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edMe Tutors

Now that we are fully in the back-to-school mode, I wanted to share how we will be supporting students of all ages.

Sometimes tutoring simply means sharpening skills again. For these types of students, we have a variety of online experiences that give you immediate feedback. For example, our reading adventures give you immediate feedback on skills like summarizing, citing details, and identifying characters’ intents. Check out the edMe library as we add more and more titles to our reading, science and math offerings.

For students looking to grow real-world skills. we have a great problem-solving interface that allows you to solve math, writing and engineering problems. This interface asks for you to upload components of your problem-solving thinking. This helps us target feedback to specific processes, AND it helps you become a more thoughtful problem solver. This aspect of our tutoring ecosystem is novel and we are truly excited. You solve problems, we give you feedback overnight and you develop the skills that people love and are often overlooked in day-to-day lives.

For those of you in northern Virginia, we also offer tutoring services for students aged 4-24. We are always looking to help students build knowledge, problem-solving skills, and address issues inhibiting progress at schools. We mix in-person tutoring with our suite of online tools so that we can offer tutoring below traditional costs. Like most companies today, we are using technology to bring you more value.

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Brainpowers: The center of edMe

edMe relies on a lot of brain power each day to write, develop, create and manage fun learning adventures. We decided to make brainpowers the unit of measurement for our gamification. Students earn brainpowers as they complete everything from reading projects to math fluency checks to virtual engineering design processes. In fact, here are a list of brainpower achievements:

  1. 50 points for answering questions about “The Boy Who Lives” in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone(TM).
  2. 100 points for completing a graphic organizer that explains how Harry Potter and Dumbledore change over the course of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
  3. 150 points for using FLEET to create the fastest naval ship possible in the Speed Test Challenge.
  4. 200 points for making and explaining a working lung model.
  5. 300 points solve 3 free Mathematical Word Problems while documenting strategies.

Gamification increases student engagement. We are gamifying everything from fluency to collecting scientific data. We choose to use 1 unit of measurement because all these activities make students more prepared for college and careers. We know that student mastery of all these skills will best prepare them so our formative feedback will help guide them into learning pathways that play to their strengths.

We are very excited about sharing our brainpowers with your family!

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Fairfax is STEM: Electromagnet from Electricity is Elementary

Here is another experiment from Sabiha Basit’s forthcoming book, Electricity is Elementary. She creates a tiny electromagnet using a tiny AA battery.

Sabiha is a great new author. Here is how she explains her science background and vision:


Sabiha S. Basit is a current student at George Mason University pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Biology. She loves all things nature, whether that is exploring the nearest park or hiking a tall mountain with her family. She enjoys teaching, and has a passion for educating STEM subjects to children. She hopes to further her education in biology and become a lifelong science educator. Until then, you can find her at edMe Learning creating fun and educational content for children!

Sabiha’s forward in Electricity is Elementary

We hope that you and your students explore electricity from a science and a reading learning perspective. Her book is full of rich informational texts and hands-on science that you can do anywhere.

Take a peak!

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Fairfax is STEM: Science Experiments

Our Electricity is Elementary book contains reading and scientific questions along with hands-on science experiments you can do at home. We know that children are naturally curious, and experiments like these help them answer questions and develop problem-solving skills that will help them in future situations.

This experiment has a gap in the circuit so children can explore a wide range of objects. If you do this at home, we suggest creating a simple chart to track “Insulator” and “Conductor”. Ask them what they saw (or observed) that made them certain the material was an insulator or conductor.

Although we try to use everyday materials, we know that copper wire and LED lights may require a special trip. If you want to save yourself the effort, we can vouch for these products on Amazon.

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edMe Researches

We are always studying the incoming data to connect learning objectives and improve each learning experience. We are also planning these large-scale research efforts:

Technology & Problem Solving: edMe recognizes that problem solving is a skill that can be improved. We are focused on specifically improving students’ problem-solving skills and attitudes within: STEM challenges, writing challenges and mathematical word problems. The U.S. Department of Education accepted our White Paper and we are interested in partnering with:

  • Schools/Districts with interest in piloting new materials focused on problem solving across these subjects at the elementary and middle school levels.
  • Researchers interested in providing objective, third-party analysis of this intervention. The intervention documents quantitative and qualitative data that can be analyzed in pre-/post-intervention studies.

Research will extend for 4 years as we deeply examine what works and what needs to be improved to maximally improve students’ problem solving skills across these domains. Interested? email us!

