganisational issues

Activities are already set up and ready to use.  Organizational issues are not a concern, the instructional services are already in place.

  • N etworking

This would not be a concern for my students using Gizmos.

  1. S ecurity and privacy

The site is secure, schools get an access password that teachers can use to set up and enroll students in their classes.   Students have to create a username and a password, however, they do not put any personal information onto the site.

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