Our Philosophy of e-Learning

_In an information-driven society, educational content is increasingly delivered electronically.  The future of education will integrate the full interactive power of electronic media into the learning process itself.  Picture
  Reading our e-Book on a mobile device
We expect students and educators to access the entire curriculum on all the electronics devices in their lives:  on desktop computers, laptops, tablets, or mobile phones, enabling interactive access from home, school, and on-the-go.

Textbooks no longer need be limited to static content in a printed format.  A key technological innovation at Ergopedia is the development of our electronic book or e-Book with features that you intuitively expect from an electronic resource:  embedded multimedia animations and videos; simulations and interactives; additional content through expandable paragraphs; searchable content; and cross-indexing.  Our technology is designed to work out-of-the-box on all your devices.


HTML5 technology

_We have built our e-Book technology using HTML5, the new standard for programming for browsers on all computers, tablets, and other mobile devices.   Essential Physics is the first curriculum created from the ground up using our new technology.

Features of our e-Book technology:
  • Full-featured electronic book with links, searchable content, and cross-referencing.   The Essential Physics e-Book is not an ordinary PDF copy of a textbook that you read page-by-page in the traditional way.  Our e-Book has all the special features native to electronic resources—features that are notably impossible in a hardcopy textbook format.  Have you tried to find a word or phrase in a textbook, but struggled because the term wasn't listed in the index?  The e-Book lets you search the entire book for a word or phrase.  Have you found a reference to an equation appearing somewhere else in the book?  Click on the link in the e-Book and you go there immediately; click the browser's back button and you return to the previous page.  When preparing lesson plans, do you juggle back-and-forth between the different books–student textbook, laboratory investigations manual, and teacher's guide?  Clickable links in the e-Book directly connect you with the content from the entire curriculum. 

  • Animations illustrate key physical content.  A traditional textbook may try to convey a physical concept using static illustrations, but our e-Book makes those pictures come to life—delivering a conceptual understanding of the physical processes at work. 

    In the e-Book, you mouse-over a graphic that has a triangular symbol and it automatically starts to play. 

    Students can see the animated car in motion—speeding up, stopping for traffic lights, turning around, etc.—and simultaneously see how that motion translates into position-time, velocity-time, and acceleration-time graphs.
  • Relating velocity vs time to position vs time
    Mouse-over to start animation
  • Rich multimedia content is embedded directly into the e-Book.  Animations and videos are located in the correct context, exactly where and when they are needed.  No internet connection is needed, no software needs to be installed on your computer (not even a Flash® player!), and no waiting for videos to download.  Animations and videos are stored directly on your computer in the e-Book.

  • High-quality videos, created by content experts, make the science accessible and visually compelling.  All our videos are written, shot, edited, and produced in-house using our film and production experts and our own studio.  These videos alone make Ergopedia's e-Book content a unique resource.  No more suffering through videos with monotonic narration, clumsy camera work, or painfully boring presentations.  Our video productions are of the highest quality, pulling together all the features you expect:  content written and presented by our team of experts; close-ups of equipment and procedures; integrated graphics and animations to illustrate key concepts; and professional editing to make it all visually compelling.
  • Click to watch a video on how the opposing forces applied by the biceps and triceps muscles move the arm.
    (From expanding paragraph content in Chapter 9.)

  • Expanded paragraphs in the e-Book provide in-depth extensions for tailored content.  Expanded text, problems, animations, and videos can be found in the e-Book when a “more” button is visible.  The content expands in place, providing it in the correct context and at the right time.  Teachers can expand the content to tailor their course for students, state standards, or personal experience.  Interested or motivated students can access in-depth material.  Expanded paragraphs hide away when the “less” button is pressed. 

  • Page-to-page correspondence between the e-Book and the printed textbook.  When a teacher asks students to turn to page 273, all students see the same page and content—regardless of whether they are using the hardcopy textbook or the e-Book.

  • STEM content directly accessible through links.  Content in the e-Book is categorized, allowing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics content to be directly accessible through links.  You simply mouse-over the four STEM symbols at the top of the e-Book page and a list of the content appears—linking directly to the paragraphs containing the desired STEM content.

  • Mouse-over glossary words shows definition or description.  To see more about a glossary word in the e-Book text, you simply mouse-over the word and the definition or description immediately pops up next to the mouse.  No more thumbing through to the back pages of the textbook.

  • Picture
     
    e-Book technology built with the latest HTML5 to run on all computers, tablets, and mobile devices.
      When you “look under the hood” at the technology behind the Essential Physics e-Book, you find the cutting-edge HTML5 language—the new standard for all browsers, whether on your desktop computer, laptop, tablet, or mobile smartphone.  HTML5 was designed with full integration of multimedia content and mathematical symbols, making it a perfect fit for physical science electronic books. 

    By using HTML5, our e-Book needs no software downloads or installation on your computer (not even a Flash player!); you simply read the e-Book using a standard browser interface.  Apple's visionary former CEO Steve Jobs said in 2010 that "new open standards created in the mobile era, such as HTML5, will win" out over the Flash® player; even Adobe has since announced that they will no longer develop Flash® for mobile devices, but will instead focus on HTML5.


Interactive simulations with LabVIEW and canvas elements

Difficult physical concepts are simulated within the e-Book (and other electronic curricular resources) creating powerful interactive tools for education.  Students learn about vector addition by drawing vectors with their mouse.  They learn about sound, interference, and beats by generating sound waves of different frequencies, amplitudes, and phases.  Important historical experiments, such as the Millikan oil drop experiment—requiring expensive equipment beyond the grasp of most high schools—are simulated, allowing students to gain a conceptual understanding of the underlying physics.  Under the hood, we use cutting-edge yet flexible tools such as National Instruments' LabVIEW and the HTML5 canvas element to create the interactive simulations.

Learn more about the interactive simulations in LabVIEW and HTML5/canvas


Measurement and control

Measurement and control has emerged as an important, cross-disciplinary engineering field for STEM education.  Today's technology often uses instruments such as sensors to make measurements, and then uses the measurements to determine how to control a piece of equipment.

Our curricula enable students to learn some of the building blocks for complex systems engineering through measurement and control processes.  The ErgoBot is an example, where students can use it both to make measurements of motion (position, velocity, acceleration) and to control its motion via computer commands.  After students become familiar separately with each of these modes of operation, then they can combine the two to address higher-order engineering design problems.  Our curriculum provides students with the tools to make measurements as well as control devices—all within an integrated LabVIEW environment.

Picture
Investigations equipment for the Essential Physics curriculum can be used in engineering solutions to measurement and control design problems.
Imagine students learning about temperature and heat by measuring a cooling curve of water using a temperature probe connected through the ErgoDAQ to the netbook computer.  Next they add a heating element to the ErgoDAQ, begin to heat the water, and measure the heating curve.  Finally, the students use both the temperature probe and the heating element to hold the water at a fixed temperature—writing an algorithm that will turn the heating element on when the temperature is too low, and turn it off when the temperature is too high.  They have put it all together:  faced with the design problem (establishing a set point for the temperature of water), the students have developed a higher-order engineering solution.