Implementing & Evaluating PACT: The University of Texas-Austin and the Meadows Center disseminated Promoting Adolescents’ Comprehension of Text (PACT). The research to date shows that this intervention delivers measurable gains in reading skills for students in middle- and high-school. This study will replicate their intervention using training workshops and virtual supports that will help ensure teachers can easily and reliably implement these methods into their classrooms. The U.S. Department of Education accepted our White Paper and we are interested in partnering with:

  • Organizations interested in partnering on workshops for teachers to help them better teach vocabulary and texts structure used in across ELA, Social Studies and Science.

Research will take 5 years to systematically replicate these methods and provide more evidence about this intervention. Interested? email us!

Short-term intervention on Mathematical Word Problems: Students can take pictures and explain their problem solving processes to get feedback (and become more aware) of their problem-solving efforts. This intervention takes 5 days and has 15 mathematical word problems. In addition to solving the problems, students answer questions about their thoughts before they solve the questions and what they can do when they see similar problems next time. This intervention is designed for classrooms and homeschoolers looking to get more practice with rich mathematical word problems.

This intervention is available, and we are looking for as many users as possible so that we can gather a wide range of experiences with this material. We are still looking for:

  • Schools, families, and students looking to participate in a study focused on mathematical word problems and educational technologies.

If you are interested, just email us!

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edMe Problem Solving

The edMe system was designed to explicitly handle long-term problem solving efforts, like STEM challenges, reading chapter books, and writing extended pieces. We know that these efforts are what students need to be successful in college and careers. We also know that too few states, districts, schools, and families have the supports they need to teach and document these efforts. In all of our outreach, we find that students more deeply engage in the content and develop a true love of learning when they are allowed to deeply explore this content.

In order to solve robust problems, students must have mastery of a variety of tools like reading fluently, broad vocabulary knowledge, math fact fluency, and scientific understandings. We also build students skills in these areas as necessary. But, these are not the end goals, they are steps toward strong, independent learning.

You can see a deeper explanation in some upcoming research, but we wanted to quickly highlight some educational models that are built into edMe Learning adventures.

The engineering process is iterative and cyclical. Challenges like these help students understand and explore force and motion concepts while developing group-work, creativity skills.
This reading support is from our supporting materials for readers of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix(TM). It shows that even powerful wizards sometimes have to adapt their plans given new information and new data.

This ongoing doctoral research allows students to take pictures and describe problem solving processes for mathematical word problems using whole numbers and the four operations. To date, findings highlight students’ need to have strong reading skills to be successful on the math questions.

These processes distill to a foundational cycle expressed by Dr. Barry Zimmerman. Students plan and draw on experiences beforehand, then they execute and use metacognitive skills while solving problems, and they reflect after solving the problems. Most importantly, these experience inform future problem-solving efforts.
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Fairfax is STEM: Binary Bracelets

“Fairfax is STEM” highlights all the STEM activities and experts in our community.

This video explains the fun we have at the Binary Bracelet station. If you are interested in a deeper dive, please also check out our page on Binary Code.

The page wasn’t easy to see, so we added it here. The key idea is that just two states (1s and 0s) are the basis for storing all information electronically.
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Thoughts from ASEE: Engineering Ambassadors

While presenting research at the American Society for Engineering Education (PPT here), I met some fascinating people engaging in some high-quality work. These “Thoughts from ASEE” posts highlight that work.

At Manhattan College, engineering or education undgrads can become Engineering Ambassadors. Sr. Mary Ann Jacobs and Dr. Zahra Shahbazi described how their undergrads support students in grades 6 through 12 explore engineering. They use engineering workshops and hands-on experiences so students were directly engaging in scaffolded problem-based activities. They found that 85% of students strongly agreed or agreed that the workshops helped them understand the work of engineers.

The Engineering Ambassador Network described this teaching as Right Messenger and Right Message, and we could not agree more. Students learn a lot from their peers and their near peers (students slightly older). Utilizing this fundamental connection to facilitate STEM growth seems like a win-win proposition.

They found that 78% of students felt they better understood how to “think like an engineer” after completing these activities. We saw similar gains with the FLEET engineering simulator (82% were more interested in pursuing a STEM career). Connecting students to engineering through hands-on challenges and near peer relationships is definitely a recipe for growing the STEM pipeline for years to come.

You can read their paper and see related work from their session at: https://www.asee.org/public/conferences/140/papers/25784/view